Laminate VS Carpet & Vinyl Floor coverings

Just got a rental unit back that has been through 2 tenants and a total time frame of just under 2 years total. The unit has all 3 of the most popular floor coverings installed and thus were subject to pretty much the same abuse… Kitchen area is Laminate, living room area is vinyl sticky tiles installed with extra spray adhesive, hall way and bedrooms are carpet. I didn’t plan this layout but in hind sight I can’t think of a better test for flooring durability!

The results:

Carpet: pretty much shot, deep stains that will not clean given the best carpet cleaner in the world, will likely get by one more tenant due solely to allowing pets but really needs replaced!

Tiles: Held up reasonably well, several holes in a few tiles and a couple have been pulled up, my box of replacement tiles has been used for another purpose (unknown to me) and I’ve got to try to match the tiles or hopefully have a few in storage otherwise I’m going to have to replace the flooring within a year and can’t pass section 8 rental inspections as of now.

Laminate: no visible damage what so ever. sweep, mop, rent…

There is one small hole in a wall and the Mini blinds along with some of the molding are shot but for about $50-75 I can replace these items if needed in order to rent the unit. Carpet cleaning will run $60+ and the results will be WAY less than satisfactory… I could go into more detail but I’m going to try to let pictures tell the rest of the story, tear it apart, ask questions, lets have some fun with this one. =)

Best wishes,

Ryan Needler

PS: also added a picture of a sink & countertop that was redone with the stoneflec spray paint, it looks extremely sharp! Cell phone picture doesn’t do it justice but I think I may have stumbled on an answer to the nasty trashed sink sets for less than $10.

We’ve used a commercial carpet that looks OK in rental units and when remodeling/reselling homes - we use a darker brown to hide most of the dirt and stains. Holds up OK but I am sure not as well as the laminate. How much do you typically spend on per sq/ft for the laminate?

Also - how does your stoneflec spray paint hold up? I’ve thought about using it for bath and kitchen counters but was afraid that it wouldn’t last more than a few months of abuse from renters.

I still use the commercial carpet when I’m running short on rehab funds, I prefer the foam backed type and try to limit it to bedrooms and use it heavily in my LD’s. It holds up ok, that’s the most I’ll say… For rentals Laminate is WELL worth the money!

We spend around $1.25 per sq ft installed ($11.25 yard) for laminate, including all base molding ect. As for the stoneflec, I have no idea how it will hold up, I took an option back on a unit that was over priced for outright buy but should be an easy turn which the owner had redone the sink with it… IT LOOKED FREAKING AMAZING! I’d probably primer the sink with a good plastic primer to get the best durability but I don’t see it showing dirt real bad or what not, main problem will be paint chips that I can foresee.

Best Wishes,

Ryan Needler

Ryan -

I’m doing ‘better-than-average-quality’ Lonnie Deals, and would like your (and everyone’s) opinion on the prices I’m paying for flooring (and overall for the home). I think I’m getting screwed, but please let me know what your experience has been. My typical deal is a 1999 Fleetwood 16x80 that I’ll buy for $8,000, put $7,200 into fixing up, and pay $3,600 to move/skirt/utilities. $19,000 is usually my total cost, tops. I’ll then sell this home for $29,900 on 10 year terms, 12%+ interest ($550 total monthly payment inclusive of lot rent) = 35% IRR.

Here are my actual flooring costs to completely re-do my most recent 16x80 home:

  • Alloc Laminate Flooring 326.74 s.f. x $1.95 = $637.14

  • Alloc Dual Reducers 4 x $15.40 = $61.60

  • Alloc Monotrack 4 x 8.99 = $35.96

  • Rapid Roll Underlay 3 x $35 = $105

  • Base Board (pine, 2 1/4") 120 l.f. x .54 = $64.80

  • Pad (3/8", 6#) 61.33 s.y. x $1.69 = $103.65

  • Labor for Laminate Flooring 326.74 s.f. x $2 = $653.48

  • Labor for Base Board 120 l.f. x $1.25 = $150

  • Labor for Reducers 44 l.f. x $1 = $44

  • Vinyl 44.33 s.y. x $9 = $398.97

  • Carpet/Vinyl Transition 12 l.f. x $1 = $12

  • Labor for Vinyl 44.33 s.y. x $8.99 = $398.53

  • Labor to remove old Vinyl 44.33 s.y. x $4.50 = $199.49

  • Labor to remove/reinstall 2 toilets 2 x $75 = $150

  • Vinyl Delivery Fee 1 x $15 = $15

  • Labor to move in/out appliances 4 x $15 = $60

  • Labor to install carpet 61.33 s.y. x $4.50 = $275.99

  • Carpet 61.33 s.y. x $6.97 = $427.47

  • Replace rotted sub-floor in bath w. plywood = $85

  • 1 Gal. Clorox bleach to kill black mold = $3

  • Labor to scrub moldy floor = $15

= $4,015.18 Total

I then spent about $3,200 to paint this house inside, replace some doors, windows, knobs, minor plumbing/shower repairs, other make-ready and get a maid.

So how do I cut costs? In defense of my flooring guy, he does excellent-quality work quickly with good quality materials and supplies everything - vinyl, carpet and laminate, labor, etc. But I’d like to pay less to completely re-floor a 16x80. Also, please note I’ve been putting laminate in the living room and hallway and vinyl in the kitchen. Should I do the opposite like you did?

Many thanks for all your constructive help,


If your floor guy is providing you with everything, then he’s tacking a hidden fee onto the price, as well as his pick-up fee and installation fee. I’d let him know that you have a second repair guy and that you’re going to ask him to submit his BEST price for the next job and see what happens. And make sure you do have a second repair guy, get his bid too.

If you’re spending that much money, you should be asking for a discount on materials and labor. This guy sees you as a cash cow.

BTW, you should not include the lot rent income on your IRR for this house. It’s a profit point, for sure, but your return on the money spend to fix up the house and the money you get for selling the house is something different. Your rate of return for the funds to get this house up is much lower. Again, I’m not saying this is bad, because as park owner your first priority should be to fill up the park, but don’t kid yourself about the return.


Jefferson since I am in your area I thought I would chime in. But… first off I have a question for you… Do homes like the example you use really need to have a complete redo on flooring? I know that I at times have overfixed a home and usually regret doing it in the long run. Since you list mold and rotted subfloor in your items I am betting that some of the flooring had to be replaced… but the whole house? Just make sure that you are not doing these replacements and they are not adding to the home enough to make up for there cost. It looks like to me that your overall greatest appeal is the $550 a month total price. My market is not that much different than yours and I am getting almost that much for overall payments (my lonnie payments plus parks lot rent) on homes that are much older, smaller, and I have a much lower basis in. I understand you are looking at this from the park owners perspective but you might test out doing less to the next home and see what happens.

As far as your list I haven’t done a laminate floor (yet) so I will leave that one for someone else. Carpet and vinyl though seem to be marked up quite a bit by your guy. I usually get a decent new carpet for about half of what you are paying and vinyl I usually get for even less than half of what you are paying. Now I do search for deals but those prices seem too high. On the labor fees I cannot really compare as I pay by the hour and not by the square foot since I use my regular handyman. But for a comparison it looks like you paid nearly $2000 for the labor on the items listed, for me that equates to about two weeks of labor. Is that in line with the time your guy spent? The price for the transitions and toilet seem pretty good though.

I would however suggest another route if you are doing a bunch of homes like this, that could save some money. Since you own the park I would suggest finding someplace to use as storage (ie an empty home, large shed, or even a little space in that warehouse and business in front of the park if they will let you) and buying a lot of flooring materials in bulk. If you do this it would probably be best to go with a big box store like Home Depot as you could get a large quantity of material at a good price and probably get free delivery. Pick one or two types of each item and then just keep reusing them over and over. This will allow the materials to go farther (scraps from one home might fit another smaller job in next home) as well as allow you to control this expense. Then just hire the installer to install your materials. This same theory could also hold true for the paint and other things like skirting.

Now if this doesn’t seem feasible for these large quantities then I would suggest making a trip to the local Habit for Humanity store as you could get smaller amounts of materials at really great prices. I think the closest one to you is in OKC just east of the capitol, but the prices would make up for the travel.


It looks to me like you’re paying retail for all your materials and labor. That may or may not be bad, depending on certain variables and opportunity costs.

My theory on contractors is that they all possess 3 qualities in inverse proportions:

  1. Good

  2. Fast

  3. Cheap

Pick two. You can have good, fast and expensive; cheap, fast and poor quality; good, cheap and slow; etc. Pick two, but you’re not likely to find all three qualities in one contractor. Your guys sounds good, fast & expensive.

I would also recommend looking into setting up some wholesale accounts with materials vendors. Usually it doesn’t take any more than filling out a credit app. Sometimes you might have to buy in bulk to get the best prices, but often you don’t.

I recently set up an account with a plumbing wholesale company and save, at a minimum, 1/3 off what I was paying for PEX & fittings at Home Depot. Any time I buy laminate from Home Depot I buy their “end of the season” color and negotiate a whole sale price for buying all of it that they have (usually 1 1/2 to 2 pallets). This saves me money and keeps them from ending up with 5 cases at the end that they have to mark way down b/c its’ not enough to do a full room.

Never be afraid to negotiate. That’s the best part of the whole business!!

All the Best,



You mentioned in your original post that you do “better-than-average-quality” lonnie deals. Why? Not that that there’s anything wrong w/ your plan, but I’m curious why not do cheaper deals that don’t require as much capital?

Hi Jefferson,

I have a similar question as Michael.

You are investing $7,200 in rehab to make a total profit of $10,900. Is there a market in your area/park to sell these same homes with minimal to no improvements?

Since able to sell the homes at $29,900, what if you also offered to discount the sales price by $5-6k (for example) to sell ‘as is’ and have the buyer make their own improvements. This allows them to choose their own carpet and color and takes away some of your headache.

Also, if people are willing to pay $29,900 for a 1999 home, what are buyers willing to pay if it were a new 2007 Fleetwood? I know that Fleetwood has a good program for park owners to buy these homes at more wholesale price. I think the prices for a 16x80 3/2 are somewhere between 23-26K.

I know OKC is a hot market right now and am also interested to see how buyer behavior is.