What would be the most economical flooring to put in a LR and Kitchen of a rental? Any pictures?
Done a bunch of them. Figgure this; they don't OWN the house and tend to act that way. Tile anything you can....makes it MUCH easier to clean when they move out!
Kathi, it depends on what you mean by "economical". There are floor coverings which last a very long time (like stone, tile, terrazzo, concrete) but which are expensive to install, so it's not cheap to do the first time but you should never have to do it again. Then there's carpet and vinyl flooring, two of the least expensive materials to install but some of the easiest to abuse/damage, so you may end up replacing it more often if you have abusive tenants.
For something in the middle when your assessment of your tenant is that they're not going to abuse it, you could consider
- vinyl composite tile (VCT); this is the mottled-looking stuff that comes in 9" or 12" squares. Very tough, not terribly attractive but not ugly either (most colors will sort of fade into the woodwork);
- commercial carpet tiles (modular carpet). Some of these can be taken off the floor and rinsed with a garden hose, if need be. Thousands of colors/styles, and if you're not doing the entire house in it, you can look at remnant lots which save even more. An easy DIY project. It's the carpet you see in shopping malls and airports.
- big-box cheapo laminate -- the $1/sq ft kind. Also a DIY project; not as easy as carpet because it requires power tools, but the cheap stuff will take a surprising pounding before it has to be replaced. If you go this route, make sure the laminate is OK for a wet installation like a kitchen.
Make sure you save some of the material for patching/replacement.