Expect life of Vinyl FLoor

tomdxFebruary 27, 2011

Can some one tell me how long a well taken care of vinyl floor can be expected to last?...

I have a townhouse that was built in 1988 and I recently rented it out in 2010... the floor was in good to very good condition. The tenant damaged the floor, and now I have to determine how to charge them. I'm thinking a vinyl floor could last 40 to 50 years, if not indefinetly... so I'm thinking of charging them 50% of the cost of the new floor.

Does that seem reasonable?



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I do not. 1st off, I would have to know exactly what was the vinyl floor. If that info was not available to me. 10 years would be the life expectancy. Vinyl that is 13 years old...and stating that it is only halfway gone really is unreasonable. That's my opinion. I do a lot of insurance work and sell a lot of vinyl. I also own a motel and we have recently replaced two vinyl jobs after just 3 weeks and 6 weeks respectively. Renting is a tough business like everything else. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 7:53PM
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I agree; flooring begins to degrade from the day it's put into service. And, serviceability of most vinyl flooring rarely exceeds 20 years, although I have witnessed it lasting longer, but only in limited use situations.

And, as the previous poster indicated, there is no determining what kind of vinyl flooring it is that was damaged.

If that floor was installed in 1988, then it has been in service 23 years already...a long time for most vinyl flooring in an average household.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:15PM
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as a landlord you have to base wear and tear on the IRS depreciation schedule. That would normally be 7-10 yrs. I have units with 20 yr old cpt but if I charged a tenant 50% any judge would laugh me out of court. Suggest you check the laws in your state or go to m


    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:01PM
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If I go by the IRS schedule, doesn't the life of the floor start when the townhouse was converted from personal to rental property... which means I've only taken 2 years of the 7 to 10 depreciation?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 10:39PM
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The vinyl floor is 23 years old...it could even contain asbetos....I would give you maybe 10% if I was a judge, but do what you want.The life of the floor is what a reasonable individual would expect. 23 years old...you got your money out of it 5 fold....Vinyl floors arent supposed to last 23 years or vinyl manufacturers would be out of business. That Linoleum is so brittle its pathetic....Linoleum from 25 years ago is completely different from today's vinyl.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 1:18AM
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It's not Linoleum... it vinyl... do you know the difference? Vinyl isn't suppose to last? Then why do I see floors with 15, 20 and 25 year warranties? And it's not brittle, I pulled a section of the floor up and it's quite malleable.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 5:48AM
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Consult with your accountant; obviously value-loss is your primary concern here.

As for your warranty question? They are restricted documents that contain very specific lists of what is covered under the warranty and under what conditions a manufacturing defect might be considered legitimate. In the opinion of many flooring retailers, including myself, they are mostly marketing devices and provide very limited 'protection' for the consumer.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 2:01PM
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warranties deal with 'walking thru to the backing' on vinyl on walking thru the finish on wood. Flooring is more often damaged by rips tears, gouges, abuse, improper cleaning, chair legs, etc etc. That has nothing to do with its life expectancy.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 5:01PM
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Nope..vinyl isnt supposed to last 20 years...unless it in a room that doesn't get walked on. Yes I know the difference and I also know that I have never seen a warranty claim approved after 5 years of age at the most. So as far as 20 year warranty...keep on believin...because there is no such thing as a 20 year warranty. Maybe your vinyl was special back then ( the disco era mid 80's)and had that indefinite warranty you mentioned. In that case you'd be entitled to 90% LOL...Good luck

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:14PM
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Linoleum and vinyl are easily confused, sometimes thought to be the same thing and sometimes the words are used interchangeably. However, they are quite different; there are differences in cost, care, maintenance and durability. One is more environmentally friendly, while the other is non-biodegradable, adding to our waste problems. Consideration should be given to these differences before choosing the one that best suits your needs.

History of Linoleum

  1. The word "linoleum" means linseed oil, one of its main ingredients. The word comes from the Latin "linum," for flax, and "oleum," meaning oil. Frederik Walton is credited with the invention of linoleum and in 1864 began manufacturing it in England at the Linoleum Manufacturing Company. Within a few years, Walton started exporting this product to the United States. In 1874, the American production of linoleum began at a factory on Staten Island.
    History of Vinyl
  2. Vinyl was first introduced at the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition held in Chicago. Vinyl was not readily available during World War II, and the production and marketing of it was put on hold until the late 1940s, after World War II. In the next few decades, it quickly became a popular choice for flooring and became a major competitor in the market.
    Durability and Cost
  3. With proper care, linoleum will last 30 to 40 years, where vinyl will last only 15 years. Linoleum tends to have a higher price tag because of its natural materials and its life expectancy. Vinyl is a synthetic product made of petroleum-based materials. Its longevity relies on regular attention. Linoleum handles large amounts of traffic better than vinyl.
  4. Manufacturers recommend regular waxing or polishing of linoleum to protect its surface. Once the vinyl's sealant wears down, it requires resealing. Water can be an issue if it seeps through the seams of linoleum, but with vinyl, a synthetic material, this is of little concern. Linoleum is susceptible to turning yellow if not exposed to light and hidden under furniture; however, color does restore with more exposure to light.
  5. Linoleum has non-allergenic properties; it repels dirt and dust, making it a good choice for flooring in hospitals, health care facilities and in homes with allergy sufferers. Linoleum is considered a green floor because it is made with natural and recyclable materials; it does not emit volatile gasses and toxic chemicals. Vinyl, made of synthetic materials, can emit harmful gasses and chemicals. The color and design go all the way through linoleum, and with vinyl, they are stamped or printed on the surface. Linoleum flooring does not scratch as easily, and if it does get scratched, the pattern will not come off, as it goes all the way through
    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Floortech - You did a fantastic job of explaining this.

I never knew the difference - thought they were the same thing. I am looking at flooring for a laundry room, thus the interest.

So explain this - for example, when I am looking at what I thought was linoleum at Lowes or Home Depot, manufacturers such as Armstrong or Congoleum, this is probably vinyl instead of linoleum????

Just curious - How do I know what I am looking at??


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:08AM
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I also think it depends on the vinyl floor. Quality of vinyl varies a lot. I've had three vinyl floors in my kitchen. The first two were not good and got many nicks and tears. I had Amitco vinyl put in March of 2002 and it still looks great with not a single nick or tear.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 5:27PM
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They are pretty much all vinyl today...Armstrong might still have one...but I think that's gone too...

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 8:28PM
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Armstrong no longer makes genuine linoleum, although they market the DLW linoleum product. Armstrong sold its ovens decades ago.

Forbo makes linoleum under the Marmoleum brand name.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 9:52PM
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Glennsfc..you are correct..I forgot about that and we don't carry that. They pitched us hard about a year ago, but there just is not much call for Forbo in our area at all. In 16 years, no one has ever asked for it so we passed on the manufacturer and I am extremely dumb to them. Great post Glenn.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 11:10PM
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Marketed myself years ago as an expert linoleum and 'green' materials dealer/installer for the residential sector. Got some work from it...although there could have been much more had I desired more work.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:03AM
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"The tenant damaged the floor, and now I have to determine how to charge them. I'm thinking a vinyl floor could last 40 to 50 years, if not indefinetly... so I'm thinking of charging them 50% of the cost of the new floor. "

I am thinking if the tenant has any sense he/she will easily be able to stop you from changing a thing for 12 year old vinyl.

You sound like you are new to income property. I have been a landlord for almost 30 years. firstly your vinyl needs to be depricated ona schedule, it almost certainly has zero value.

Secondly the amount and mechanism of damage matter.

Also do you require renters insurance on your lease? is that section initialed on the lease least you have with the renter?

What is the damage amount? Only repair or partial replacement would likely be the judgment if you could prove negligence and if you got lucky. What was the scenario that caused the damage -- and can you prove it?

Most jurisdictions do not allow landlords to simply deduct for what are normal wear and tear. Damage to Vinyl flooring is in fact usually normal wear and tear. It is not a robust building material and not valuable (certainly the age vinyl you have isn't). Be careful you sound like you are about to cost yourself some more problems than replacing that old vinyl yourself.

"If I go by the IRS schedule, doesn't the life of the floor start when the townhouse was converted from personal to rental property... which means I've only taken 2 years of the 7 to 10 depreciation?"
Absolutely Not. The basis starts with the age of the.
EG if you spent $1000 to install it 13 years ago and started renting it last year your basis is close to zero, and you could not have been depreciating it. If you bought a refrigerator for $500 in 1990, and converted to rental in 2010 you CANNOT start depreciating that refrigerator at $500 in 2010!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:32PM
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Great post...I just hope I never have one of my kids rent from the original poster. Many of our legal system's problems are because of ridiculous mentalities. Hopefully this thread is now history.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 10:00PM
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Great post? I don't think so... Here's a news flash... I went to court and was awarded 1/2 the cost of the floor because it was in excellent condition and it was intentionally damaged. So... tell your kids that they just can't rent someone's place and trash it without being responsible. Just because something is old doesn't mean it has no use or value. By your reasoning I could have a fully depreciated house, rent it out to some one and they could destroy it and I'd be left holding the bag... that's insane.

Now this thread is history.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 3:01AM
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And you simply got lucky.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 7:04AM
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Her is a newsflash, those of us who are landlords (I am one on several properties for over 30 years) know you did not go to court and win 1/2 the cost of the floor with the fact s you presented here. Moreover you have a attitude of a n00b landlord who is in for a LOT MORE nasty and much more expensive problems than this.

you also seem unaware that the probative burden for EVERY aspect of your claim is on you and not the tenet./ It is you who must provide admissible photographs immediately preceding occupancy or provide a signed "landlord-tenent checklist where the tenant attested to the good conduction of the floors; it is you that must prove certified installation of the floor, it is you who must provide the receipt for the flooring cost, and it is you who must prove the basis/life ratio, which WILL be the commercial warranty (not the residential warranty) of the floor.

Prove all those things and you have prayer of getting 20% back assuming 15 year commercial warranty on that 12 year old vinyl floor.

You seem totally confused on landlord/tenet rights and more worrisome ignorant of the actual solutions: documentation and insurance. Insurance will save you form pro rata situations and court on damages and will settle out probative issues. You are much more likely to get a full REPLACEMENT costs (vs 20% pro rata) on negligent damages by filing a claim on your tenants renters insurance, or filing on your insurance and having your insurance company subrogate to the renters policy.

The rule of thumb, and the legal presumption is that all damage is the landlords responsibility unless proven otherwise. You are also responsible for all recode keeping.

Count yourself lucky you only lost the cost of a vinyl floor. You had minor damage which if your read the comments here would have taught you how to protect yourself agianst much worse and costlier.

You have so many incorrect statements, don't understand cost basis, don't understand residential warranties don't apply to rental property, etc. I am very worried you will see more damage problems in future and have not bothered to do the basic due diligence and research any landlord needs to do.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:07AM
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I love wasting time with doe doe birds who know nothing and think they know everything. it is impossible that he was awarded half unless he only told us a part of the story or the district magistrate is his brother. Now if they trashed it halfway intentionally,maybe you can convince a magistrate to give you a mercy lien of 50% because they saw the defendant as an idiot. It was not based on the vinyl having half of the original value because it did not and does not have hardly any value after 22 years. Think back 22 years ago and how long ago that was and someone has been walking on the floor for that length of time in a rental unit and its still should contain half of the value? A joke i say ...A joke. reagan was president.. bush (the 1st one got elected) movies were Big
Crocodile Dundee II
Die Hard

Average Price for new car $10,400.00
1 gallon of gas 91 cents
Movie Ticket $3.50
US Postage Stamp 24 cents
Dozen Eggs 65 cents

Quite a while ago...but that Linoleum only lost half of its value and is probably loaded with asbestos! What a joke! This is the end of the thread now that I know his brother is the magistrate. Good posts everyone!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 9:57PM
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Tenants! Watch out for this guy!...you might find yourself and this guy before a judge someday! I bet Judge Judy would have made the correct ruling in this case.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:55PM
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I would ask the tenants for the labor cost to remove the old existing vinyl.

Not for the new vinyl or the cost of floor prep or install labor.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:04PM
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hey you know what?... I got compensated... something that wouldn't have happened if I took the worthless advice of some of you clowns on here... not all... most do try to be helpful (and are).. others like Floortech seem as big a butt hole as they probably were in high school... which he seems to have never left (probably never graduated).

Oh and Glennsfc... you sound real grown-up also...

Floorguy... with the cost of the flooring itself being such a small portion of the total cost (replacement floor was about as inexpensive as I could reasonably find), the portion they paid (a little less than 50%) was probably not much more then the total install cost (excluding any materials)... considering they damaged the floor INTENTIONALLY, I think the outcome was fair.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 1:10AM
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Tomdx, there is no reason to insult the posters who were just trying to help you.

The key thing that you didn't state before is that the floor was intentionally damaged. It wasn't just normal nicks or tears. That probably made the difference.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 3:12PM
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I'd have to see the actual court documents to believe that anyone won anything over this. (Gotta link to the public records?Hmmmmm, no, right?) And then I'd definitely believe that the judge was the brother in law! It's like going to court because the tenants left a mildewed shower curtain that they cut with a razor. It wouldn't even matter if it were intentional destruction. It had no monetary value. That's the cost of doing business. Buy a new one and move on.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:57AM
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happyladi... my apologies. However, I found the comments of Floortech and Glennsfc to be quite insulting and condescending... but you're right, that's no excuse. And the damage was far more then nicks and tears... The floor easily had another 5 years of use (minimum), but the damage that was done made the unit un-rentable until replaced.

live_wire_oak... when a property is converted from private to rental use, no matter how old the property is, depreciation starts on rent day 1 for the next 27.5 years. The cost of the floor is in the base depreciation amount, and since no depreciation had been taken, I disagree with you that the floor had no value.

Your example is not at all correct. A better, but extreme example would be if you had a townhouse that you lived in and bought a new refrigerator... but you never used it or even plugged it in. Seven years down the road you turn it into a rental property and within the first year your tenants ripe the door off. You're telling me that the refrigerator has no value?... to you that is the cost of doing business, and you'd just eat the $800?... If so, my hat is off to you.

As for the court documents, if I don't show you I'm lying and if I do show you the 'fix' is in... either way you don't think I deserve a cent in reimbursement... so what's the point. Bottom line is I'm satisfied with the outcome.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 3:25PM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you're doing your taxes based on that incorrect assumption, then you are sure to be up from an audit from the IRS. Ignorance is no defense there. Couple that with your nasty entitled attitude and you are likely to get you the full penalty. You'd better engage a competent CPA.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 7:24PM
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"when a property is converted from private to rental use, no matter how old the property is, depreciation starts on rent day 1 for the next 27.5 years. "

100% FALSE, and this is how we know you did not go to court, and got nothing.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 6:38AM
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IRS Publication 551...

Several years ago you paid $160,000 to have your home built on a lot that cost $25,000. You paid $20,000 for permanent improvements to the house and claimed a $2,000 casualty loss deduction for damage to the house before changing the property to rental use last year. Because land is not depreciable, you include only the cost of the house when figuring the basis for depreciation.

Your adjusted basis in the house when you changed its use was $178,000 ($160,000 + $20,000 â $2,000). On the same date, your property had an FMV of $180,000, of which $15,000 was for the land and $165,000 was for the house. The basis for figuring depreciation on the house is its FMV on the date of change ($165,000) because it is less than your adjusted basis ($178,000).

Also per IRS publications...

Under GDS, property that is not qualified Indian reservation property is depreciated over one of the following recovery periods.
Property Class Recovery Period
3-year property 3 years 1
5-year property 5 years
7-year property 7 years
10-year property 10 years
15-year property 15 years 2
20-year property 20 years
25-year property 25 years 3
Residential rental property 27.5 years

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 2:36PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yup, audit time. Do you even employ a CPA? You seriously have no idea of what you're talking about and are really reaching to come up with tangential information to support your incorrect assumption.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 4:44PM
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Really???... So the IRS publications are wrong? And not only can't I collect for damages, but now I can't depreciate my property. I have news for you... not only does the IRS allow me to depreciate, they REQUIRE I depreciate. If you don't depreciate your properly, you MAY be forced to recapture the depreciation in the future if you sell... whether you originally took depreciation or not. I suggest you do some research (like reading IRS publications) before you tell people they have no idea what they are talking about.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 5:55PM
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Interesting thread.

before I started using proprty management services for all our properties, I tried to recoup losses from damaged finishes and usually judges tend to rule on the side of the renter if there is any unanswerable questions or a lack of paperwork for the purchase of those items.

Flooring, especially vinyl or carpet that is 23 years old, in a rental property has seen its full life and you will not get reimbursed. Thats part of the cost of doing business. A vinyl floor that old will become brittle, scratch very easy, tend to want to curl, lift seams and edges, and will even gouge, rip, and tear easier.

Of course you can always keep their security deposit as compensation but be prepared to defend yourself in court, and lose usually. There has also been cases where rental property owner violated law is keeping security deposits for replacements of interior finishes that were very old, but its rare. Usually its a civil matter, but more and more renter protection legislation is being penned-in all the time, so check with you local municipality and state - best to consult an attorney too.

On a final note, you must assume that everyone is going to beat up your properties and abuse them. Thats why I recommend no one use anything better than spec house low end flooring that you know will need to be replaced every 2-5 years. Then HOPE it last longer. Flooring, painting, caulking, hvac cleaning and filtration, chimney sweeping, and many other items should be placed in your maintenance schedule and future cost projections for all rental properties. That way you are never suprised, and if replacement time comes around and its in good shape, then you SAVED money. These items and others should be checked at your scheduled yearly property inspections.

If you arent preparing for the future and inspecting your properties, you should let someone else handle your properties for you.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 8:32AM
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