Why Berber Is the Best Carpet for Your Rental Property
The flooring in a rental property takes a lot of extra punishment, especially in high-traffic areas. You want your unit to be attractive to new tenants, but you can’t control how it’s treated by whoever’s living there. Tenants often don’t take care of the carpet as well as they would if they owned the place, and you certainly can’t control how often they vacuum.
One way to help extend the longevity of the carpets in your rental unit — and save some money in the meantime — is to offer your tenants free steam cleaning service. If tenants stay in your building for years at a time, you don’t want the carpet to go several years with cleaning. Offering to take a steam cleaner to their carpets once a year will save you money on replacement in the long run.
But your main priority should be picking the best carpet in the first place. With so many options, what should you be looking for?
Durability is the number one feature you should be looking for in a rental carpet, but it’s not the only feature. After all, if all you cared about was durability, you’d buy that thin, hard commercial carpet that lines the floors of department stores and office buildings. It lasts for a long time but it’s not very comfortable. No one wants to lay down on commercial carpet.
Instead, you’ll want some form of closed-loop carpet. Closed-loop carpet is more dense than cut-pile carpet, making it more resistant to wear, furniture marks, and staining. The best version of closed-loop carpet is Berber carpet, which we’ll explain in a little more detail below.
You’ll also want to consider your tenant profile before you choose a carpet. If your building allows dogs or is likely to play host to small children, it’ll likely see more traffic and wear and tear than if your only tenants are adults.
What’s Berber Carpet?
Berber carpet is a closed-loop construction of carpet. Unlike other closed-loop styles where the loops are arranged in orderly rows, Berber’s loops are overlapped and crossed with loops of different thicknesses and densities, giving it a dense, distinctive texture with lots of variety.
While the carpet is named after the unique rug-weaving styles of the Berber tribe of North Africa, most Berber carpet is now made on machine looms, meaning it can be made out of almost any material for very low prices. In fact, Berber is some of the least expensive carpet you can get for your rental property, starting as low as $1.88 per square foot!
When it comes to carpet durability, there are a few things you should be on the lookout for. The first is fiber material. Berber carpet can be made from almost any fiber, from wool to various synthetic fibers, but the top of the line is nylon.
Nylon fibers are durable, resistant to spills and stains, and can even be coated with stain resistant coatings right out of the factory. Ask about a Berber style made from Sorona Smartstrand for the ultimate all-around durable carpet style.
Density is another consideration. The denser the carpet, the closer together the loops will be, which makes them more durable and less susceptible to liquid stains and moisture. The loops in Berber carpet are packed closely together, making it a perfect choice. The dense fibers are inhospitable to dust mites and allergens, so your property will stay cleaner for longer.
Stain Resistance Treatments
While the shape and construction of Berber carpets helps it resist stains by itself, it’s also a good idea to look into a carpet style with a built-in stain treatment. In a pinch, you can have your existing carpets treated for stain resistance by spraying them with Scotch-Gard or having them treated professionally, but these so-called “topical” treatments will wear off relatively quickly.
The best option for stain resistance is a treatment that’s put on at the factory. These treatments are inundated into each individual fiber before they’re woven into the carpet, so they can’t wear off at all — they’ll last as long as the carpet itself. More stain resistance means you won’t need to expose your rental units to the harsh chemicals in industrial cleaning products nearly as often.
You can get Berber carpet in any color you want, but we generally recommend a neutral color like gray, beige, tan, or something similar. If you want a little more variety, you can get a carpet with flecks in it, but keep in mind that your tenants will be changing fairly frequently, so you’ll want a color that doesn’t clash with their decor.
If you do decide to go with a bolder color, ask about a “solution dye” rather than a “topical dye.” A solution dye is applied during the manufacturing of the fibers and runs all the way through the carpet, whereas a topical dye is applied after the fact and more easily wears off under heavy foot traffic.
Carpet for the Long Term
Property management is a balancing act — you want your investment property to be attractive enough to bring in tenants, but you can’t spend too much or you won’t see any return on your money. That’s why we recommend Berber carpet. It’s durable, stain resistant, and attractive enough for any rental property, at prices that won’t break your budget. If you pick the right carpet and take care of it properly, it should last you for years to come.