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Survey Question

So, it looks like we might be getting to build some more duplexes in the near future and there are a couple of design issues that we've been debating back and forth for a while. They're not a major issue as far as the construction goes, but they are the two issues that most affect us as far as maintenance and upkeep. For the record, I am 100% genuinely interested in comments you might have about these two issues, but I will warn you, they're somewhat boring issues ;)

The questions/issues:
  1. Assuming that two decent sized duplexes (3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, about 1100 SF) were identical, which would be more appealing, one with nice ceramic tile installed throughout the space (all public spaces and bedrooms, bathrooms etc...) or one with nice ceramic tile installed in all the public spaces, bathrooms etc.. and carpet in the bedrooms? What about once the duplexes were 2, 3, 4, 5, ... , n years old? You see where I'm going with this right? Carpet does not wear as well as ceramic tile and we're leaning towards not installing any in the new properties since cleaning it when people move out is a royal pain in the ass (in fact I'm going to go buy a new steam cleaner to replace our last one which is mostly dead so we can clean the carpet in one unit later today). From our perspective the installation cost is about the same, but I'm curious if anyone has any pros and cons to tile vs carpet in bedrooms of a rental property (which will invariably get grungier than all but the nastiest owner occupied houses).

  2. There are three common types of closet doors available. double bi-fold (folds in half and swings open), double sliding (one slides in front of or behind another), and double regular (i.e. they open like a regular set of double) doors. Assuming you have a bedroom with a wide, non-walk-in closet, would you have a major preference to having either of those doors? Would the presence or abscence of a certain type of door be a make or break factor in your decision to rent a property? Until now, we've usually gone with bi-fold doors because they give maximum access to the closet while intruding the smallest distance into the room. Unfortunately they are also really hard to keep working properly and our tenants often break them in our rental properties. It's clearly a case of tenant neglect/abuse (since the doors in my parents house and the ones in the duplex I lived in were all bi-fold and we never had problems with them), but as we can't get rid of tenants we are looking at probably getting rid of those doors. We tried sliders in one set of duplexes that we built but they're still prone to breakage and they obstuct half of the closet when opened. The last major option would be to install a set of normal doors. They will give full access to the closet and they are the sturdiest type of door available. The only reason we didn't try these before is that my dad was opposed to them because they intrude into a room the most and that bugged him, he prefers bi-folds but my mom and I are over-ruling him on them because they break constantly and we're always having to deal with them. I think that looks bad for the property as a whole because it sucks when the closet door falls off even if it's your fault (or your kid's fault etc...) and I think we'd be better off with doors that you'd have to rip off the hinges in order to break.

So, do any of you guys have thoughts or opinions on either or both questions? We're actually very happy with the design of our duplexes (which my dad originally designed and I subsequently modified), and with the exception of those two issues, we have almost no maintenance issues with them. If the carpet situation was remedied we'd be able to turn around almost any property in 1-2 days even if we had to paint and if we solved the door situation we'd cut our maintenance calls by something like 75% (the other big ones are complaints about heating and cooling from people who want their house at 90*F in the winter and 50*F in the summer)


Ceramic tile and regular, normal closet doors if that is an option. If not, the folding ones. The sliding doors always seem to come off of their tracks years down the line, and I've never seen a sliding closet door that I thought was nice looking.
I tend to like the sliding doors for closets, but that might be partially nostalgia (that's what I had in my room as a kid) and partially the fact that I keep the closet door open most of the time, in which case either a regular door or a bi-folder extrudes into the room. If I was rich I'd get frosted glass sliding doors for a sufficiently wide closet, like some showers have - they seem less prone to breakage despite being about as frequently used, and definitely look nifty. Which isn't an option here, but I felt like saying it ;P.

As for tile vs. carpet, my main concern about tile would be being too damn cold in the winter. But I suspect that's not exactly a concern down in your neck of the woods ;P. One major issue would be expense of replacing tiles that got scuffed/scratched/gouged as vs. steam-cleaning a carpet. But as someone living in a place with all hardwood floors, we seem to do OK with the occational throw-rug (although my housemates went to the expense of getting carpeting for the living room, so the sofa wouldn't scuff the floor).
Thankfully, I need the distraction from doing nothing at work....

I'm voting for tile, especially since this is a rental. If it was my own home, I'd much rather have a nice hard wood floor. Carpet a) can't be changed to match the decor of the room b) collects NASTY stuff and c) doesn't wear well with spills and whatnot. Tile in NE would be retarded, since it is so cold here, but down in EP? You can always get nice non-skid throw rugs.

I'm going to have to agree with the room size question before I can rule on the closet door issue. I like the idea of the real doors, for the look and maintenance factors, but if the rooms are on the smallish side, you start to bump into the furnature trying to use the closet. Being someone in a tiny room, I can appreciate easy access to things.
1) Having been charged once to replace carpet in a place I moved out of I definitely prefer non-carpet. Wood is nicer than tile, though I'm sure more expensive.

2) Sliding doors definitely a favorite but not a make/break on whether I would rent. I prefer no intrusion into my space. Current place has a walk-in closet with a normal door and I have NEVER closed the door because there is stuff in the way of it.
1) tile. as everyone else has said, wood is nicer, but more expensive and easier to fuck up.

2) if you want to go with something sturdy, a normal door seems like the best bet, especially if the room is large enough to accomodate it easily. the bi-fold doors do take up much less space, but if they keep breaking then it's probably not worth it.

i have a sliding closet doors on my very-wide closet, and i often find it to be a pain in the ass since i can only get to half of my closet at once. (also, they're mirrored, and i'm not a fan of mirrors.) my room's so small that i don't think any other type would work well, though.
1. I prefer wood floors, but that's usually too expensive (and gets scratched if it's a rental home). I actually prefer carpet to tiles in the bedroom as it's warmer on the feet during winter, but that could just be an Aussie thing. But if it's a maintenance issue, then tiles should be the way to go.

2. Would prefer to use the double sliding doors. And no, it's not a break or make factor unless the bedroom is tiny.
grew up in miami with carpet bedrooms & bi-fold doors.

when connie & i flew the coop, my parents pulled out all the carpeting & replaced it with tiles. much better. cathy got paint all over the floor-- not a big deal. it came off. tiles aren't perfect-- we cracked quite a few as we grew up, but they're hard to really really crack so the floors were in pretty good shape anyway.

i vote tiles, too.

as for closets... the bifold doors are a pain in the butt, and we always broke them. if it were my house, i'd go with them, because ours were pretty and i don't break things as often now. if it's a rental... or if i ever have kids (bound to wreck havoc), i'd vote regular doors.

dave being dave

thick lime green shag and clear shower curtains on the closets..yeah

I assume the duplexes are about as big as yours was? I think tile works best just because of the cleanup. Replacing a common/neutral tile is far easier and quicker than bothering to steamclean.

As for the closet doors, considering the size of the rooms, the least intrusive would be best. While maybe not easiest when it comes to maintenanc, plain hollow core slabs are cheap and hardware isn't TOO much of a pain to deal with. If renters dont have to be bumping doors into furniture/stuff when opening the closet, they may be less likely to be damanged and I'm sure they'd appreciate the fact that they won't take up floor space.

Re: dave being dave

oh yeah and judging by what happened to the old Trowbridge one, imagine water cleanup w/ carpet...ick.
Definitely tile. Carpet is a filthy abomination.

Regarding the closet doors, you're really wondering if the type of closet door will affect the original decision to rent or not rent your apartment. I don't think most people would really think that one through thoroughly enough; the size of the closet is primary, and the behavior of the doors is not noticed, so long as they aren't visibly broken. I doubt they'll move out because they don't like the doors.

Thus, definitely go for the simplest maintenance option and install the normal doors.
hmmm you never know i guess, wierd things make people choose houses. but they're not actually buying it, so they'll probably be ok with saying "ah well, a stupid cupboard door is bearable in return for floors that don't contain bucketfuls of the previous tenant's breakfast".

so yeah, tiles and normal doors.
Oooh la la, 'double bi-fold' sounds so DIRTY. That's hot.