This is an important question for all landlords. Carpet can be ruined after one tenant, even after only a few months. Laminate flooring is generally more durable, but more expensive. Laminate flooring can also be ruined by water.
I have been using laminate flooring on all my floors except the bedrooms. The flooring I use is a lifetime warranty, with an attached foam pad, available at Sam’s club. It costs about $1.50 per square foot and there are about 500 square feet in a unit that get covered with the flooring. The total cost of materials is ~$825 for the flooring for my apartments. I put it in the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. It stands up to a lot of abuse, but not standing water.
Good tenants do not have standing water, and they understand how to use a damp mop, not a wet mop.
Installation costs vary, but you can find laminate installers from .75 to $1.99 per square foot. For my apartments, it takes about two days to install it, or 16 man hours. If I am super efficient, and do not take too many breaks, I can do it in under 12 hours. I do it myself if I have time. It’s really easy. Paying someone it generally costs at least $700 or so. After several renters, the laminate is still in good shape. More renters like laminate, than carpet. They like the ease of cleanup.
I have purchased carpet from many different suppliers. I have found Home Depot, with a $37 install, to be the cheapest. I make sure the carpet is removed, and the room ready to go. The carpet butts directly up against the laminate, so no metal strips or transitions are needed.
A typical install, for a 10-year warranty carpet, is ~$750. That is three bedrooms. If you are comparing prices, make sure you compare against another 10 year warranty carpet. My units generally have ~53 yards of carpet in all three bedrooms. There is very little waste and no seams.
Do you prefer carpet or laminate? Are you a landlord or tenant, or homeowner?