Home improvement projects are on the rise across the US, with homeowners spending more than $10,300 on average on projects in 2021. If you’re thinking of renovating your home, one project that has a big impact is replacing your flooring. But, with so many different flooring options available, it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs.
You’re in the right place for guidance. In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the differences between carpet vs laminate flooring, so you can feel confident about making the right choice for your home.
Material Construction: Carpet
First things first, it’s important to understand how each material is made. Let’s start by taking a look at carpet flooring. Generally speaking, there are three types of carpet options:
- Loop pile
- Cut pile
- Cut-and-loop pile
You can spot loop pile because it sticks up, forms a loop, and goes back down into the backing of the carpet. Cut pile, on the other hand, sticks up straight from the backing, forming a line. Cut-and-loop pile is a combination of the two. Loop pile tends to be a durable option, while cut pile is plusher. With cut-and-loop pile, you get the best of both worlds!
Aside from the different types of carpet, you can also choose from different fibers. Generally, these include the following options:
While they’re all good options, nylon tends to be the most popular choice.
Material Construction: Laminate
Laminate flooring consists of three layers:
- Base layer
- Image layer
- Protective layer
This composition gives laminate flooring the look and durability of engineered hardwood at a lower price point. The base layer is usually made from fiberboard or plywood. Then, the image layer consists of a photo-realistic image of wood grain, giving it the look many homeowners love.
While older laminate flooring did not always look very realistic, new printing technology gives the image layer a look of authenticity like never before. Finally, the protective layer prevents damage to the floorboards, even after years of use.
Ease of Installation: Carpet
Regardless of which of these flooring materials you choose, you should hire a professional flooring & carpet installation company for the job. Carpet installation starts with the underlayment, which is the material that goes between your concrete floor and the carpet itself.
If you opt to go the DIY route instead, you run the risk of installing the underlayment incorrectly or choosing the wrong underlayment for your home. Once the underlayment is in place, a professional carpet installer will put in the carpet, making sure to stretch it properly so it doesn’t bubble up over your flooring.
Ease of Installation: Laminate
In most cases, laminate is easier to install, but it’s still worth hiring a professional flooring company for the job. Depending on the exact laminate you choose, you may also need to install underlayment before putting in the laminate. By hiring a professional, you can eliminate the worry of making a mistake during installation that will cost you more time and money down the line.
Fortunately, since laminate flooring is easy to install, a flooring contractor can usually get your project wrapped up quickly so you can get back to enjoying your home.
How durable you can expect your carpet to be largely depends on which type and material you choose. Let’s talk first about type. As we mentioned above, loop pile is the most durable option, making it a great choice for homes with young children or pets. Softer carpet with higher pile, like most cut pile carpet, might feel better on your feet, but it generally won’t last as long.
Now, let’s look at the durability of different fibers. Nylon is usually the most durable option, which is why so many homeowners choose it for their renovation projects. Polyester and wool fibers tend to be more resistant to stains, but even still, their durability can’t compete with nylon. Keep this in mind when making your decision.
Laminate flooring is one of the most durable options on the market. That’s all thanks to its protective layer, which makes it resistant to chips, dents, scratches, and other damage. Many laminate flooring options are also UV-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about sun damage over the years if you keep your curtains open.
While most laminate is water resistant, there are some waterproof options on the market if you’d prefer to have more protection.
Pros and Cons: Carpet
Why do homeowners love carpet? For starters, it’s comfortable, giving children a fun, soft place to play. It can also help reduce excess noise in your home thanks to its insulating properties. Perhaps best of all, it comes in a variety of different styles, colors, and materials, so you can create a space that perfectly reflects your personal style.
One downside to carpet flooring is that it can absorb odors, sometimes causing your home to smell musty, even if you vacuum it regularly. You might want to plan for yearly steam cleaning services to help keep out odors and allergens. It can also be a magnet for stains, some of which can be hard to remove.
Pros and Cons: Laminate
One of the many reasons homeowners choose to install laminate flooring is that, for the most part, they can set it and forget it. Aside from regular sweeping and mopping, laminate flooring requires virtually no maintenance.
And, even though it looks as beautiful as hardwood flooring, it’s available at a much lower price point, which is great for homeowners renovating on a budget. Like carpet, laminate flooring also comes in a variety of colors and styles, so the possibilities are virtually limitless.
Of course, laminate flooring isn’t a perfect solution. It’s a hard surface, which may not be a good option for households with small, mobile children. It also causes sounds to echo more than carpet and it’s a colder material, which could make your home feel uncomfortable in the winter months.
Now that you know more about the makeup and quality of carpet and laminate flooring, it’s time to take a closer look at how they compare to each other. Here’s a head-to-head comparison of these two materials.
If you’re worried about sticking to your budget when renovating your home, you’re in luck. Both carpet and laminate flooring come in affordable options that are fairly comparable to each other. What will ultimately impact your cost more than anything else is the actual product you choose.
Both laminate and carpet have plenty of options ranging from wallet-friendly to high-end luxury. Your best bet is to set a budget for your flooring project and look for options priced per square foot to help you determine what fits your budget.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Another thing to consider when deciding which option to choose is how much maintenance you want to put into keeping your floors clean. Laminate is much easier to clean since you can use a mop or broom to remove dust and you don’t have to worry about stains.
Carpet, on the other hand, can take more effort to keep clean, especially if you stain it. You should expect to regularly vacuum your carpet and pull out a steam cleaner to remove particularly stubborn stains.
If down the line, you need to replace a section of your flooring, laminate is also easier to replace than carpet. With laminate, you can replace a specific board or two, whereas carpet would need to be pulled out and replaced in a larger section.
If you or anyone in your family suffers from allergies, keep that in mind when making a decision on flooring options. Carpet can lock in dirt, bacteria, and pollen, which can aggravate your allergies, even with regular carpet cleaning. Conversely, laminate flooring is easier to keep clean, making it a more hypoallergenic option for allergy sufferers.
These days, many homeowners are looking to make sustainable choices for their homes. So, how do carpet and laminate flooring compare? Laminate has the edge here, as many manufacturers reuse this recyclable material. Carpet, on the other hand, is often made from nonrenewable materials.
Additionally, during the carpet manufacturing process, some harmful emissions are released into the environment. If making sustainable choices for your home is your top priority, then choosing laminate flooring might be the better option for you.
Carpet vs Laminate Flooring: Making the Right Choice for Your Home
After reading through this in-depth guide to carpet vs laminate flooring, we hope you have a better understanding of each material and what sets them apart. Now, it’s time to make a decision for your home so you can start the renovation process.
While you’re planning your home improvement project, find some more inspiration by checking out the other articles on our site!