Carpet vs. Laminate: Comparison Guide
Carpet and laminate are popular flooring choices. Both carpet and laminate are cheaper than hardwood. Carpet is less desirable to homeowners with allergies as it traps dust and pollen. It also harbors mold and mildew growth when exposed to moisture.
Laminate is hypoallergenic and easier to clean. When choosing between carpet and laminate, consider your budget, needs, and preferences. Both have competitive pricing, but high-pile carpeting costs more than high-end laminate flooring.
Carpet flooring consists of natural or synthetic fibers. They’re available in various pile heights, textures, and colors. Carpets are also categorized into different grades. High-end grades are better quality and offer durability.
Carpeting is popular in both commercial and residential setups. They have a wide price range, with cheaper ones costing $1 per square foot. High-end carpets like wool costs around $15 per square foot. Synthetic fibers like nylon, polypropylene, and polyester are cheap and durable.
Laminate Flooring at a Glance
Laminate flooring mimics the appearance of wood floors. It comprises four layers: the back layer, the core layer, the decorative paper, and the overlay. Multiple layers make laminate floors durable. Also, they have competitive prices. A square foot of laminate costs $1 to $11 per square foot.
Wood laminate floors are made from oak, walnut, acacia, maple, cherry, and beech wood. Depending on the wood, laminate floors have smooth, brushed, hand-scraped, oiled, or traditional wood textures. Like carpets, wood laminates come in various colors, thicknesses, and sizes.
Carpet vs. Laminate Flooring: Which Is Better?
|Resale value||Doesn’t add the resale value||Increases home’s value|
|Cost||$1- $8 per square foot||$1- $11 per square foot|
|Health Factors||Low-VOC carpets emit less toxic gasses indoors. They’re ideal for allergy sufferers.||Laminate doesn’t trap allergens and is easier to clean.|
|Ease of Maintenance||Easy to vacuum and steam clean. Removing stains can be challenging.||It can be vacuumed and mopped.|
|Installation Criteria||Professional and DIY installation||Need professional installation|
|Durability||Between 5-10 years||Up to 25 years|
|Flooring Areas||Living rooms, bedrooms, stairs, basement||All areas except bathrooms and basements|
|Comfort||Has a soft underfoot and keeps the room warm||Soft underfoot|
Carpet vs. Laminate: Cost
Carpets and laminate floors have a comparable price range. For materials, mid-range laminate floors cost between $1 and $6 per square foot. Labor costs, subfloor replacement, and removal of old floors influence the final cost.
The installation per square foot of laminate floors costs between $6 and $14 per square foot. Carpet materials cost $1 to $8 per square foot, with synthetic fibers costing between $2 and $4 per square foot.
Carpets and laminate floor materials have a similar price range. The final cost depends on the quality and style of the flooring.
Carpet vs. Laminate: Ease of Installation
Installing carpets involves several steps. Wall-to-wall carpets are challenging to DIY, so it’s best to hire a professional. Installing carpet padding on the subfloor makes the carpet more comfortable and durable. Anchoring the carpet is time-consuming and needs accuracy.
You must also tape the seams between two carpets, so the edges match. Laminate has an easier installation method. Since it’s a dry installation, you need any grout or glue to install it. Installation involves interlocking the planks and is suitable for DIY.
While DIY installation is cheaper, it’s also time-consuming and needs specialty tools. Laminate is easier to install than carpet. But, both flooring types may not be easy to DIY for beginners.
Carpet vs. Laminate: Eco-Friendliness
Laminate consists of recycled wood fibers glued together. Manufacturers use the waste from other industries, which makes laminate floors sustainable. Laminate boards marked as CARB, E0, E1, and P2 have low formaldehyde levels. As a result, laminate emits low VOC indoors.
Carpets with the Green Label Plus certification also emit low or no VOCs. Natural fibers like wool, jute, and sisal are 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Such carpets are also hypoallergenic since they don’t emit toxic gasses when new.
Both carpet and laminate floors are eco-friendly. When shopping for either, check the raw materials and research the brand’s reputation.
Carpet vs. Laminate: Styles & Patterns
Laminate floors imitate the look and texture of wood. Carpets are available in different patterns. Carpets are also made from different fibers. The best carpet brands provide homeowners with different color tones. You can choose neutral colors like brown or beige and vibrant reds and blues.
Carpet thickness varies by pile height, while laminate thickness is measured in millimeters. The ideal laminate thicknesses are 7mm, 8mm, 10mm, and 12mm. Common carpet styles include Berber, shag, Saxony, and plush.
Laminate floors are available in earthy tones. Carpets offer more variety in styles and patterns.
Water, Stain & Heat Resistance
Synthetic carpet fibers are water and stain-resistant. Yet, most carpets are prone to water damage, mold, and mildew growth. Carpeting may not be ideal when choosing a flooring option for your basement or bathroom. Synthetic carpet fibers have low heat resistance. They also emit toxic gasses when exposed to fire.
Water also damages laminate floors. When water soaks into the layers, it causes the board to swell. Most companies sell laminate floors as “moisture-resistant.” Laminate floors are ideal for kitchens and basements. Laminate is stain and scratch resistant and is easy to clean.
Both carpets and laminate floors are not suitable for high moisture areas. But laminate is a better choice for areas prone to staining and soiling.
Longevity & Ease of Maintenance
Laminate flooring lasts longer than carpeting. While high-end carpets last 20 years or less, good-quality laminate lasts 30+ years. Laminate’s durability relies on the quality of the planks and installation. Thick laminate floors are more durable.
Laminate is also easier to maintain compared to carpet floors. Carpets need vacuuming twice every week and professional cleaning to maintain the pile. Maintaining a carpet in kids’ playrooms or households with pets is more challenging.
Laminate floors are ideal for kids’ rooms and families with pets. Laminate’s protective clear coating keeps floors from fading and extends their lifespan.
- Adds comfort and warmth
- Absorbs noise. Ideal for home theaters
- Softens slips and falls
- Shows wear and tear
- High resilience
- Simple installation
- Easy to maintain
- Prone to warping and scratches
- Cannot be sanded or refinished
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Can laminate flooring be installed on top of carpet?
No. Carpet piles become uneven due to foot traffic, creating an unsuitable underlayment. Before installing new laminate floors, it’s ideal to remove your old flooring. Removing old carpets helps reduce allergens and makes the floor even.
Which is best for basements, carpet or laminate?
Laminate is the best basement flooring option. The laminate’s top coating protects the floor from moisture and water damage. The subfloor and laminate’s substrate layer also protect against water seeping up from the basement.
Which flooring option is best for homeowners with pets?
Carpet is a suitable flooring for pet lovers. The best carpet brands offer pet-friendly carpet fibers. Carpets are stain and moisture-resistant and resist damage from claws. Cork, tile, and vinyl are also easy to maintain and durable in homes with pets.
What thickness of laminate floor is best?
Laminate floor thickness should range from 6mm to 12mm. Thick laminates are more impact-resistant, making them suitable for high-traffic areas. 12mm laminates resist warping and are less noisy.
Choosing between carpet and laminate depends on your preferences. Laminate is better if you’re an allergy sufferer or need to increase your home’s resale value. Choose carpet when looking for versatile patterns and styles.
Laminate is easier to install as it involves interlocking the planks. The pointers in this guide should help you choose between carpet and laminate.