Carpet vs. Laminate: Comparison Guide

Carpet and laminate are both cheaper than hardwood, each with its own set of pros and cons. Carpet is soft underfoot but not a great option for homeowners with allergies since it traps dust and pollen. It also harbors mold and mildew growth when exposed to moisture.

Laminate is hypoallergenic and easier to clean but doesn’t offer the same warmth as carpet. 

Carpet vs. Laminate Flooring: Which Is Better?

Carpet at a Glance

Carpet consists of natural or synthetic fibers and is available in various pile heights, textures, and colors. Carpets are also categorized into different grades. High-end grades are better quality and offer durability.

Cheap carpets cost as little as $1 per square foot, while high-end carpets, like wool, cost 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. Laminate is also competitively priced at $1 to $11 per square foot.

Laminate floors can have smooth, brushed, hand-scraped, oiled, or traditional wood textures. Laminate planks come in various colors, thicknesses, and sizes.

Carpet vs. Laminate Flooring: Which Is Better?

Resale valueDoesn’t add the resale valueIncreases home’s value
Cost$1- $8 per square foot$1- $11 per square foot
Health FactorsLow-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 MaintenanceEasy to vacuum and steam clean. Removing stains can be challenging.It can be vacuumed and mopped.
Installation CriteriaProfessional and DIY installationNeed professional installation
DurabilityBetween 5-10 yearsUp to 25 years
Flooring AreasLiving rooms, bedrooms, stairs, basementAll areas except bathrooms and basements
ComfortHas a soft underfoot and keeps the room warmSoft underfoot

Carpet vs. Laminate: Cost

Mid-range laminate floors cost between $1 and $6 per square foot. 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 carpet involves several steps and specialized tools. It’s best left to professionals. 

Laminate has an easier installation method. You don’t need any grout or glue to install it – instead, the planks interlock. 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 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 multiple fibers, piles, patterns, and colors.

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.

Laminate floors are also susceptible to water damage. When water soaks into the layers, it causes the board to swell. Most companies sell laminate floors as “moisture-resistant,” but it’s not waterproof. Other benefits of laminate include its ease of cleaning and scratch and stain resistance.

Neither carpet nor laminate floors are suitable for high-moisture areas. Laminate is a better choice for areas prone to staining and soiling.

Longevity & Ease of Maintenance

While high-end carpet 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 than thin planks.

Laminate is also easier to maintain compared to carpet floors. Carpets can trap dirt, stains, and dust making them harder to keep clean.

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.