Both carpet and vinyl plank flooring are popular choices for home renovations. The visual aesthetic of each material is understandably a large factor when choosing the right flooring, but both materials have pros, cons and varying suitability for different applications.
There is no single answer to which flooring type has a better appearance, as it’s entirely down to personal preference. Both carpet and vinyl plank have extensive options available, making it possible to achieve your desired look with either material.
Vinyl plank flooring comes in a range of pattern and color options, with higher-end products boasting a realistic wood look and feel. Carpet also has an extensive color range and different styles and fibers.
Carpet tends to be quite durable, but is easy to damage if not looked after correctly. A common sign of wear and tear on carpet is embedded drag marks, caused by friction when moving heavy items across the flooring without proper protection. Carpet is also susceptible to staining and fading over time when exposed to direct sunlight.
Vinyl planks are a popular choice for high-traffic areas due to their durability. The planks have a wear layer which provides a natural resistance to moisture, staining and scratching, allowing them to look newer for longer. However, vinyl planks can be damaged if exposed to repeated flooding or long-term water exposure, as well as extreme temperature fluctuations. Unlike traditional vinyl, vinyl planks can be individually replaced when damaged rather than requiring a complete flooring replacement.
Vinyl planks are non-porous and waterproof, so they are very easy to clean and any spills can be easily mopped up.
On the other hand, carpet requires more work when it comes to upkeep. Dust and dirt can be easily vacuumed up, but spills and stains present a big concern. A carpet that has been exposed to moisture can also lead to problems with mold. For this reason, it’s rare to find carpet in typically moist areas, like a bathroom.
Carpets also have more risk of wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas like a hallway or stairway. Nylon carpets are a bigger investment but often worthwhile as they can withstand constant usage. It can also be beneficial to opt for darker colors and patterns to disguise stains, crushing and matting.
It can be difficult to distinguish one material over another as lower cost, as each type of flooring comes in a variety of options. Carpets come in various styles, colors and fiber options, from competitively priced materials such as triexta polyester, to more luxurious nylon. Vinyl plank is similar, with wood, tile and stone options available.
Generally, low and mid-range carpet and vinyl planks fall into a similar price bracket, but carpet prices typically increase above vinyl plank as you get into the higher-end materials. Lifetime cost also differs, as carpet installation is often priced higher, as well as the expense of maintenance.
When choosing between carpet and vinyl plank flooring, consider the area where the flooring will be installed. Is it a particularly high-traffic area? Is there a high likelihood of spills and stains? Is the area prone to moisture?
Carpet is an ideal product for noise reduction as it naturally absorbs sound. However, vinyl plank flooring with attached pads can offer good sound-dampening abilities too. Many homeowners enjoy the comfort of soft, fresh carpet, especially in bedrooms and living rooms, but for people with asthma, allergens in fibers can cause breathing problems, so vinyl plank flooring may be a more suitable option.
As with any home renovation, proper consideration should be taken when deciding the right flooring for your needs. Take into account your budget, personal preferences, the practicalities and the requirements of everybody who will use the space.
Powerhouse is a full service home and commercial services company based in Texas.