It can be difficult to choose between laminate flooring and carpet when outfitting a room. It's important to consider the function of a room and the sort of activities — and people and pets — that will likely be in the space. The cost of carpet is generally much cheaper than the cost of laminate flooring, but laminate flooring has the advantage of being longer-lasting, easier to clean, and less likely to suffer weather damage. If the area you are considering sees a great deal of foot traffic, laminate flooring and an area rug might be a better choice than carpeting, but there are numerous other factors to consider.
Advantages of Carpet vs. Laminate
Carpeting adds a softer, warmer feel and look to a room, and it's a popular choice for bedrooms and living rooms for this reason. Lowes carpet, for example, comes in a vast variety of materials, patterns, and colors, and recent advances in technology have made it more stain-resistant than carpets of the past.
Carpets also create a warming effect in a room which is great if your space is in a cold climate. However, in the hot months, the heat of a carpet can feel needlessly oppressive and somewhat stifling. Depending on the environment you live in, carpet can help make your space seem cozier and warmer, and it can go a long way to helping to tie a room's color scheme together.
Disadvantages of Carpet
Stain-resistant does not mean stain-proof, and carpet can get destroyed more easily than laminate, especially in high-traffic areas like hallways. It also takes more effort to clean, and ground-in dirt can destroy the fibers. Better quality carpet with stain-resistant treatment will last longer, but will also cost more than a laminate floor.
Like laminate, carpet is made using adhesives and chemicals that people with chemical sensitivities may wish to avoid. Formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and acetone are chemicals that can be found in some carpets. For more information, ask your retailer or the manufacturer for the material safety data sheet (MSDS) available for the product you are installing.
Advantages of Laminate
Laminate flooring is very durable and is a good choice for hallways and entryways. It's easy to keep clean, and doesn't harbor allergens, odors and pet-borne insects like carpeting can. Regardless of your taste in decor, it is almost guaranteed that you will find a style of laminate flooring to suit your interior style.
Laminate comes in a wide variety of styles, mostly meant to simulate the look of stone or wood; the top layer is a graphic representation of whatever surface the laminate is meant to resemble. If one section of a laminate floor becomes damaged, it's possible to replace damaged sections without redoing the entire floor. Laminate flooring cost tends to be higher than the cost of carpet installation.
In general, installing laminate flooring is an easier task than installing carpet for the do-it-yourself homeowner. The savings made by installing laminate yourself may reduce the cost of laminate flooring to a comparable level with professionally installed carpet. However, if you don't have experience with laminate floor installing it might be better done by a professional so you can avoid any of the issues that could arise during a DIY project that might potentially result in additional expenditure.
Disadvantages of Laminate
The top layer of laminate is easily scratched by furniture or by dust and grime and may lose its luster if not frequently swept. Laminate is also ruined by excess moisture; any spills or standing water must be promptly cleaned up, and wet mopping is a bad idea. Many types of laminate are made with formaldehyde, and off-gassing of volatile organic compounds may be a problem. Some floors are treated to prevent this, but as with stain-resistant carpet, the price will be higher as a result.
- World Floor Covering Association: Flooring Comparison Chart
- No Nonsense Landlord: Carpet vs. Laminate Flooring
- Improvenet: Flooring Installation Cost
- World Floor Covering Association: Laminate Flooring Review
- World Floor Covering Association: The Truth About Carpet Prices - The Only Price That Matters
Anne Pyburn Craig
Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.