When choosing which flooring material is best for your remodel or installation, carpet is by far the most common choice. It all started when Middle Eastern communities placed carpet-like fixtures on their hut floors over 2,500 years ago. Since then, this flooring staple has gone through many transformations to become the powerhouse interior material it is today. We've rounded up the research you need to compare the cost of vinyl plank flooring vs carpet and make the right choice for your next project.
How is Carpet Made?
Carpet is created by threading fibers, called staples, through the carpet backing into tight loops by using an industrial loom. You can see the carpet backing when you view sample squares at any store. The carpet is colored with one of two methods: piece dyed or solution dyed. Piece dyed carpet is done after the carpet has been made. The fibers are dyed on the outermost layer, creating a vibrant color and is available in a wide assortment of unique colors. Solution dyed carpet begins before the fibers are even threaded. The dye is added to the thread material before it is drawn out into yarn, and as it runs through the machine there is more dye added to saturate the color. This creates a richer, deeper, and often longer lasting tone to the carpet.
Is Carpet Right for Me?
Considering that over 12 billion square feet of carpet and rugs are produced each year, there is no denying the popularity of the material when remodeling homes. When considering carpet for your projects, it is important to know the benefits and potential drawbacks of having carpet installed in your home:
Pros of Using Carpet
Per square foot, carpet is the most inexpensive material you can work with. It has major staying power for refreshing a home or apartment without breaking the bank.
It’s Quiet (For Noise and Stains)
Many multi-family housing communities utilize the sound buffer that carpet provides; ensuring a noise-reducing experience for lower unit tenants. Multi-story homes also integrate carpet not only for sound reduction, but to support the frame of the upstairs area over time and avoid warping as the home settles.
Carpet can be a fantastic stain concealer as well; many designs include multiple colors to mimic a pattern and help blur any stains that are hard to remove.
Carpet Installs Quickly
While RM Interiors has an industry-leading rapid installation process, carpet is much faster to lay down than vinyl flooring. If you’re looking for flooring that will be ready right away, carpet is a great option.
As versatile and readily available carpet is, there are also disadvantages that should be considered before taking the next step on your project:
Cons of Using Carpet
Carpet does accumulate wear and tear, leading to damage and unsightly stress points in the floor. With foot traffic and furniture adding pressure to the material over time, carpet will show imperfections in color and texture and will be worn down over time.
It’s universal and readily available, but carpet has specific areas of the home that it is best used in. Avoid installing carpet in any rooms that may harbor humidity or involve plumbing, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas, and entryways. Carpet and the pad beneath it are absorbent. To avoid subfloor and mold and mildew issues, carpet is generally considered an unviable flooring option for those areas.
Are Vinyl Floors Right for Me?
Modern, sophisticated, and innovative; vinyl flooring like sheet vinyl and glue-down and floating vinyl plank, are part of the growing industry standard for quality materials. The printed vinyl patterns mimic natural materials like wood and stone and offer a refined look and feel to a room. According to RM Interiors, in the last 2 years vinyl/LVP volume has grown over 25% in popularity compared to carpet. When looking at the cost of vinyl plank flooring vs carpet, there is a larger investment for vinyl but the long-term value is much higher.
Sheet vinyl is a thin pliable material that is an adaptable and affordable option for many multi-housing communities that have high turnover. It has a soft plastic backing with a textured picture, and a ‘wear layer’ of durable plastic to prevent scratches, gouges, and wear and tear.
Vinyl plank flooring is an upgraded vinyl option, offering additional support with a to offer more support than sheet or glue-down vinyl. Offering an even sturdier base and ‘click’ installation, it creates a perfect match to the floor size and shape of the interior room.
Floating vinyl plank has a stone core product, meaning it has a core made of stone dust that has been compressed together at high pressure levels. This material is incredibly strong, waterproof, and rigid. It features a hard wear layer on the top, and a pad underneath to help mute sounds. These printed planks are often installed in high humidity rooms like bathrooms and kitchens or installed in family rooms and bedrooms to create a polished atmosphere. It is becoming more and more common to see vinyl floors in all rooms of a home.
With the myriad of options available, knowing the benefits of going with a vinyl plank flooring installation will ensure you make the right choice for your project:
Vinyl Floor Pros
Vinyl flooring is designed to look refined. If you’re looking for a modern option to improve the look and feel of a room, this is a great choice. There are thousands of prints to accommodate any color scheme in a home, and the options available continue to expand.
This may be a no-brainer but remembering that vinyl flooring is waterproof is a gamechanger. In areas of the home where tenants and owners are using water or tracking it in, choosing vinyl flooring will preserve the quality of your subfloor over time. Water damage is one of the most expensive and time consuming issues that plagues management professionals when turning units.
Easy to Clean and is Durable
Everyone is busy, and with carpet requiring regular vacuuming and occasional shampooing, vinyl plank flooring is an attractive option. Whether it’s a rental or an owned property, having a low-maintenance flooring option is incredibly attractive for the home’s value. Compared to carpet, vinyl better resists the wear and tear that comes with daily foot traffic and furniture over time.
While vinyl plank flooring appears to be the best option when it comes to durability and cleanliness, there is a reason that carpet is still widely used as the staple for flooring installation across the country. Knowing the potential pitfalls of vinyl can save you from unexpected issues that may come up during your projects.
LVP and Vinyl Floor Cons
Can Be Expensive
With a stronger base, and longer staying power, vinyl flooring comes with a higher price tag. While private home projects or luxury rental communities often prefer this material, many high-volume single family and multifamily homes avoid vinyl flooring due to the cost. Vinyl flooring isn’t invincible. If it needs to be replaced often, it can be one of the most significant expenses during a renovation.
Can’t Be Refinished
Again, damage can happen to vinyl floors when the structural base and wear fail to resist a heavy impact or event. Unlike hardwood floors, when the pattern and texture of vinyl flooring eventually wears down, it can’t be refinished. Once a portion of the floor is damaged, the affected area must be replaced. This can be an expensive venture.
High-VOC Vinyl is not Environmentally Friendly
In the process of making vinyl flooring materials, toxic chemicals are released into the atmosphere. Some vinyl floors have been shown to emit VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that can adversely affect the environment over time. Choosing low-VOC vinyl is the best way to avoid that issue.
At RM Interiors, we focus on smart, innovative, and agile flooring solutions for all clients. We install and replace carpet and vinyl flooring almost equally; every project has its perfect match.
When it comes to choosing which is best for you, your company, and your properties, our team is always available to assist you.