Carpet vs flooring; which is best for your home?

Flooring is a vital part of any interior transformation and it can easily make or break your envisioned space. Not only is it usually the first thing you see, but flooring is also our first physical contact with a room and so it can have a lasting impact.

But which flooring option is best for you and your home?

The first thing to note is that there isn’t really a best option. 

It’s about what is best for your circumstances and your home. 

There are a few different options for both carpets, and flooring, but in this blog we’ll explore the main differences between carpet and flooring, to help you decide what the best options for your home will be. 

What are the differences between carpet and flooring options?

It’s important to note that there are numerous different options within carpets and flooring, each with different benefits and disadvantages. 

With carpets you have a couple of different options:

  • Wool
  • Man-made (Polypropylene, Polyamide/Nylon and Polyester)
  • Natural Fibre (Seagrass, Bamboo & Sisal)

Again, with flooring there are a few different solutions available on the market:

  • Cushion Vinyl
  • LVT – Luxury Vinyl Tile (from the likes of Karndean & Moduleo)
  • Laminate
  • Engineered & Solid Wood flooring

Of course, there are many differences within each of these types and styles of flooring. However, in this blog we are going to look at the broad differences between carpet and other flooring, to help you narrow down your search. 

There are a few main factors to consider:

  1. Fitting cost
  2. Maintenance
  3. Warmth/Comfort
  4. Design options
  5. Durability
  6. Which room you are renovating
Carpet Flooring
Flooring costBetween £6-£130/square metre (varies depending on what option you choose)Between £10-80/square metre)(varies depending on what option you choose)
MaintenanceHigher maintenanceLower maintenance
Warmth/ComfortWarmer/cosierUsually colder
Design optionsPractically unlimited in colour/patternLots of choice and more design led styles now available
DurabilityLasts 5-15 years. But hard to repairEasily lasts 10 years – a lifetime depending on flooring
1. Carpet vs flooring: fitting cost

Of course the cost of your flooring solution will vary depending on a number of factors including quality, size of the room, type and complexity of installation. 

Within both options you will usually be able to find something that fits your budget.

The industry wide average carpet prices are around £5 – £50/square metre. At Millers, you can expect to pay around £10 – £35 per square metre for a man-made carpet (although we do have some from as low as £6.99), and around £18 – £80 per square metre for a wool carpet. 

Other flooring options will vary in price depending on the style that you select, for example:

  • Cushion vinyl flooring costs approximately £10 – £24 per square metre
  • LVT flooring costs approximately £19 – £60 per square metre
  • Engineered wood flooring costs approximately £28 – £80 per square metre
  • Laminate flooring costs approximately £10 – £26.00 persquare metre
  • Hardwood flooring costs approximately £30 – £90 per square metre

These are the costs for the supply of the flooring only. You will then need to factor in the installation costs and any preparation work on top of this. 

For carpet and cushion vinyl fitting this is between £3 – £12/square metre (at Millers it’s usually £4/square metre). 

For LVT, laminate or wood flooring this is usually between £10 – £20/square metre (at Millers we charge £10.00 upwards per square metre). 

However the exact installation cost will be subject to a number of factors including the size of the room, any preparation works needed and the complexity of installation. The quality of installation will really impact the durability of your flooring so it’s important that you look for a qualified installer.

Related content: How much does it cost to install a carpet?

2. Carpet vs flooring: maintenance

One of the things we hear all the time is: “Flooring is easier to clean”

It’s true. 

Ease of maintenance is definitely one of the main upsides of floorings such as vinyl, hardwood, or laminate. You can easily run the vacuum over it, and any mess can be quickly and easily cleaned up. That’s why alternative flooring options are becoming increasingly popular, especially in households with high traffic, pets and young children. 

For real wood flooring you may eventually need to recoat or refinish the wood, this will extend the life and make it look as good as new although this is a large job to do yourself with quite a bit of upheaval and very labour intensive. 

Carpets on the other hand, are a little more complex to keep clean. It is definitely still possible and can be done via a combination of vacuuming, spot cleaning and professional cleaning. But, if your household is prone to constantly spilling things then this is definitely something to consider before you install. 

If easy maintenance is something that is high on your priority list, but you have your heart set on a carpet, then we would usually recommend a man-made carpet, as they are well known for their stain resistance. 

Related content: How to maintain a carpet (and keep it looking new)

3. Carpet vs flooring: warmth & comfort

There is no better feeling that stepping onto a warm, cosy carpet in your bare feet. The same can’t really be said for alternative flooring options. 

Carpets are cosy and textured, they feel soft and comfortable to walk on, especially if they have a good underlay, combined they have the added benefit of helping to insulate the room, so they are warmer, more luxurious and reduce noise. 

In comparison, flooring options such as vinyl, hardwood, or laminate, are by design hard. This means they may not be as comfortable to walk on, and can reduce heat and noise insulation. Of course if you are set on alternative flooring options then there are lots of ways to minimise this, such as adding rugs, better underlay or installing underfloor heating. 

4. Carpet vs flooring: design options 

Flooring options such as vinyl, hardwood, or laminate are designed to replicate the look and feel of hardwood or tile flooring. Therefore the design options can be a little bit more limited, that being said, there are lots of design features that you can now add including design strips, borders and multi width planks/tiles . 

Carpet design options, on the other hand, are practically unlimited. The fabrics can be dyed and woven to form a myriad of different colours and patterns. However, it’s worth considering that colourful and patterned carpets are generally more expensive.

Whether you are looking to make a statement or provide a neutral base for your decor there are numerous flooring and carpets options to suit both.

Related: How to maintain a carpet (and keep it looking new)

5. Carpet vs flooring: durability

Like most things, how long your floor lasts depends on how well you look after it, how you clean it and how much use it gets. That’s why it’s important to find the flooring solution that suits the needs of your household. 

If taken care of properly, carpet can last between approximately 5-15 years, depending on the quality of the carpet. The problem with carpet is that it can’t be easily fixed, so if there is a small damaged area you may need to replace the entire carpet. 

The lifetime of flooring options can very much vary, depending on which one you go for. For example:

Vinyl flooring lasts approximately 10 – 20 years

Engineered wood flooring lasts approximately 10-25 years

Laminate lasts approximately 10-20 years

And as for real wood flooring, if properly maintained it can last a lifetime. We’ve all seen pictures of old houses that have managed to salvage the original wood flooring. But proper care and maintenance for this type of flooring is key. 

The good thing about alternative flooring options is that if one section is damaged it is usually possible to just replace or renovate that, meaning you don’t have to redo the entire area. 

The key to durability is to ensure that you choose quality flooring, have it installed correctly by a professional and always follow the cleaning and maintenance guidelines. This can have a massive impact on the lifespan of your flooring. 

In summary: Is carpet or flooring the best choice for you?

The truth is, there are a lot of things to consider when deciding on your flooring option. And many of those will be specific to your own home.

Have you got a busy household, with a load of kids or messy teenagers? Then flooring might be the best option for ease of maintenance.

Do you live in an old draughty flat with neighbours underneath? Then carpet might be the best way to keep in some heat and insulate the sound. 

Plus, it’s worth remembering that you don’t have to stick to one throughout your home. 

A carpet might be the perfect choice for your bedroom. 

Whereas hardwood or vinyl flooring might be a better option for a well used living room. 

Either way, hopefully, this blog has helped explain the potential differences and helped to narrow down your options. 
The next step is to come on into our showroom and see the options for yourself and talk it through with one of our specialists.

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