When you’re deciding between hardwood, engineered wood, carpet and laminate for your flooring material, you are probably going to find that carpet and laminate are the two least expensive choices. They’re also the easiest to install yourself. If you plan to minimise the cost of materials and DIY your floor coverings, then it’s a choice you might need to make: carpet or laminate?
Look and Feel
Many people love the look and feel of a carpeted floor. It’s warm to the touch. It’s soft and luxurious. Carpet comes in an unmatchable range of colours and patterns and can be a significant interior design element. Carpet is available in a wide variety of textures and lofts, from Berber to Saxony, and each has a different look and feel. Finally, carpet is made from a variety of new and recycled materials, from wool to nylon and more.
Laminate flooring is, to be blunt, fake wood. However, our high quality laminates look so much like timber flooring that we’d struggle to tell the difference if we saw an installation and didn’t bend down to examine it closely. Laminate flooring has come a long way from the days when the wood grain pattern was very obviously repeated from board to board. For all intents and purposes, high quality laminate looks like hardwood.
Durability and Ease
Both laminate and carpet have a limited life expectancy of perhaps five to fifteen years, depending on the quality of the product and the intensity of wear. They’re both fairly durable in the short term, but their appearance will deteriorate over the years.
However, there’s a real difference in the nature of the two products and the amount of maintenance that’s required. Laminate is finished with a tough-wear protection layer. It can be cleaned with soap and water, and it can be kept neat by simply sweeping. Laminate won’t be damaged by water or mud, so it can be a good choice for transitional areas like sun porches and foyers.
Carpet, on the other hand, needs to be vacuumed regularly and can be stained fairly easily. It holds onto dirt and can become badly soiled, especially in households with pets and small children. Carpeted floors tend to harbour dust mites, so people with allergies may prefer a different floor surface.
Making a Decision
All in all, laminate is a good choice for busy households on a budget and for areas where things might get spilled or where dirty shoes and boots might be worn. It’s easy to keep clean and with moderate wear, it’s fairly durable. Carpet is soft and offers many design options, but it can be difficult to keep clean. Use carpet in well protected areas like bedrooms.
You can find great deals on both laminate and carpet at the Fowles retail store and through our Timber and Building Materials auctions.