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When To Use Vinyl Plank vs Carpet (Pros/Cons/Cost)

We want our home to be as comfortable as possible, and one of the ways that we achieve this is through the flooring. When you have to make the choice between vinyl plank and carpet, which is the best choice for you?

Vinyl plank flooring tends to be a popular choice because it is easy to clean and can be used in any area of the home. Carpet can still add some warmth to the home, although it tends to be an option considered for colder climates or for those on a budget.

Carpet and flooring tile

You might be surprised by the differences between vinyl plank and carpet. Quite simply, there are many more differences than simply the look and feel of the flooring itself.

When To Use Vinyl Plank vs Carpet (Pros/Cons/Cost)

We will consider some of the pros and cons of vinyl plank flooring as well as carpeting. We will also consider a cost comparison between the two but is that the most important factor?

Although it is important to include the cost in your decision, keep in mind that the flooring is going to be something you have to live on every day. Unless you are just trying to put something in your home so you can quickly sell the house, it should be a decision you can live with.

Something else that was mentioned is the fact that different climates can make a difference in your choice. Carpeting tends to be very popular in northern homes, due to the colder temperatures.

Vinyl plank flooring is a comfortable type of floor but it is also colder under the feet. If you want to warm up the house, carpeting is a choice you can consider.

Then again, vinyl plank flooring is beautiful and durable, which is certainly a consideration. That will be brought out in our next section, which provides you a specific comparison between carpet and vinyl plank as far as cost, pros, and cons are concerned.

Pros, Cons And Cost Comparison Between Carpet vs Vinyl Plank

Different set of vinyl plank

There are many things to consider when doing a side-by-side comparison of carpet and vinyl plank. In fact, one of the only things they have in common is the fact that they go under our feet in the home. Let’s consider some of the differences.

1. Cost – When you compare the cost of installing vinyl with carpet, then carpeting is going to be a much more budget-friendly option. In either case, however, you can save money by doing the installation yourself.

The cost of carpet tends to range between one dollar per square foot on the low end and then the sky is really the limit. Some of the luxury carpeting can be $20 per square foot or more (sometimes much more).

On the other hand, vinyl is going to cost anywhere from two dollars per square foot up to $10 or more per square foot. What does this tell us?

The cost is similar if you are having them installed professionally on the low-end but on the upper end, you are likely to pay much more for carpet. You can also watch for specials through some of the stores that offer carpeting with free installation.

One other point to consider for cost is the underlayment. There may be some underlayment in vinyl on rare occasions, but you almost always have to pay extra for carpeting underlayment.

2. Appearance – There really isn’t any way to compare the appearance of carpeting and vinyl. Then again, how long it keeps its beauty and the new look is something we can compare.

Vinyl tends to mimic the look of wood or at times, stone. After installing it, it will maintain that look for many years. Carpet offers a variety of colors and patterns but the look of it will start to go downhill shortly after it is installed.

3. Pets – This is an important factor for many homes. Vinyl is the clear winner when it comes to being pet friendly. It is waterproof and can easily be cleaned with a dry mop and a wet mop.

Something else to consider as far as pets are concerned is allergies. If you are looking for a hypoallergenic choice, vinyl also comes out on top. Carpeting fibers tend to hold onto pet dander, leading to more allergies.

4. Durability – If you are flipping a home, you will likely install carpet because it looks good, is cheap, and goes down easily. That being said, carpeting does not last as long as a vinyl plank floor.

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Vinyl plank can last for many years if it is cared for properly. Carpet is likely to need to be replaced within five years. If you live on the carpet and have a busy household, it could be less.

When To Use Vinyl Plank That’s Better Than Carpet

Man installing carpet floor

It can be difficult to make the choice as to whether you should use vinyl plank or carpeting. What are some situations where vinyl plank is a better choice?

1. Busy Areas – If you are replacing the floor in an area of the home that has a lot of activity, vinyl plank tends to be a much better choice. It is more durable and easier to clean, so you will be able to live on it without some problems associated with carpeting.

That being said, there are also going to be some differences between carpeting and vinyl when it comes to quality and price. Obviously, you can purchase cheap vinyl flooring or you can spend more and get a more expensive floor under your feet.

The old axiom that you get what you pay for is really going to shine brightly when it comes to making this choice. If you spend a little more on vinyl plank flooring, you’re going to get a more durable option that will last for a lot longer.

2. Damp Areas – Most families would never consider putting carpeting in the bathroom, although it does happen at times. That is one area of the home where vinyl flooring is a much better choice because vinyl plank flooring is waterproof.

If there are other areas of the home that tend to be damp, including an outside porch or perhaps a basement, then vinyl plank flooring is going to be a good choice for those areas as well. You can put down vinyl plank flooring and not worry about a little water or even if it gets soaked.

3. Sunlight – If you are installing flooring in an area of the home that tends to get a lot of sunlight, then vinyl plank flooring is going to be a better choice. Ask anyone who ever had carpeting in a sunny room and they will tell you that it bleaches out very quickly.

It’s good to consider the sunlight that hits a room during the day. Keep in mind that the time of day that you are looking at the room may not be the time of day when the sunshine is coming through the window and striking the floor.

Cheap vinyl plank flooring is going to be just as susceptible to the sun as carpeting. It will fade if it is exposed to direct sunlight. As long as you choose a high-quality vinyl plank, you can be happy that you did so.

When To Use Carpet That’s Better Than Vinyl Plank

confused man standing

There are also times when carpeting is a better choice than vinyl plank flooring. When would you choose carpeting over vinyl plank and why?

1. Air Quality – Vinyl plank flooring tends to put off a lot of VOCs and some of those can continue to leach out over the years. Carpeting also has this issue in some cases, but it is not going to have as big of an issue as vinyl plank.

It will be good if you choose a type of carpeting that is low VOCs. Typically, the chemicals that come from carpeting come from the attachment of the carpeting to the backing. Making a low VOC choice is going to improve air quality.

Of course, you should consider allergies when it comes to air quality as well. Vinyl is going to be the winner in this case but if you keep the carpeting clean, you won’t have a big problem.

2. Comfort – Although vinyl plank flooring can be comfortable, it is nowhere near as comfortable as carpeting under your feet. If you tend to go around in your socks or barefoot frequently, you will appreciate the soft cushioning that carpet provides.

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Along with comfort, carpeting can also warm up a home and that adds to the comfort as well. Vinyl plank flooring tends to be a cold choice but carpet adds warmth.

3. Noise – There is no doubt that vinyl plank flooring is noisier than carpeting. Carpeting will not only reduce noise when you are walking on it, but it also tends to dampen noise from elsewhere as well.

If you need to choose between carpet or vinyl plank flooring, consider that vinyl plank flooring is better for damp areas of the home and much easier to clean. It also tends to last longer than carpeting. If you’re just looking for flooring that is inexpensive and uncomfortable under your feet then carpeting may be the right decision.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on December 5, 2022.

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