Carpet vs. Luxury Vinyl Flooring
For the longest time the carpet vs. vinyl flooring discussion was mixed. Prior to luxury vinyl flooring catching on in popularity, carpet was considered to be the go-to flooring solution for commercial spaces. Today, however, luxury vinyl flooring is surpassing the need for carpet — especially when it comes to corporate office spaces, healthcare, and the hospitality industry, as well as all other commercial LVT uses.
While each flooring option offers its own set of obvious benefits, the comparison between vinyl vs. carpet is actually much closer than you might think. Both are available in different formats—for carpet there’s broadloom and carpet tiles and for vinyl there’s tile, plank and resilient sheet. Both have design versatility. And both are capable of helping you achieve a comfortable aesthetic when applied to almost any interior environment. However, there are certain aspects that set each flooring solution apart from one another. The following resource will help you decide which flooring solution is best for your next design project.
To best illustrate the comparable characteristics of luxury vinyl vs. carpet, let’s break flooring down into five quantifiable qualities: Look & Style, Durability & Stability, Applications, Cost, and Sound.
Luxury vinyl tile provided an array of design choices for this corporate installation, as well as a durable flooring option that could easily withstand constant foot traffic.
Look & Style
When it comes to look and style, carpet allows for an incredible amount of design versatility. The same can be said for luxury vinyl flooring, however.
Whether it’s vivid abstracts or detailed patterns, both flooring solutions can help you achieve your desired design aesthetic. However with carpet design, because of dying and tufting technology, you have the option for either more color choices, but less patterns to choose from, or a carpet with more pattern options, but less colors choices. Only luxury vinyl offers design versatility without having to sacrifice color or pattern, easily being able to replicate the natural look of wood or stone due to the 3D printing technology.
Furthermore, while luxury vinyl is softer underfoot than most hard surfaces, if the feel of a woven texture is desired, the use of area rugs on top of luxury vinyl allows the ease of cleaning of hard surface areas, and the ability to add textured elements for greater visual aesthetics.
- Numerous design options, but with limits
- A popular flooring choice in hospitality/corporate
- Can replicate the look and style of various flooring materials like concrete stone, and wood
- Customizable and designable
Though carpet was a popular choice in the past for healthcare waiting areas, luxury vinyl is growing in popularity, providing even more design options that can offer added warmth and comfort to common areas.
Durability & Stability
When it comes to weighing the difference in durability and stability of carpet vs. vinyl, the key is to talk about each flooring’s cleanability factors.
When it comes to dirt, carpets work more like a filter, allowing dirt and dust to be vacuumed up. However it’s a little different with spills; spills on carpets not only attract more dirt to the area, but depending on the dye method, stains can easily set in. Specifically with broadloom carpets, moisture can pass through which causes mold to grow below the surface. Wear and tear is also a concern with carpet, as it is prone to crushing and matting, not to mention the visibility of dirt and wear in high-traffic areas. Though carpet manufacturers are doing their best to mitigate this concern by creating products like carpet tile which come with a backing system to allow an end user to pull up the segment of carpet, clean it and reinstall it.
Luxury vinyl far surpasses the cleanability of carpet in regards to spills. First, resilient flooring options like luxury vinyl is a non-porous material which keeps moisture and other harmful substances or bacteria from penetrating through like in carpet, or other flooring surfaces like concrete or the grout of ceramics. Second, luxury vinyl flooring has a wear layer with a polyurethane topcoat. This layer provides luxury vinyl with a natural resistance to moisture, staining and scratching. Its overall ease of maintenance from spills to disinfecting is unsurpassed, especially when following a typical two-bucket cleaning system. Thanks to its superior design versatility, luxury vinyl can visually hide traffic lanes and hold up to the foot traffic, whereas carpet crushes and matts. Overall, luxury vinyl offers a peace of mind in the way of durability and stability.
- Challenging to clean/maintain spills
- Innovative design helps reduce maintenance
- Susceptible to impact from high-traffic areas
- Easier to clean/disinfect/maintain/replace
- Non-porous, naturally antimicrobial
- Withstands high traffic well
- Patterns and textures hide dirt
As mentioned earlier, carpet is still very much a popular flooring solution. But the industries that once depended upon it are now also beginning to lean toward the use of luxury vinyl — especially in high-traffic areas.
This is because vinyl’s multi-faceted, cross-purpose functionality allows for a long-lasting durability that is incomparable to carpet. In corporate office space, carpet is still a popular choice for open office settings due to its acoustical value, but vinyl is becoming even more widely used in common areas such as entrances, lobbies and corridors. Some companies are even incorporating luxury vinyl into their conference room space, bathrooms and kitchen areas.
Other industries that have begun to rely on luxury vinyl flooring include healthcare, hospitality and retail spaces. Large commercial retailers have begun to install vinyl in their fitting rooms. Some are even using it as a main flooring surface in place of carpet. Hotels, large and small, have also begun replacing carpet with luxury vinyl flooring and using an area rug for an accent versus using installed carpet.
- Still a popular flooring surface across industries
- Becoming a preferred alternative to carpet in industries with high-traffic areas
- Provides a dimensional look when worked with carpet
The use of luxury vinyl is becoming more common in multi-family settings such as living rooms and kitchens. Pairing luxury vinyl with an accent area rug allows for easy maintenance and durability.
Cost is comparable when weighing vinyl vs. carpet.
Carpet costs on average $3-4 per square foot, but has been known to increase to $4.50-5.50 per square foot when installation is factored in.
Luxury vinyl can be priced from $2-$5 per square foot including the cost of installation for commercial products. However, when factoring in long-term maintenance costs of both flooring solutions, the lifetime cost of luxury vinyl flooring is actually less expensive compared to carpet.
- A less expensive product, but more expensive when factoring in cost of installation and upkeep
- LVT is comparable to cost of carpet when installation is included, but less expensive when looking at the lifecycle costing
Noise has to be a factor to consider when weighing carpet vs. vinyl flooring.
While carpet is ideal for noise reduction, luxury vinyl flooring has similar sound reduction abilities when the right construction is selected, or when an underlayment is applied to the subfloor. Selecting the appropriate option with vinyl helps reduce sound transmission between floors and with foot faults. The availability of 5mm loose lay products are commonly sourced for spaces requiring sound reduction properties, or some rigid core click products as they offer an attached acoustical backing.
- An ideal flooring product for noise reduction
- Comparable when selecting 5mm loose lay luxury vinyl, or a rigid core click product with an acoustical backing attached
- An underlayment may be applied to the subfloor
Below is an overview of the benefits of luxury vinyl flooring when compared to carpet:
Look & Style
Durability & Stability
If you found this comparison of luxury vinyl vs. carpet flooring helpful, you can find more information on our blog. We at Parterre are the leaders in modern, high-quality premium vinyl flooring. We would love to work with you on your next project.