Picking new flooring for your home should be fun – there are so many gorgeous choices! On the other hand, that sheer range of possibilities can make choosing hard. So, if you’re struggling to decide between vinyl or carpet, this guide is here to help you make up your mind.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to compare and contrast carpet and vinyl, from style options to maintenance requirements to price.
You’re probably not in any danger of getting carpet and vinyl confused, but let’s just review the basics before we go ahead.
Carpet has long been considered the go-to flooring for homes around the UK: it’s a classic choice that never goes out of fashion and helps keep homes warm and cosy in the winter months. It’s soft and luxurious underfoot and can come in a great number of colours and looks, including boldly patterned carpets or sophisticated plains.
Vinyl flooring has been around since the 1930s. This water-resistant flexible covering is made up of several different synthetic layers and comes in a variety of thicknesses, materials, and styles. You can find so many beautiful designs, from tile-effect vinyl that could pass for genuine stone or marble, to wood-effect vinyl that perfectly mimics planks of wood.
Of course, vinyl and carpet create very different looks, and which you prefer comes down to your personal preference. But if you like both, here are some other points of comparison to help you settle on a winner:
Durability: The lifespan of all flooring depends greatly on how you use it – whether it’s laid in a busy area, whether you wear shoes in the house, how you clean it, etc.
Vinyl will generally last from 10-20 years. We have a handy vinyl care guide that outlines all our handy tips for keeping vinyl in great shape.
Carpet has an even greater range of possible outcomes. A cheap synthetic carpet that undergoes a lot of rough usage might only look good for as little as three years – but a well-cared-for, high-quality wool carpet could last for 20 years or even more. Most of our carpets at Tapi carry a wear guarantee of 10 years, but that extends to 15 years on some of our luxury carpets – which doesn’t mean they couldn’t last longer still if you’re careful with them, and there are lots of ways you can repair your carpet too.
Maintenance: Neither carpet nor vinyl should require particularly strenuous day-to-day maintenance: a carpet will need to be hoovered regularly, while vinyl just needs sweeping or vacuuming and a wipe with a slightly damp mop – just take care not to over-saturate your mop. Vinyl is extremely water-resistant, but not 100% waterproof, and if any water does penetrate at the seams or edges this can damage the vinyl.
That said, a spill on vinyl can be wiped up in seconds, while carpets may demand a little more work. Some carpets are very tough and can even be bleach-cleaned, and wool carpet is naturally stain-resistant – but once a stain does set in it will require more specialist care. Now and then, your carpet will benefit from a deeper clean, either by calling in professionals or hiring a carpet cleaning machine – and you’ll have to be sure you’re using the right approach for your carpet’s fibre type. You can find out more about this in our carpet care guide.
Installation: Carpet is suitable for almost any floor but looks truly magnificent when professionally laid; vinyl is easier to lay yourself as it comes in sheets or tiles and is generally suitable for most surfaces, as long as they are smooth and level! You can learn how to fit your vinyl with another one of our great guides.
Style: The warmth and comfort of carpets create a luxurious atmosphere and the huge range of colours, textures, and patterns available offer a great starting point for any décor scheme. Meanwhile, you can make an impact in any room with vinyl floors that mimic tiles, hardwood, and even marble.
Generally speaking, both carpet and vinyl flooring are cheaper than hardwood, stone, or tiled flooring and offer great value for money, and both products are available at a wide range of prices. High-pile, 100% wool carpets usually cost more per square metre than any type of vinyl flooring, but on the other hand, you can expect to pay more for realistic wood-effect luxury vinyl tiles than for basic quality synthetic carpet.
When all else is equal, however, installing carpet is a more demanding job than laying vinyl, and so the fitting costs of carpet will usually be higher than vinyl, especially as DIY enthusiasts may even be able to handle vinyl installation on their own. Installing carpet yourself, however, really is very challenging so we’d always advise against it!
The general guideline is to choose vinyl for affordability and easy cleaning, and carpet for comfort and indulgence.
It's likely by now you have a good idea whether vinyl or carpet will be the best choice for you, but if you're still unsure, book a free home visit today to speak to one of our Floorologists. You can also visit your local Tapi store to view our inspiring range of flooring if you're ready to buy your new carpet or laminate.