carpet vs sheet vinyl flooring

Carpet vs Sheet Vinyl Flooring

Carpeted floors are a staple in most home decor. But are there other inexpensive options. Well, sheet vinyl is one.

These two floors are night and day different other than price, but both perform highly in a few categories.

Let’s check out how both floors perform in 7 categories important to homeowners:

Cost

Putting it bluntly, sheet vinyl is cheap. It’s not uncommon to be purchased for under $1. If pinching pennies is priority #1, sheet vinyl is likely your choice.

Carpet can also be inexpensive, especially compared to many hard flooring options. But there are also cases where it’s not cheap. “You get what you pay for” holds true. But since we’re comparing with sheet vinyl, we’ll go with lower end prices on carpet which can be $1-$3 per square feet (this is apartment grade that won’t last long).

Both floors aren’t the easiest to install. Carpet isn’t a DIY job unless it’s a smaller room. Sheet vinyl can be, but it’s more difficult than you might think, since it comes in a sheet you have to precisely cut around objects. But even if you hire an installer, it will probably be less with sheet vinyl.

The winner? Sheet Vinyl.

Durability

Durability is probably the most important part of choosing quality flooring for your home. No other factor matters if the floor does not stand the test of time. Carpet is known to last for 10 to 15 years with normal vacuuming and cleaning. It is possible to permanently stain some carpet if the stain is left untreated but the carpet itself usually endures a long time.

Sheet vinyl floors are stain and water resistant, making it so they do not damage easily. It can be installed in rooms where may be a lot of contact with moisture like kitchens and bathrooms. The hardness of sheet vinyl allows it to endure for decades if it swept and mopped regularly. A drawback of sheet vinyl is that furniture can scratch its surface easily and with enough exposure to sunlight, it will fade.

The winner? Tie.

Comfort

Carpets naturally soft, which automatically makes it a comfortable floor. You never have to worry about cold floors in a carpeted room. Carpet has texture versatility which allows you to choose deeper or more plush carpet if you need more softness for the soles of your feet.

In this category, sheet vinyl’s hardness works against it. Compared to other hard floors, sheet vinyl is considered more comfortable. Yet, when it comes to carpeted floors, it is no comparison as vinyl is harder on your feet and may need rugs to mitigate low temperatures.

The winner? Carpet.

Noise Reduction

Noise is another aspect of comfort, as too much noise can destroy your comfort level. Carpet’s soft texture is naturally noise absorbent. Foot steps are dampened and voices don’t rattle through the home. This is a big win for carpet in my opinion.

Sheet vinyl may be a harder surface, but it also prohibits noise pollution as it is not as stiff as hardwood floors. It is pliable, so this pliability allows it to absorb noise to where you barely hear anything moving across sheet vinyl.

The winner? Carpet.

Eco-friendliness

How eco-friendly the materials are in what we use is becoming an important aspect to consider in today’s society. Carpet is not known for its eco-friendliness as it is constructed with over 90% synthetic materials like polyester, nylon or polypropylene that are not as easily bio-degradable. Despite this, there are options to buy more eco-friendly brands of carpeting if that is your choice.

Sheet vinyl flooring is generally not eco-friendly at all. It’s made of synthetic materials, and some of these can off-gas. There are companies that make an effort to remove plastics that may be riskier (think of water bottle recalls in the past), but I’m still not a fan of vinyl for the environment.

Neither are great eco-friendly options, but I give the edge to carpet.

The winner? Carpet.

Which Floor is Better for Allergens?

Carpet can house allergens deep in its surface. Because it is multi-layered with a soft texture, particles like sand, dust, hair and other potential allergens can get stuck in between it that regular vacuuming cannot unearth.

Sheet vinyl does not have a deep enough surface where allergen causing particles can get stuck beneath. Allergens that may attract to sheet vinyl can be swept and mopped away without much hassle. Because of this, it does not harbor allergens. It’s also synthetic, so it’s less prone to mold and other growth with moisture.

The winner? Sheet Vinyl.


Captain’s other side of the story! There’s an argument for carpet and allergens: carpet acts as a giant home filter that traps dust and debris that would be floating in your air with a hard floor. Then the “filter” can be “emptied” by vacuuming. I still think vinyl gets the edge here, but food for thought.

Which Floor Looks Better?

Carpet doesn’t win grand prizes for its looks, but many homes use it for a reason. It gives a warm, “homey” vibe to the room. It also has lots of varieties. The challenge with carpet is keeping it looking good.

Sheet vinyl comes in a variety of “hard floor” looks, but it’s really difficult to pull off an elegant look with a sheet of flooring. It’s clearly trying to immitate flooring that it’s not.

The winner? Carpet

Captain’s parting words!

Carpet and sheet vinyl both can make good budget flooring options.

One is more water resistant and easier to maintain. The other is softer, and in my opinion, looks a little better.

Usually the room can determine which floor you should go with. Vinyl is the better choice for rooms with food or moisture: think kitchens and bathrooms. Carpet is better for playrooms.

Any questions on carpet or sheet vinyl? Let me know in the comments below.

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