Carpet vs Linoleum Flooring

Carpet vs Linoleum Flooring

You want a flooring option that’s classic yet affordable, which is why you’re torn between carpet and linoleum. For decades, carpet and linoleum have been used in houses, apartments, duplexes, mobile homes, and offices. These two types of flooring are popular choices because they look great, and they’re both known for being affordable.

However, what works for one home or business doesn’t always work for the next. There are many factors that come into play when you’re selecting your flooring. For example, do you suffer from allergies, have children or pets, or have high-traffic areas?

It’s easy to take a look at samples online or in your local home improvement store and pick a flooring based on its physical characteristics, but this isn’t always the smartest move. You may love the look of one type of flooring, but it may not be durable enough to withstand the activity in your home. One type of flooring might look fantastic on the store shelf, but do you have the time to properly maintain it?

Before you pull out your debit card or checkbook to purchase new flooring, it’s important to know what to expect before you buy. We’ve taken six categories and put carpet and linoleum head-to-head to help you make the wisest purchasing decision.

In this guide, we’ll explore:

Side-by-Side Comparison

 CarpetLinoleum
DurabilityExtremely durable. May stain or show wear over time. Extremely durable. May be prone to rips, tears, and denting.
Water-ResistantNoYes
CleaningDaily cleaning with a broom, carpet sweeper, or vacuum. Deeper cleaning can be done using carpet cleaning products or a steam cleaner. Daily cleaning with broom, dust mop, or vacuum. Can be wet mopped with a mild cleaning product.
Good For Allergy Sufferers? Dander, pet hair, and allergens can get trapped in carpetsYes
InstallationFairly easy to install but requires special toolsTile or sheet adhered with adhesive
Pet-FriendlyYes but nails should be trimmed to prevent snags on loop carpetingYes but nails should be kept trimmed to prevent tears
Colors & StylesMultiple textures, fibers, and colors availableMultiple colors and patterns available
PriceFrom $1 to $11 per square foot$2.50 to $3.50 per square foot
LifespanUp to 25 yearsUp to 40 years
Installation CostsBetween $1 and $3 per square foot$3.50 to $4.50 per square foot
Flooring GuideCarpet Flooring GuideLinoleum Flooring Guide

Durability

Installing new flooring doesn’t come cheap. Even if you’re just replacing the flooring in one room, you’ll likely still pay hundreds of dollars – not to mention the time it takes to have the flooring installed. Why, then, would you waste time and money to install a flooring that’s not going to last?

A floor may look great, but how will it stand up to the test of time? Between carpet and linoleum, which is the more durable flooring type?

The durability of carpet varies based on the type that you purchase. The most durable type of carpeting is nylon, has a tight twist, and is extremely dense.

Wool is also another great carpet choice because it is resistant to stains and is more natural than man-made fibers. However, it is also more expensive.

There are also different textures to choose from when selecting carpet as your new flooring. Berber carpet and loop carpet are both good for high-traffic areas, including children’s rooms and family rooms. Cut carpet is plusher, but it may not be as suitable for higher traffic areas.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may be tempted to purchase the least expensive type of carpet, like the carpeting found in apartment buildings. However, be aware that this flooring stains easily, shows wear more quickly, and will need to be replaced sooner than a more expensive, higher quality flooring.

If a spill occurs or mud is tracked onto carpet, it can be cleaned using a carpet cleaning product or carpet steam cleaner. Some carpets may even be treated with products that make them more resistant to staining.

One of the biggest drawbacks of carpet is that it can’t get wet. While it’s okay to purchase or rent a steam cleaner designed for use on rugs and carpets, spills will always need to be cleaned up promptly to prevent staining and damage. Carpet and the padding underneath can be prone to mold or mildew growth when exposed to excess water.

When you think of linoleum, do you think of the old, cheap, sticky flooring from the 1970s? If you do, there’s great news: modern linoleum is better than ever. This flooring is extremely durable, and it looks great, too.

With linoleum, you don’t have to worry about stains and wear like you do with carpet. However, that doesn’t mean that linoleum can’t be damaged.

Linoleum can be ripped or torn when a sharp object is dropped or when furniture or other heavy objects are dragged across the flooring. It can also dent under the weight of heavy furniture or appliances.

Linoleum is resistant to water, so you don’t have to worry about stains, mold, or mildew. However, you will need to ensure that all linoleum is installed properly and adhered to the floor. If water seeps underneath, mold or mildew may be able to grow, or the floor may curl at the edges.

Both carpet and linoleum are extremely durable, and each have their own sets of drawbacks as well. However, because linoleum will not stain, is resistant to water, and will not typically show signs of wear like carpet, it is the more superior flooring option.

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Pet-Friendly

We all love our furry four-legged friends, but sometimes, they can be destructive, even when they don’t mean to be. Sometimes, even just walking across a floor can lead to scratches or other damage. If you’re a pet-friendly home, is carpet or linoleum the best choice for you?

Pets can live in a home with carpet, but you need to take a few precautions. Some carpeting has stain- and odor-guard products applied before you purchase, which makes it more resistant to pet messes. You also need to avoid loop carpets, which pet claws can snag.

One big problem that comes with pets and carpet is that carpet traps dander. While you can control this with a vacuum designed to pick up pet hair and dander, this may still prove to be a problem for allergy sufferers.

Linoleum flooring is a good choice for pet owners. It is more resistant to scratching than other types of flooring, although sharp claws can cause rips or gouges in the material. This is why you should always trim pets’ nails.

Unlike carpet, linoleum does not trap dander and is very easy to clean, making it a better choice for those who have allergies.

For these reasons, linoleum is the better choice for homeowners who need pet-friendly floors.

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Lifespan

We’ve established that although each type of flooring has its flaws, carpet and linoleum are pretty durable. When deciding between the two, though, which has the longer lifespan? How long will each type of flooring last under normal living conditions?

High-quality carpet can last between 15 to 25 years in most households. If you opt for an inexpensive carpeting, it may only last for 5 years. Sometimes, it may even last for just a year.

Linoleum has a lifespan of 20 to 40 years or more with proper care.  Even though it is extremely affordable, it is one of the most durable flooring types on the market. For this reason, it is superior to carpet in this category.

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Installation

Many homeowners choose to tackle new flooring installation themselves. Not only do they receive a sense of accomplishment by tackling this DIY project, but they save money by not having to hire a professional installer.

Whether you like to do your own projects or you just want to save hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of dollars, you may opt to install your own flooring. Between carpet and linoleum, which is the easiest to install yourself?

Installing carpet isn’t too difficult and most homeowners can do the job with the right tools and a list of instructions or a how-to video.

Steps to install carpet include cleaning and prepping the subfloor, installing tackless strips, installing a carpet pad, trimming the carpet, gluing the seams, stretching, and binding the carpet. To install carpet, you’ll need several tools such as a wall trimmer, carpet stretcher, and knee kicker. Instead of purchasing these tools, a more cost-efficient option is to rent them from your local home improvement store.

There are two different types of linoleum you can install. Linoleum tile is the easiest to install. All you have to do is align the tiles, use adhesive to stick them to the subfloor, and trim to fit as you go using a utility knife.

The other type is sheet linoleum. It is also not too difficult to install. After prepping and cleaning the subfloor, you’ll unroll the linoleum, using adhesive to stick it to the subfloor. Trim as you go with a utility knife.

Even though it’s possible to install both types of flooring yourself, linoleum is the option that’s easiest to install.

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Care & Cleaning

Most people don’t want to invest in a flooring that’s difficult to clean. If you’re one of these people and you want an easy-to-maintain floor, which type should you select: carpet or linoleum?

Carpet is fairly easy to clean on a daily basis. You can clean dirt, dust, debris, and pet dander using a vacuum cleaner. You may also sweep with a broom or use a carpet sweeper for light messes.

If your carpet is really dirty with mud or stains, you’ll have to do more work to achieve a deeper clean. You can purchase products to spray on your floor and clean with a cloth, or you can purchase or rent a carpet steamer to refresh your flooring.

Never saturate your carpet with water or cleaner. Carpets or carpet padding that has too much wetness can be prone to the growth of mold or mildew.

Linoleum is very easy to clean. For daily messes, simply use a broom, dust mop, or vacuum cleaner specifically for bare floor use. It’s important to choose a vacuum designed for use on bare floors, as a traditional carpet vacuum beater bar can dent and damage your linoleum.

If your floor is sticky or very dirty, a broom or dust mop just won’t do the job. Instead, you can use a wet mop with a mild cleaner to clean up messes. If your floor looks dull, a coat of wax made for linoleum flooring can help restore its beauty and shine.

It isn’t too difficult to clean either carpets or linoleum flooring, but linoleum has the edge because it is easy to clean and resistant to water.

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Comfort

You walk on your floors every day, so you want something that’s comfortable. When you’re walking barefoot through your home, which flooring feels better?

Carpet offers the ultimate in comfort and softness, especially carpet with a high pile that is extremely plush. Carpet is one of the most – if not THE most – comfortable flooring. It offers a soft, padded surface for walking or sitting, or when your kids are playing.

Linoleum isn’t the most uncomfortable flooring, but since it is a bare floor, it isn’t as soft and padded as carpet. It’s not as hard as ceramic tile or hardwoods, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the plush softness of carpet.

When it comes to comfort, carpet takes the win. Linoleum isn’t uncomfortable, but it doesn’t compare to the comfort of carpet.

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Final Verdict

You can’t go wrong with the purchase of carpet or linoleum. If you purchase high-quality products, you will be happy with either choice. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

If you want a soft, comfortable flooring option that’s great for bedrooms, family rooms, and living rooms, carpet is a great choice. It’s available in many styles and colors, it’s very durable, and with proper care, it can be pet-friendly.

If you want durable flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain, simple to install, and great for pet owners and allergy sufferers, linoleum is a good choice. Because properly-installed linoleum is resistant to moisture and humidity, it is ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and other areas of your home.

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Nikki Seppala

About Nikki Seppala

Nikki is an experienced writer and editor and has worked in industries that range from home improvement to entrepreneurship. For over 10 years, she's used her unique talent and love of the written word to uncover the stories that people want to read.

1 thought on “Carpet vs Linoleum Flooring”

  1. Avatar
    Colleen Mueller

    Thank you for the information. I learned something about both carpets & linoleum. I have not made a decision on which i will go with but i know what to look for.
    Thanls again.

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