Concrete vs Carpet Flooring

Concrete vs Carpet Flooring

It’s time to update your home or commercial space, and it’s down to one final battle: concrete vs carpet. You’ve narrowed down your selections, eliminated other types of flooring, and it’s time to make your final choice. Concrete and carpet both look great, but which is best for your space?

When you’re choosing new flooring, you want to make sure you invest in the right product. No one wants to spend time and money to install new flooring only to wind up hating the choice just a few short months later. How, then, do you know you’re making the right choice?

Put away your wallet and read on to learn more about the differences between concrete and carpet. We’ll review the benefits, the drawbacks, and everything in between to help you make the right decision when it comes to your new flooring.

In this guide, we’ll explore:

Side-by-Side Comparison

 ConcreteCarpet
DurabilityExtremely durable. May crack over time but can be patched. Can rip, tear, stain, and show wear over time
Water-ResistantYesNo
CleaningDaily cleaning with broom, dust mop, or vacuum. Can be wet mopped with a mild cleaning product.Daily cleaning with carpet sweeper or vacuum. Stain removing products or steam cleaner can be used for deeper cleaning.
Self-InstallationNoPossible, but requires special tools
ComfortHard and coldSoft, plush, and one of the most comfortable flooring types
Pet-FriendlyYesYes but dander and pet hair can get trapped in carpets
Colors/StylesColors and patterns can be customized Many colors and styles available
Installation Costs$2 to $30+ per square foot$1 to $3 per square foot
Lifespan100+ yearsHigher quality carpets may last up to 25 years
CustomizableYesNo

Durability

The flooring on your wish list looks impressive, but how will it look six months from now? The beautiful carpeting samples look great, but will they withstand your kids, pets, and house guests? The polished concrete floor at your friend’s house looks impressive, but is it built to last?

Few materials are more durable than concrete. Concrete is used to build our roads and critical infrastructure, and when you choose concrete as your flooring, you can enjoy the same strength and durability.

Concrete is one of the hardest types of flooring, so it’s extremely durable. Unlike other types of bare flooring, you won’t have to worry about scratches, dents, and dings.

You may, however, have to worry about cracks. Over time, concrete can crack, even with proper care and maintenance. The good news is that materials to patch and repair cracks can be purchased from your local home improvement store, or you can simply hire a contractor to repair the damage without having to replace the entire floor.

Concrete is one of the best types of bare floors because it can get wet. If you get other types of flooring like laminate or solid hardwoods wet, problems such as buckling, warping, and staining may occur. Liquids can be spilled on concrete without worrying about damage.

Carpet can be extremely durable, but it’s important to note that the quality of the carpet you purchase affects durability. A high-quality nylon or wool carpet is more resistant to wear from heavy traffic. A tightly twisted carpet is also more durable.

Even though nylon is a strong fiber, it is one of the least resistant to stains. To prevent staining on your new carpet, make sure that you purchase a carpet that has a stain protectant or plan to apply one after you make your purchase.

In addition to staining and showing wear from heavy traffic, carpet may rip over time. You should never drag furniture across your flooring, and pets’ nails should always be trimmed to prevent snagging and ripping your flooring.

Unlike concrete, carpet is not resistant to water. Spills should be cleaned up immediately to prevent staining or ruining the carpet. Cleaning products and steam cleaners designed for use on carpet can be used, but your floor should never be fully saturated.

In fact, if your carpet is exposed to excessive water, not only will the flooring be ruined, but it can be a health hazard. The carpet and the pad underneath are prone to the growth of mold or mildew, so it’s very important to prevent your carpet from getting too wet.

On a day-to-day basis, carpet is a fairly durable flooring, especially if you invest in a high-quality product. However, the strength of concrete is truly unmatched, which is why concrete is the more durable of the two flooring types.

Back to Top

Lifespan

We’ve determined that both concrete and carpet are very durable, so it only makes sense to consider the lifespan of your new flooring. Lifespan simply means how long you should expect your flooring to last with regular daily use.

As we’ve already discussed, concrete is one of the strongest flooring materials. Because of this, concrete flooring can easily last a whopping 100 years or even longer with regular use. Of course, this is also assuming that the floor is maintained and repaired throughout the years as needed.

While high-quality carpet may have a long lifespan, it still falls far short of concrete. A very high-quality carpet should last between 15 and 25 years on average. A medium-grade carpet may last between 5 to 15 years, while the lowest grade may last just 1 to 5 years.

When compared side-by-side, there’s just no content when it comes to lifespan. Concrete is the clear winner in this category, as it’s one of the only types of flooring that can last over a century.

Back to Top

Comfort

If you spend any amount of time in your home, you want it to be comfortable. You want your couch to be plush and cozy, your mattress to be comfy enough to lull you to sleep each night, and you want your flooring to feel good under your feet. When it comes to comfort, which is the best flooring option between concrete and carpet?

As we’ve already discussed, concrete is one of the hardest, strongest materials. This means that your flooring can last for many years, through everything life has to throw at it. Unfortunately, what makes this flooring so tough and durable is also a drawback.

The hardness of concrete makes it one of the most uncomfortable flooring types. In addition to being so hard, concrete can also get cold. While radiant heating systems are available, you must install them before pouring concrete. Not to mention they can be extremely expensive.

The hardness of concrete flooring can also pose a danger to small children. A hard concrete floor could injure children that are learning to walk or who may be more prone to trip and fall.

On the other hand, carpet is extremely soft and comfortable. A plush, thick carpet is easily one of the most comfortable types of flooring.

Carpet provides a soft surface for walking. Children can also sit on the floor and play comfortably when it is soft, thick carpeting.

When it comes to comfort, you can’t beat carpet. It is the better choice for comfortable flooring when compared to concrete floors.

Back to Top

Cleaning & Maintenance

If you’re like most homeowners, you simply don’t want to waste hours taking care of your floors. If you’re a guy or gal on the go, which flooring is the easiest to clean and maintain?

You don’t need to make much effort to keep a concrete floor clean. On a daily basis, you can use a broom, dust mop, or vacuum cleaner designed for use on bare floors to pick up dirt, dust, and debris.

If your floor is very dirty, concrete is still very easy to clean. Simply mix together warm water and a mild cleanser and use your typical tile mop to clean up sticky, dirty messes. You can also use a steam mop to keep your concrete floors looking their best.

Daily cleaning of your carpet isn’t too difficult. The easiest way to clean your carpet is to use a carpet vacuum cleaner. If you own pets, you may want to consider investing in a vacuum designed for pet owners, which gets deep into the carpet to remove pet hair and dander.

When your carpet has a stain and needs a little more cleaning power, this is when it gets a little tricky. You can use a spray-on carpet stain remover with a soft cloth to blot up smaller stains. If your carpet is extremely dirty, you can use a carpet steam cleaner.

You can rent a carpet steam cleaner, or you can invest a few hundred dollars and purchase your own. These machines are great for removing stains, eliminating odors, and refreshing the look of your carpets.

Even though both flooring types are fairly easy to clean, concrete comes out on top in this round. You don’t need any special equipment or cleaners to keep your concrete floors looking their best.

Back to Top

Installation

When you’re pricing out your flooring, one of the main things to consider is the cost of installation. If you want to save a few bucks, you may even consider installing your flooring yourself. When comparing concrete and carpet, which type of flooring is the cheapest to install, and which – if either – can homeowners install?

The cost of professional installation of concrete flooring varies significantly. If you have an existing concrete floor that’s in good shape and doesn’t require extensive repairs, this will be far less expensive than pouring a new floor.

You may pay anywhere from $2 per square foot to dress up your existing concrete floor to over $30 per square foot to have a new floor poured and have a custom stain and/or design.

When it comes to self-installation, it’s best to leave concrete to the professionals. Steps include prepping the floor, repairing if necessary, pouring if there isn’t an existing floor, or even removing old concrete to pour a new floor. All of these steps take special skills and tools, so it’s best to leave concrete to the professionals.

The installation of carpet has a much smaller price range. However, the price of installation may vary based on the pricing in your local area, as well as factors such as the size and difficulty of the job. On average, though, you should expect to pay a professional around $1 to $3 per square foot to install your carpet.

Self-installation of carpet can also be difficult. You’ll need several special tools, including a knee-kicker and a carpet stretcher. You can purchase these tools or you can rent them from a home improvement store.

However, due to the costs of renting or purchasing tools and all materials, as well as the skill level involved, most homeowners choose to just pay a professional to do the job.

Due to the low cost of installation, carpet is most efficient choice in this category.

Back to Top

Colors & Styles

When selecting your flooring, one of the most important things to many homeowners is whether it will flow with their home. Will the flooring color go well with furnishings, paint colors, and décor? Does the flooring match your own personal style – i.e. sleek and modern, classic, or rustic?

With concrete flooring, one of the best features is that it’s completely customizable. You have your choice of any color, from neutral to bold. You can even create your own custom stain.

Concrete can be stained, stamped, polished, or designed to perfectly complement your home. It is truly one of the most versatile and customizable flooring types in the industry.

If you choose carpet as your new flooring, you’ll have many different colors and styles to choose from. You can choose from a variety of textures, including cut pile, loop, and cut-loop. There are many different fiber types and densities.

You’ll also be able to select a color that best complements your home. Choose from neutral colors like tan or beige, go dark with forest green or navy blue, or choose from bold colors like red, orange, and green.

Even though both types of flooring come in many colors and styles, concrete is extremely customizable. This gives it the edge over carpet in this category.

Back to Top

Final Verdict

Concrete and carpet are both great for use in any home. However, if you’re torn between the two, consider what you’re looking for in your flooring.

If you want a durable, custom floor that’s easy to clean and maintain will easily last a lifetime, you can’t go wrong with concrete. This flooring is great for all rooms, even rooms that are below-grade or have high moisture or humidity.

If you want a floor that’s affordable and is extremely soft and comfortable, consider installing carpet. Carpet is best for dens, living rooms, and bedrooms. Avoid installing carpet in rooms with high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms.

Back to Top

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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *