Types of flooring - Carpet vs. laminate & hardwood vs. tile - Heather Knox Realty

Dated: January 10 2022

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Types of flooring - Carpet vs. laminate/hardwood vs. tile

 You’re trying to decide on new floors, and you’ve narrowed it down to tile vs. laminate. But you’re stuck because tile and laminate are both awesome types of flooring and each one offers tons of advantages. So now what?

Laminate is cheaper to purchase and install but has less long-term value. Tile comes with a higher initial investment but will last longer and increase your home's value.

Tile vs. Laminate: Quick Comparison

If you’ve been looking into your flooring options, you probably know this already—but tile and laminate are two very flooring different materials. Here’s the quick side-by-side:

What are laminate floors made of?

What is laminate flooring? In its most basic form, laminate flooring is made up of three layers: a rigid base layer (usually made of high-density fiberboard), a photo-realistic image layer, and a hard plasticate wear layer. Thanks to its super-realistic image layer, laminate flooring can mimic just about any type of material—wood, stone, even fabric. 


When it comes to flooring, here are two main types of tiles: man-made tile and natural stone tile. Man-made floor tiles are usually made from ceramic or porcelain. Natural stone tiles are different types of rock—marble, slate, onyx, quartzite, etc. 

And these days, tiles can be made to resemble other flooring materials as well. Wood-look tile, for instance, has become a very popular flooring option recently.


Tile vs. Laminate material prices

When it comes to pricing out tile vs. laminate floors, you’re going to see an even split for the materials themselves. Laminate strips will often run you between $1 and $5 per square foot, while ceramic or porcelain tiles will often cost between $1.50 and $5 per square foot.

Natural stone tiles, on the other hand, can cost much more than that (depending on the product you choose). 

Installation: is it cheaper to do tile or laminate?

While the materials themselves might be close in price, their installation costs are not. We’ll explain why a little further down but suffice to say that laminate generally costs $1–$2 per square foot to install, while tile generally costs between $5–$8 per square foot to install. And remember these are just ballpark figures. The actual price of installation will vary depending on your location, materials, and project. 


Long-term tile vs. laminate resale value

While tile might be more expensive to install, it does have a much higher long-term value. Laminate can’t be refinished, meaning that when it’s worn out, you’ll need to replace it (every 10–25 years or so on average). And it doesn’t add a huge amount of value to your home. 

Tile, on the other hand, can last forever if maintained correctly—and it does add value to your home. 

We know that carpeting gets a bad rep. In fact, when you think of carpeting, you probably picture an old-fashioned ‘70s shag that smells like musty basement. And that’s a shame! Like so many other types of flooring, carpet has come a long way in recent years in terms of durability, hypoallergenic qualities, and stain resistance.

Our humble opinion: carpeting is an awesome choice when used in the right room. Is wall-to-wall carpeting best in an active living room? Maybe not. But it can be a fabulous choice for your bedroom or a cozy child’s room. 

Worried about toddlers on the stairs? Look into a sturdy carpet material with the right padding to soften the stairs and landing. 

Got pets? There’s a carpet for that—polyester. Looking for carpeting for an indoor/outdoor space? Check out olefin. 

The point is—carpet is amazing when used in the right space for your lifestyle.

You can install carpeting in a bunch of ways, both conventional and DIY

Whether you choose peel-and-stick carpet tiles or traditional wall-to-wall (aka broadloom) carpets, you’ve got a ton of installation options—both conventional and DIY. 

If you’re going the DIY route, grab some carpet tiles from Amazon or Home Depot and go to town! Use them to create patterns that are all your own. And if you don’t like it, no big deal—just peel them up and move them around.

When it comes to installing broadloom carpeting, your install methods will depend on the carpet you choose. Material type, density, and padding all determine the best method.

You can find fabulous “green” carpet options

Believe it or not, carpeting manufacturers have come a long way. You can have your carpet and biodegrade it too! 

There are green carpet options out there if you do your research. Look for products made from organic materials like wool, cotton, or bamboo. Some companies even use reclaimed and recycled materials to construct carpet products. 

 Carpet vs. Hardwood costs totally depend on your choices

There are so many options on the market, the carpet vs. hardwood cost debate totally depends on what you choose! 

Carpet cost will run you between $2–$12 per square foot (on average) depending on the brand, style, density, fiber, and padding you choose. And don’t forget to add a few dollars per square foot for wall-to-wall carpet installation. Peel-and-stick carpet tiles, on the other hand, come in at a whopping $1–$4 per square foot. 

Hardwood cost also has a wide range in price depending on the quality of the product, tree species, and installation method you choose. In general, you’re looking at $3–$15 per square foot. 

Either way, contact your local flooring dealer to get a more accurate idea of your carpet vs. hardwood costs.

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Heather Knox

Hello!My name is Heather Knox and I am a Realtor in San Antonio & Hill Country, TX, and also licensed in CA. I am a relocation specialist and can help you or your family/friends with all the extra....

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