Flooring in Malta, carpeting or laminate?
So you bought a house or maybe just looking to do a renovation. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing what type of flooring you will be installing. This article is specifically written with Maltese homes in mind, pros and cons take Malta’s weather into consideration as well as the wide variety of carpeted and laminate floors.
There are of course multiple types of carpet flooring at a variety of different price points. The first choice is of course indoor or outdoor carpeting, since outdoor carpeting is not common in Malta we will focus on indoor carpeting.
Generally speaking when it comes to indoor carpeting it will be made using one of four materials (or a combination), nylon, olefin, acrylic or wool. Other considerations will be the density, stain resistance, softness and of course colour. Generally there are three types of styles with multiple sub styles, these would be cut pile, loop pile and hybrid (cut & loop). The pile is the collection of fibers (similar to a thread).
Loop pile featured furthest left is generally much more stain resistant and can handle high traffic areas like living rooms and even kitchens; it is however hard.
Cut pile on the other hand which is featured in the middle in the image above, is softer but much more prone to stains and can’t handle as much wear and tear. It is also harder to clean.
Hybrid pile featured on the right is a combination of the both, it balances comfort with resilience as well as providing a different aesthetic.
So once you have the right material and the right type of pile cut or loop you will generally select pile length and the type of backing; colour and design will of course depend mostly on your aesthetic preferences.
Pros of Carpet Flooring
Appearance if you have a particular aesthetic in mind carpet provides a wide variety of options that are unique when compared to other flooring options.
Insulation carpet flooring offers great insulation and is amazing for those colder winter nights, however short Maltese winters are.
Feel & Comfort this is especially the case with softer carpets which are great for bedrooms.
Acoustics let’s just say that if you are a light sleeper carpeting may help silence those middle of the night stomps as your significant other attempts to sneak back into bed.
High impact resistance unlike ceramics, wood, laminate and stone floors carpet flooring is less likely to be damaged by a heavy object falling on to it.
Cons of Carpet Flooring
Maintenance of carpet flooring can be quite intensive especially with long cut pile carpeting (plush & saxony).
Low stain resistance compared to other flooring, this can be mitigated by using low, dense loop pile nylon, stain treated carpeting however a lot of the benefits of carpeting are then lost.
Low Moisture Resistance this can also be an issue as you may not notice certain spills as you would on a solid floor.
Health especially detrimental to those with asthma or dust mite allergies due to dust particles being trapped inside carpeting.
Heat retention whilst carpets are great on a cold winter’s day, the same cannot be said of summer days.
Odor retention unlike other flooring types carpet floors are more likely to retain odors from spills and general use over time then less porous flooring.
There are a few types of laminates available; LPL – low pressure laminates and HPL – high pressure laminates are the most common and generally the best for flooring is HPL. The materials that make up the laminate composition do offer some differentiation however generally speaking laminates are made up of these layers:
Core Layer – Fibre board made of wood fibres and malamine resin
Design layer – Decorative print paper
Wear Layer – Clear melamine
Backing – Solid Melamine
Pros of Laminate Flooring
Easy to install craftsman or DIY-er laminate flooring is relatively easy to install especially with systems like Uni-Click
Stain resistant unlike carpeting laminate flooring is very easy to keep clean and stain free.
Visually appealing laminates come in a multitude of styles to suit nearly anyone’s tastes from rustic to ultra modern, nearly all types of natural wood and an extensive variety of colours.
Easy to repair by replacing any damaged boards, we do recommend keeping a small excess of boards just in case but generally replacement boards are easy to acquire and install.
Durable and long lasting due to the protective layer and the fact that it is designed specifically for flooring, laminate flooring is able to withstand heavy use; especially when compared to carpeting or softer woods and certain stone flooring.
Great value for money in terms of cost versus the number of years you will get out of your laminate flooring the cost of ownership is significantly low.
Low maintenance and easy to clean. Generally speaking laminate flooring requires no maintenance unlike carpeting which benefits from scotch guarding, professional cleaning and frequently requires vacuuming laminate flooring is extremely low maintenance.
Cons of Laminate Flooring
Hard Surface compared to carpet or softer woods laminates are hard surfaces this can be considered a positive if you like a sturdy feeling beneath your feet but carpeted is obviously more comfortable for lounging on.
Not fully bio-degradable whilst it is partly bio-degradable the protective coat and some other parts do not make this the best choice for the eco-warrior.
Not completely moisture resistant whilst it is more moisture resistant then carpeting it is not as moisture resistant as ceramic tiling.
Acoustics whilst a good underlining can help reduce sounds, it is a hard surface and therefore noisy when compared to carpeting.
Can’t be refinished unlike certain stone or hardwood flooring laminates cannot be refinished and will need to be replaced once they have endured considerable wear and tear. (This may be up to 25 years in some cases).
Resale value depending on how many years you have had your laminate flooring can reduce the perceived value when compared to solid wood or stone flooring like marble.
Conclusion, carpet flooring or laminate flooring?
Both carpet flooring and laminate flooring provide a wide variety of aesthetic options, carpet also provides a considerable variety of texture options which make it hard to directly compare to laminates.
Ultimately the major differences are in level of upkeep required, laminate flooring is much easier to keep clean on a day to day basis. A special consideration should be made if your home has untreated limestone as the combination of dust and carpeting would make it especially hard to maintain the carpeting in a clean state.
A household with young children or pets would probably be best off using laminate flooring especially in the main living areas, possibly carpeting would be a good fit for the master bedroom if food, drink and pets rarely enter the room.
Considering Malta’s climate carpeting is probably not the best choice especially in larger homes with high ceilings that would require a considerable expense to keep air conditioning running, in smaller apartments with good wall insulation the effects may be easier to counteract.
If you or someone in your household suffers from asthma you should probably stray away from carpeting.
Ultimately the choice is yours, we hope this article has helped you in your hunt for the perfect flooring option for you.