Price is a huge factor in any flooring decision. With a finite budget, it’s essential that your chosen flooring solution satisfies the needs of your organization, and does so in a cost-effective way.
With that in mind, we’re looking at how much carpet tiles typically cost; and comparing their total cost of ownership to three other leading flooring solutions: vinyl composite tile (VCT), luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and broadloom carpet.
1) Purchase Price
The first element of the total cost of ownership is purchase price.
As a general rule, carpet tiles are more expensive than luxury vinyl tiles, which are more expensive than vinyl composite tiles. Broadloom has the largest price range, residing at both the lower-end and higher-end of the flooring market.
However, these costs need to be framed in the context of features. Though VCT offers good value, it lacks many of the benefits carpet tiles are able to provide – including reduced ambient noise, improved underfoot comfort, lower risk of slips and falls, and greater color, pattern and design flexibility.
Instead of considering the price of each type of flooring in isolation, it’s important to first consider how and where your flooring will be used – and look for a flooring type that can accommodate your needs.
2) Cleaning and Maintenance Costs
The cleaning and maintenance costs of carpet (both broadloom and tile) are relatively low. Regular vacuuming and occasional detergent-free deep cleaning offer an affordable and effective way to prolong the life of your carpet. When carpet becomes worn or stained, carpet tiles make it easy to remove and replace individually affected tiles.
Cleaning hard surfaces like VCT and LVT is generally more labor-intensive than carpet, requiring mopping instead of vacuuming to remove dirt and debris. In an 8-hour shift, this makes it possible to clean a 21% larger carpeted area than a comparable hard surface – translating into a 21% increase in labor costs for VCT and LVT.
Vinyl composite tile needs regular waxing to maintain its appearance, requiring wax to be stripped, reapplied and polished on a frequent basis. Luxury vinyl tile has improved upon VCT, with ‘no wax’ products requiring little in the way of regular waxing. Instead, it’s often possible to maintain LVT’s appearance with a one-time application, several years into its life. As a result, LVT costs less to maintain than VCT – but both hard surface products will typically be more expensive to clean and maintain than carpet tiles and broadloom.
3) Installation Costs
Tiled products have a distinct advantage over broadloom: reduced waste during installation.
When installing long continuous rolls of broadloom, it’s often necessary to trim the edges to fit your space. As a result, broadloom typically generates up to 15% waste during the installation process. In comparison, the modular design of carpet tile means that carpet tile installation will typically generate only 1-3% waste.
Modular flooring offers other cost savings. Most flooring wear and tear occurs in just 20% of the building, with the remaining 80% of the flooring looking relatively new. Carpet tile makes it possible to replace only these damaged tiles – a process which is more cost effective (and aesthetically pleasing) than either replacing the entire carpet, or patching in replacement sections of broadloom.
It’s also important to avoid assuming that installation methods are the same for all carpet tile products. While some products require stringent install requirements (particularly around sealing and priming), others don’t. Products that don’t require priming or sealing can reduce installation costs by up to $0.30 per ft2- a 15% saving in addition to any time savings resulting from the use of adhesive-free solutions.
4) Expected Lifetime
With regular maintenance, hard surface products can often last for 20-25 years. In comparison, well maintained carpet will typically last 10-12 years.
However, the increased costs of maintaining hard surface products will often make carpet the more cost-effective option. The average maintenance cost of VCT is $140 per 1,000 ft2;significantly more than carpet, with an average maintenance cost of just $58 per 1,000 ft2. This is a saving of $82 per square foot, each and every year. Multiplied out over a 100,000 ft2 space, choosing carpet over VCT could save you $8200 per year.
The total cost of ownership for each of these flooring types can serve as a guide for helping you to choose the right flooring solution for your organization. However, this choice depends on more than cost alone. It’s essential to weigh the needs of your organization – with regards to ambient noise, underfoot comfort, design, safety and so on – and choose a flooring solution that caters to each of them.