Debating the Merits of Hardwood Flooring vs Carpeting

The single most significant interior design element in the home without a doubt is the choice of floor covering. The blanket proposal for the vast majority of properties looking for low maintenance is carpeting especially where rentals are concerned. While carpet is cheaper and faster to install, the popularity of hardwood flooring has brought the ratio of one over the other to nearly 50/50. With regard to both choices, here are some home maintenance tips to help in the decision making process when it comes to carpet vs. hardwood flooring.

Hardwood and carpet
Image: flickr.com/photos/timber_floors

Personal Preference is Based on a Wide Range of Criteria

Despite hardwood floors being the standard for hundreds of years, it has been the advent of synthetic materials allowing for the padding and fiber choices to satisfy countless design schemes. The entrance of carpet as a floor covering provided a warmer alternative to the cold, bare wooden floors.

For all those who would argue that carpet is harder to clean, holds more particulates and presents the potential to aggravate allergy sufferers, there are just as many who would reason this is not an issue with more regular cleaning using today’s improved vacuum cleaners. Hard vs. soft plays in the debate over the children’s rooms. Depending upon the climate, the debate could come down to whether occupants would suffer more from the cold wood on bare feet or the soft field of cushioned warmth of carpeting. These decisions tend to be very personal.

Pros of Hardwood Floors

Starting with the traditional choice, hardwood presents a stunning appearance across all floors that comports to any design style. The nature of wood makes working with it extremely adaptable. Coming out of the Arts & Crafts movement, craftsmen are able to fashion any design contemplating matching elements in multi-levels, steps, railings or trim, for example. There are endless options in DIY pre-cut materials as well.

Other positive reasons to choose hard wood floors are:

  • Wood has a renewable quality whether refurbishing or refinishing as changing design schemes call for a different stain or finish
  • Easy to see the dirt and easy to clean with a vacuum and mop or polishing mop
  • Advocates of hard wood claim it is hypoallergenic by nature as it cannot trap contaminants or particulates
  • Extensive selection of wood varieties and colors
  • Add an area rug where couches or other seating is positioned to add visual appeal, provide the attributes of a rug and cut down on some of the debris that collects on bare floors
  • Shoppers can choose materials responsibly from sustainable forests
  • With proper care, hard wood lasts a lifetime and beyond.

Cons of Hardwood Flooring

  • Hard wood floors are loud compared to carpet
  • Dirt is visible and needs to be cleaned more often
  • Installation takes longer than carpeting
  • Cost is not exactly cheap but the results are worth it, ranging anywhere from $9 to $30 per square foot

Pros of Carpeting

There is a universal appeal to the comfort carpet conveys. Everyone from kids to moms and dads to the family pet often cannot resist rolling around on a comfortably carpeted floor.

Other reasons to choose carpet are:

  • Fast, cheap and easy to install
  • Endless options of colors, fibers, and varieties of patterns and designs
  • Stain resistant polymers available
  • Quiet
  • Green label products help reduce VOCs normally coming off the carpet padding and adhesives used
  • Recycling makes carpet a renewable material
  • Hides the dirt requiring less frequent cleaning, however, it also makes it easy to put off the necessary cleaning
  • Proper care and maintenance extends the life of carpeting beyond the recommended lifespan
  • Good quality materials can last as many as 15 years

Cons of Carpeting

  • Spills are absorbed and remain within the underlayment
  • Some people claim carpet aggravates allergies and asthma
  • Needs to be professionally cleaned at least once a year
  • Fibers get matted down especially in high-traffic zones

Both options offer powerful reasons to support the choice of either carpet or hardwood floors. It is clear to see the personal decisions, design themes and the general household consensus may contribute to making the decision.

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