Carpet vs. Hardwood: Which is Better?

Deciding on the type of flooring is a big decision for most people building a house or moving into one. After all, the floor is everywhere and it determines appearance in a big way.

At first look, the floor is what stands out. It also strongly influences how you feel about your home and lends personality to it.

Carpet and hardwood happen to be the two major flooring choices out there. So how does one go about choosing?

Knowing a few facts about the differences between is a good place to start.

Carpet

  • Wall to Wall CarpetingCarpeted flooring is considered the more conventional option. It lends a sense of warmth and comfort to the home, and feels soft to walk around on. A wide range of choices and variations in color and design can suit any need.
  • Carpeting is quieter to walk around on and muffles sound from being transmitted to the neighbors, especially the ones downstairs.
  • It makes your home warmer and cozier in the winter compared to hardwood.
  • Carpeting is cheaper, at around half the cost of hardwood flooring. However, it does need replacement every few year, so the cost in the long term is comparable.
  • Carpeted flooring needs vacuum cleaners for effective cleaning. Weekly cleaning helps keep a clean carpeted floor and prevents sources of allergies from building up. Steam cleaning or a professional cleaning service may be needed depending on how dirty your floor tends to get.
  • Carpets used for flooring are synthetic, and are dependent on petroleum-based sources.

Hardwood

  • Hardwood FloorHardwood flooring is considered new-age and more stylish than carpeting. It has fewer options in terms of color and design, but newer looks are constantly being developed.
  • It creates a sense of large space and a clean, almost stark look. Rugs can be used to create a carpet-like feel where needed.
  • Hardwood is less insulating than carpeting and heating during winters may be more expensive, especially if the floorboards are not sealed well.
  • It is noisier than carpeting, with creaks and footfalls from foot traffic. Because it is not elastic, it can be hard on knees and other joints.
  • Hardwood flooring needs more regular cleaning than carpeting, but vacuuming is not as necessary. Cleaning spills is easier and it will not stain.
  • It is longer lasting and can last decades with proper care. Damage can be repaired and restored without having to replace the flooring. This is not usually the case with carpets.
  • Hardwood is more ecologically sustainable, and can be reclaimed and reused.

Here are a few criteria that may help you choose between carpet or hardwood:

  • Amount of dirt the floor is exposed to on a daily basis. If it is hard for you to control the dirt coming in, you will need to clean more regularly anyway, and carpeting will make life a bit harder. If you have lots of liquid spillage, you will be better off with hardwood.
  • If you have harsh winters or heating requirements, carpeting would be a better choice.
  • If you are a strong believer in environmental sustainability, wood is the way to go, currently.
  • If you are not in it for the long term and cost is a concern, carpeting is easier on the pocket.

If you’re really unable to make a choice, just keep in mind that you can always have carpeting and hardwood in different parts of your home!


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