Trying to decide between carpeting and hardwood floors? Both types of flooring have distinct benefits and hindrances. While different living and working environments certainly call for different materials, some features of carpeting and hardwoods are consistent across their application. We dive into the advantages and disadvantages of both options to help you make an informed decision on what will be best for your home.
Quiet and Comfortable
One of carpeting’s essential attributes is it’s soft, insulating nature. It naturally absorbs sound. It also maintains heat, which can be quite essential in colder environments. It is also comfortable for people regularly on their feet for extended periods, and it proves beneficial in the case of slips, trips and dropped items.
The Good Old 70’s Shag
The problem with carpeting is that it will inevitably go out of style, so you may be forced to replace it several times as trends go in and out, and the look and feel of a living environment changes. This in turn costs money over time that you may not expect up-front.
New Carpet Smell = Chemical Nightmare
New carpeting can be a health hazard. Modern manufacturing uses synthetic materials, which can be hazardous. That smell of new carpets you smell in a carpet store, is actually the smell of harmful chemicals off-gassing into the atmosphere, emitting VOC’s or Volatile Organic Compounds. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects according to the EPA. New carpets will leak for years, and new carpet installation also often uses chemicals which emit fumes. These too, may not be healthy, and may cause sinus or breathing problems for people exposed to them for extensive periods of time. Natural, more eco-friendly carpets do exist, but they drive costs up significantly.
Modern technology has also made it possible to instill some permanence in carpeting, in the form of anti-fade color fastness, near-perfect stain protection, and even fireproofing, but again this requires more chemicals to be added to the product.
On the other end of the spectrum, carpet imminently deteriorates, and the more traffic it sees, the worse the effect. Many carpets can look ragged in as little as five years.
Also, most carpets have loops that can be pulled loose, and just like a sweater, once a carpet begins unraveling it quickly gets worse, rather than better. It is very difficult to repair carpet. Replacing it completely is often necessary.
Extensive Cleaning, Minimal Results
Carpets require regular intensive cleaning – daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, with extensive, expensive aids, chemicals and equipment. The bad news is that they tend to be a one-way street. Given enough time and traffic, they will always matt and become increasingly difficult to care for.
Even with regular care, particles of all sorts – dirt, dust, grime, grit and the like – sift and sink through the weave and pad and settle near the floor. Dampness from accidents, traffic and even carpet shampooing can actually increase the dampness, rot and growth of mildew and more. Anyone who has ever removed old carpeting can share countless related horror stories.
For individuals who suffer from allergies, carpets are a living nightmare. They’re a constant source of irritating dander, dust, fluff, fur, mildew, mold and pollen. Dust mites, especially, love carpet.
Safe and Clean
As mentioned above, hardwood doesn’t hide harmful particles, making for a healthier, safer living environment, especially for allergy sufferers.
Generally, hardwood floors cost more than carpeted floors, but they also require less maintenance, last longer and can be patched or repaired instead of having to be completely replaced.
Especially in older homes, hardwood floors can be draftier and colder. But a well-selected area rug typically remedies this problem.
Comparatively, hardwood floors require minimal maintenance – in terms of both effort and equipment. Consider, simply, the difference in price between a mop and vacuum. Hardwood floors are also much more resistant to spills and stains.
Hardwood floors do get scraped, scratched, scuffed, dented and damaged – especially in high traffic areas. However, wood flooring can most often simply be sanded, smoothed and refinished. It is rarely necessary to replace a wood floor.
Since wood is a naturally occurring resource, hardwood flooring is actually the most sustainable flooring resource. In fact, for every tree that is harvested, an average of 2 or more trees are planted in its place! In fact, the volume of trees has more than doubled since 1950!
Unsurpassed Beauty and Value
Perhaps the number one reason to consider a hardwood floor is for aesthetic reasons.
Hardwood is one of the oldest flooring materials there is, and it never goes out of style. Because of the large variety of trees and wood types, a world of colors, consistencies, designs, grains and patterns are available.
Whereas many new homeowners will remove carpeting upon purchasing a house, viewing it as an additional expense, hardwood floors definitely increase the value of a house.
So, while hardwood floors may cost more initially, with proper maintenance, they can be a sound investment that pay off for a lifetime.
At Mansion Hill Custom Floors, we can help answer any questions you have about the differences between carpeting and hardwood floors. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.