Carpet or wooden floor? This a question many of us ask ourselves when we are moving into to a new home or redecorating our current home.
If you go for carpet, you gain warmth and extra comfort in the living area whereas wooden flooring, on the other hand, is a lot easier to maintain than carpet.
These are just two of many advantages/disadvantages of carpet and wooden flooring, some of which you may have never considered when faced with this dilemma.
Advantages of carpet
#1 – Keeps the room warm
Having carpet reduces the risk of heat loss in a room as the carpet fibres grips onto the air; as a result, the hot air finds it difficult to escape.
The thicker your carpet, the more warm air it will trap and, therefore, acts as a better insulator that leads to a reduction in energy costs.
#2 – Health and safety to children and in general
Safety to your children should be an essential factor to consider. Carpet much is more child-friendly than wooden flooring as it avoids the risk of a child hurting his/herself if they have a fall.
Having carpet makes the floor a lot more comfortable for a baby to sit and play on; also it reduces the risk of slips for both adults and children.
#3 – Soundproofs the living the area
Carpet can minimise the sound of walking by 25-24 decibels, whereas hardwood flooring only reduces it by 1-6 decibels.
Carpet also reduces noise in the living space itself; as the reverberation time is halved compared to an area that has a hardwood surface.
In addition to this, having carpeted floors reduces noise pollution from traffic, etc.
#4 – Lots of choices
When purchasing a carpet, you have the luxury of having a huge variety of colours and materials, making it easier for you to choose the right carpet.
Disadvantages of carpet
#1 – Requires regular cleaning and vacuuming
It is well-known carpet collects a lot of dust particles, germs and pet hairs. Therefore, regular vacuuming and cleaning is required.
You should also deep clean your carpet at least once a year.
This can become costly if using a professional. If you don’t regularly maintain your carpet, it can become almost impossible to clean after an extended period.
#2- Furniture imprints
If you like to change your home layout regularly, you will notice that heavy furniture leaves imprints in your carpet.
This can be a burden although they will eventually go back to normal. The imprints also have a tendency to go hard causing roughness to the carpet.
#3 – Sensitive to Stains
Spillages always happen, and if you happen to spill red wine for example on your carpet, it can become a nightmare to get out.
Although having a carpet is safer for children it does have its disadvantages. For example, babies are prone to spill food and drink as well as vomiting and soiling, creating even more maintenance.
#4 – Shorter shelf life expectancy
Most carpet manufacturers say a carpet should last about ten years. However, I disagree as I believe the carpet is constantly being damaged without you even knowing.
For example, walking on a carpet slowly flattens the surface. Also, if you fail to keep up with regular cleaning, that will also reduce the life expectancy.
#5 – Known to retain odours
There is little you can do to stop odours originally getting into the carpet.
The main cause of this is due to lifestyle choices and everyday life such as smoking tobacco, cooking, spillages, pet smells and the age of the carpet.
Running over the carpet with a Rug Doctor every once in a while, can help to reduce odours.
Advantages of hard flooring
#1 – Easy to maintain.
Having hardwood flooring is very easy to maintain. You don’t need to worry about spills and dust, as just a mere brush and mop every few days will do the trick.
You may need to clean the floor with wood cleaner every now again, so the wood keeps that fresh appearance. With wooden floors, you also don’t need to worry about baby spills, pet hairs and odours.
#2 – Lasts for decades as it can be refinished
A wooden floor has a much better shelf life than carpet, which could see it lasting for decades. By sanding the wood, you can refinish the surface multiple times.
This method makes wooden floors easy to repair, so there is no added expense of having to buy replacements.
#3 – Lots of available finishes
Wooden flooring may not have as much variety as carpet, but it does have its advantages as you can choose different grains, finishes and types of wood such as oak or pine.
The wood used is mostly timber from trees that are not manmade; this gives the wood a natural appearance in your home.
There is also the option of laminate flooring which is engineered from fibre board or melamine resin that is a cheaper alternative.
#4 – Easy to install
The installation of wooden flooring used to be a very difficult process and could leave you out of pocket. Nowadays, fitting wooden flooring is an easy and affordable solution.
#5 – Better indoor air quality
As we know, carpet collects and stores dust/germs which can produce bad air quality if not regularly cleaned.
Wooden flooring, on the other hand, has a much better indoor air quality as maintenance is easier to keep up with, as you can see where the dust, pet hairs and other particles are gathered.
#6 – Increase the value of your home
Installing wood flooring in main living areas can almost double the value of your home as it is seen as a high-end and luxurious product.
This is due to its natural material and unique surface. The amount your home value is increased depends on the type of wooden flooring purchased.
#7 – Versatility
Wooden flooring becomes cold underfoot. Adding a rug can create the warmth and comfort that may be needed for that particular room.
Changing the layout of a room is made easier also; as heavy furniture can be pushed along the floor to a new location. Also, there is no need to worry about furniture imprints.
Disadvantages of hard flooring
#1 – Noise levels
As already briefly discussed, wooden flooring is much noisier that carpet. I personally have wooden flooring, and the increase in noise levels was the first thing I noticed.
General chit chat and walking becomes louder and causes quite a loud echo.
#2- Can scratch easily
If you purchase wooden flooring, you will have to accept that it will scratch and is almost impossible to prevent.
Everyday life can cause scratches such as walking, having a pet and moving furniture. I had wooden flooring installed due to the fact I bought a dog and it would be easily clean.
But within a few months more and more scratches began to appear due to his claws dragging along the surface. However, it must be said that some people like the look of a distressed wooden floor.
#3 – Makes the room cold and the added cost of underfloor heating
As we know, wooden flooring doesn’t insulate your home as well as carpet, causing the living area to become cold.
This can become very uncomfortable underfoot with the floor becoming cold. Having under-floor heating is a solution for this problem, but it can be very expensive to install.
#4 – The hard surface
It may not come as a massive surprise that wooden flooring has a hard surface making it uncomfortable for babies and toddlers to crawl/play on.
It can also be very uncomfortable in some circumstances for the elderly, as the hardness of the floor may cause joint pain.
#5 – Vulnerable to moisture and humidity
With any selection of wooden flooring, you need to watch the humidity of a room.
If humidity levels of a room hit 55% or higher, there is a chance that moisture may seep into the wood and begin to swell, which causes the boards to warp or cup.
Not only do you have to watch for high humidity levels, but also low humidity levels.
If a room is below 35% humidity, this can cause the wood to dry out which, in theory, can weaken the wood and therefore, cause the wood to split along the grain.
To try and prevent this from happening, you can purchase a hygrometer or humidistat that measures humidity levels in a room. These products are available in DIY stores and home centres.
#6- More expensive than carpet
It is true that installing wood flooring is usually more expensive than carpet. Most carpet stores nowadays have cheap starting prices per square foot.
Whereas wooden flooring starts at around £8 and can rise to £28 a square foot depending on the type of wood.
However when buying carpet, you have to consider underlay and maybe the added cost of a carpet fitter, so, therefore wooden floor can turn out to be cheaper in some cases.
Both choices have their flaws, but the disadvantages for wooden flooring are much daintier rather than important.
Carpet on other hand causes much more hassle and in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.
Wooden flooring is most definitely the easier of the two options in regards to cleaning and installing. Also, because of the better air quality, odors are kept at a bare minimum that keeps your home fresh.