As construction professionals, we’re often asked which type of flooring is best for the home or office. In these conversations, two flooring types have a tendency to come up with startling regularity: hardwood or carpet. Both of these materials make for excellent flooring; one is more lush and homey and the other has a more natural feel to it that is somewhat ageless. Whichever you pick, you’ll be happy with the results, but for the sake of comparison, let’s take a look at each.
The Differences Between the Flooring Types
Hardwood flooring provides a more solid and natural feel to your home or office. Having the soft browns of real hardwood can also make a home or office seem more relaxing and earthy. Hardwood is also very resistant to damage because of its solid nature and can very effectively resist staining. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons:
• Hardwood is one of the most stain-resistant materials.
• Cleaning hardwood only takes a damp cloth and a cleaner.
• Knicks and gouges can be buffed or sanded away.
• Hardwood flooring feels more solid underfoot.
• Hardwood requires less deep-cleaning sessions than other materials.
• Some types of footwear can really add a lot of scratches to the surface of hardwood.
• Things like rugs can gradually damage the finish on a hardwood floor.
• Hardwood floors are susceptible to damage from water, salt, and any other weather-related material.
Carpet flooring is lush and beautiful. You can typically determine how lush your carpet will be; this is a great way to vary up the feel of each of the rooms in your home or place of business. Carpet will require a bit more maintenance to keep looking nice, but there are many protected carpet options that will make this type of flooring easy to upkeep.
• Carpet is very durable and can resist damage from footwear.
• This material is a great insulator for when it gets cold.
• With carpets, you have a plethora of colors and styles to choose from.
• Carpets are safer for children that are just learning to walk. This material is also excellent for those that need extra cushioning in case of a fall, like the elderly.
• For the best aesthetics, you’ll need to deep clean at least every six months.
• Carpets can really be easily stained.
• Foreign materials like dander and pollen tend to stay inside the nap of carpets for a long time. This means that hardwood is more hypoallergenic than carpet.
Which Manages Stains and Damage Better?
Both of these materials are fairly hardy, but which manages stains with more efficiency? Let’s take a look:
• Hardwood: Hardwood is very stain resistant, but has a tendency to be vulnerable to scuffing and gouging. Fortunately, if you hand-scrape hardwood flooring, you can remove much of the physical damage that occurs over time.
• Carpet: Carpet, on the other hand, has a tendency to pick up stains fairly easily but will resist physical damage. Muddy shoes, spilled drinks, and water damage can really mess up the aesthetic of a carpet. Fortunately, deep cleaning will counter most, if not all, of this damage.
Winner: For the most part, hardwood flooring is a bit better when it comes to damage prevention. You’ll be able to simply wipe away liquids and scrape and buff nicks away with a little elbow grease.
Keeping both flooring types looking tip-top will require some concerted effort. That being said, if you follow the right practices, both can look beautiful for decades:
• Hardwood: Hardwood flooring should be swept every day and mopped at least three times a week. You can also treat the floors with a dusting agent in order to remove dust particles from the deeper surfaces of the wood. Insofar as deep cleaning, this material should be deep cleaned at least once a year.
• Carpet: Carpet takes a bit more maintenance than hardwood. You’ll need to vacuum daily in order to keep it looking its best. Fortunately, this can be made significantly easier by using robot options like the Roomba. It’s imperative that any spills be managed immediately; the nap of your carpet is warm and adding moisture and sugars makes it a great place for bacteria to grow, so it’s imperative that you wash and dry your carpet as fast as possible.
Winner: Once again, hardwood comes out ahead. Carpet also needs to be deep cleaned twice as often as hardwood in order to maintain its best aesthetic.
• Hardwood: Hardwood can be a bit expensive; you can expect to spend between $9 and $30 per square foot of this material. While you may save money on maintenance over time, the upfront cost can be a bit prohibitive.
• Carpet: Carpet, on the other hand, only costs about $3 to $5 per square foot, though this carpeting may need to be replaced when it becomes too worn.
Winner: For the upfront cost, carpet wins out this time. Typically, even replacing carpeting may actually be cheaper than the initial purchase of hardwood because of the high cost of reclaimed wood.
• Hardwood: Hardwood is great for cleanability and aesthetic and it also has a great feel to it. While wood can crack and deform over time, it performs well in most households and businesses.
• Carpet: Carpet is also a great performer, but it has the added benefit of providing additional insulation, which can save you cash, and it also has sound-blocking features. This is perfect if you’re a musician that doesn’t want to disturb the neighbors.
Winner: Carpet does a great job in adding some extra layers of performance that hardwood simply can’t match. It’s also very soft to walk around on barefoot.
How to Prevent Damage on Both
The number one suggestion that we provide to our clients for preventing damage on both of these flooring types is simple: purchase a welcome mat. These things are ingenious and will reduce the amount of outside material that you bring in that could damage your flooring.
Wrapping it Up
With both of these flooring types, we know you’ll have a great experience. Hardwood and carpeting are both amazing when it comes to aesthetics, performance, and feel, so take the time to read our guide and decide which one works best for your specific needs.
Jessica Kane is a writer for GoHardwood, a premier flooring company that sells first-rate, quality hardwood flooring products for less.