Okay, this article is going to be biased, no question. Ever since I moved into my first home and the washer hose backed up, flooding a third of our brand new carpet, I've been a big fan of hardwood floors. Of course I've never had a house with hardwood, but that will be resolved with my next home. Trust me on this.
If you are trying to determine which option is better for you, you need to consider comfort, price, and sustainability. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Carpets are generally more comfortable underfoot, and may be preferable in situations where people have to stand for extended periods. Carpet is also a cushion in the event of slips and falls, as well as providing a measure of insulation with regard to noise and temperature. Carpet may also last ten years or more.
On the other hand, carpet can be easily damaged or soiled, with a more involved and expensive cleanup process. Some cleaning procedures may require that the carpet actually be taken up, a time consuming and involved process. Over time, carpet may also become matted, and more difficult to clean thoroughly.
If you are considering hardwood, wood only enhances the beauty of a room. When it comes to maintenance, damaged wood can be sanded and refinished rather than replaced. Also, wood does not collect as much dust and allergens as carpet. Hardwood floors are usually easy to clean and maintain their color even over long periods of time. They are difficult to stain and dirt is easily cleaned off.
Hardwood floors also have attractive natural patterns in the wood, something that is virtually impossible to replicate with carpet designs.
However, wood can also expand during times of high humidity, in some cases warping or buckling. They can also fade, splinter, dent, or break, and can be severely damaged by leaks from water heaters, bathrooms, or washers. Also, they do not absorb sound at all and can make for a noisier house.
Hardwood floors are also more expensive than carpeting, because they are all natural materials as opposed to synthetic. It takes longer to install hardwood in a home, as it must be carefully measured, cut, and laid in strips. In addition, the wood will lose its shine over time, creating a dull look, and may be slippery to walk on when it gets wet.
For me, all the advantages fall in favor of hardwood flooring, but in the end, it all comes down to personal taste. What works best for you, your home, and your family are all that matter.
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