Carpet vs. Hardwood Flooring

image of a cat lying down on the carpet and hardwood floor

This article is about the showdown between the two most popular choices for flooring surface in homes everywhere. There is no undeniably better choice, just relative advantages and disadvantages. In this article we’ll spell out exactly what those are so you can decide what is best for you.

Carpet: Advantages

Carpet is generally preferred if you are seeking comfort or if you have small children. Its primary benefits are that it is safe and forgiving of impacts. It is also warm and more comfy to lie on than hardwood.

Carpet is also generally much cheaper than hardwood flooring and there are many, many different options and styles to complement your house and your preferences.

Carpeting: Disadvantages

Carpets will attract and retain soils, allergens, and dust. It will stain easily and can accumulate difficult-to-remove moisture and develop mold beneath the surface. Most of these issues can be resolved, however, with a good professional cleaning.

Hardwood: Advantages

Hardwood flooring is supremely easy to clean and it does not trap debris or spills. It arguably looks better than most carpeting options and makes a home look more valuable and attractive. It’s also easy to throw rug carpeting over select areas of hardwood floor to soften it up, so it’s quite versatile.

Hardwood is also ecologically sustainable, as it is based off renewable wood, whereas carpet is derived from petroleum and will never decompose.

Hardwood: Disadvantages

Cheaper installations can become noisy and creaky, especially on installations above the first story; sometimes those percussive cracking and popping sounds can be somewhat startling.
Though resistant to stains, hardwood is not impervious to scratches (however minor scratches are not too difficult to repair).

Bottom Line

Go with Carpet if: you have children, you want to save money, you appreciate creature comforts.

Go with Hardwood if: you have allergies, want a premium look for your floors, want simple clean-up.