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Flooring & Tiles

Carpet & Hardwood Flooring: How They Compare

By on Mar 26, 2014
Carpet & Hardwood Flooring: How They Compare

Carpet is warm on the feet and cheaper to install, but hardwood flooring is durable and easier to clean. Carpet can get dated and hardwood can be loud and cold. Clearly, there are unique advantages and disadvantages for both. Before choosing your next flooring option, whether it be in new construction or remodel, be sure to review all the pros and cons of both carpet and hardwood flooring.

Note: I will not discuss design features as this is an opinionated issue while the rest of the aspects below are based on fact and research.

Installation

Hardwood Flooring Installation

The costs of materials and labor for the installation of hardwood floors will depend substantially on what types of wood are used. Solid planks are harder to install than engineered wood with tongues and grooves, so that could affect overall expenses as well. However, expect to pay roughly $4,840 for 500 square feet of materials, labor and delivery. Given its durability, many homeowners are content with the rather large investment.

Carpet Installation

The price of carpet can fluctuate substantially depending on the quality of the material, so it can be hard to pin down the exact price. Installation is also tricky because many companies include installation in the cost of the carpet. On average, expect to pay $2,969 for 500 square feet of medium-quality carpet and installation labor.

To see more flooring prices, check out our flooring installation cost estimator.

Carpet Advantages

Repair and Maintenance

Hardwood Repair and Maintenance

To repair or refinish your hardwood floor, homeowners can expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $4 per square foot for a flooring professional. The end result is a floor that looks virtually brand new for a fraction of what a new floor would cost. Other types of wood floors offer other options that are more cost efficient.

When it comes to regular maintenance, hardwood flooring undoubtedly requires more of a set schedule for cleaning. Unlike carpeting, homeowners really need to mop, sweep and dust regularly to prevent dirt from piling up. To keep a hardwood floor clean, this type of maintenance needs to be done at least twice a week.

Carpeting Repair and Maintenance

Carpet repair can get expensive if stains and ugly patches start to pile up. Unlike hardwood, these issues need to be addresses as soon as they occur. As I referenced in 4 Ways To Clean Your Carpet, many repair or cleaning jobs can be done yourself, but if you want to increase the livelihood of your clean and glowing carpet, hiring a carpet cleaning professional is highly recommended. Either way, carpet repairs will be less expensive than your average hardwood repair. See all the costs with our carpet repair cost estimator.

Even if you are vacuuming your carpets at least once a week (minimum), your carpet should be professionally cleaned once every year to 18 months. Always read and follow the instructions provided by the carpet manufacturer.

Sound and Touch

Hardwood

Current trends in the market are moving towards harder surfaces. What once was a deterrent due to the cold and tough exterior has turned into a desired option for many homeowners. As long as they are updated and clean, many do not have issues with its harder touch.

However, a noticeable disadvantage to hardwood floor is the sound. When installed improperly or on upper levels, people on the current level or level below can often hear every step. An old installation may also squeak in certain spots.

Hardwood Advantages

Carpet

Perhaps the biggest advantage to carpet is the warm touch on the feet. Not only does carpet provide a huge relief during the cold winter months, but it also gives any room a sense of warmth that so many homeowners crave. Also, given its soft and insulating nature, carpet is much quieter than hardwood.

Durability

Hardwood

Here is where hardwood really beats the competition. While the upfront investment is certainly more, many hardwood owners point to its ability to withstand wear and tear. As I said above, refinishing a hardwood floor can make it look as good as new, for a fraction of the installation price. Unlike carpet, new or refinished hardwood will never look dated. Additionally, hardwood is also better at masking certain imperfections that carpet can’t, further extending its usable life.

Carpet

Many professionals say that with proper maintenance and care, your carpet can last up to 15 years. Nevertheless, some homeowners get tired of the carpet design and replace it before then. This, combined with the hardships of dealing with stains ever so often, make carpeting much less durable than hardwood.

Which flooring option do you prefer? Give us the answer and why in the comments section below.


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