Carpet Versus Hardwood Flooring
By Steve Gillman
Many people choose to go with carpet instead of hardwood flooring
in part because of the perceived cost difference. Though, in
general, installing a wood floor will cost more than installing
carpet, it does depend on the which type of carpeting or wood
you choose. A wood laminate floor may cost less than an
expensive carpet, for example.
The other thing to consider when comparing carpet to hardwood
is the true cost over time. A decent wood floor can last a lifetime,
and although carpet can last up to fifteen years if cared for
properly, a ten-year life is more typical. Also, since hardwood
or wood laminate is the preference of more and more home buyers,
you might increase the value of your home by choosing one of
Apart from financial considerations though, there are distinct
advantages and disadvantages to both carpeting and wood for floors.
Let's first take a look at why you might want to choose to install
* Warmth; it is nice to have something warm to walk on in
northern climates. Carpet even provides a layer of insulation
for the home if it is on a slab or unheated crawl space. This
can reduce heating bills somewhat.
* Safety; it is less dangerous to fall on a carpeted surface
versus hardwood floors. This may not matter for most of us, but
if there are small children or frail elderly residents in the
home, it can make a difference.
* Noise control; Carpet is just plain quieter when you are
walking on it. This may or may not matter where you live (it
makes more of a difference if you are in a condo with people
living under you). You can place area rugs around the home strategically
to partially alleviate this problem.
What about hardwood? Here are some of the advantages...
* Health; although there is some evidence that carpet traps
allergens which would otherwise be in the air, in general hardwood
is better for allergy sufferers if it is kept clean. Carpet also
holds dust mites and other critters which are not killed by vacuuming.
The toxic chemicals used to make carpet also tend to be worse
for allergy sufferers than the sealants used for wood floors.
* Appearance; the right carpeting can look great, but often
only if the furniture and walls complement its color and design.
Hardwood floors to go well with any decor.
* Durability; hardwood or wood laminate floors can last a
lifetime, as mentioned. Unlike carpet, they also can be sanded
and refinished if damaged.
There is no definitive answer for everyone. There are good
reasons for both carpeted and hardwood floors. But if you have
wanted wood and just thought it was too expensive, you might
want to get an actual quote and look at the lifetime cost versus
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