Making a choice between hardwood or carpet can be difficult for many homeowners.
In addition to issues such as the home’s desired look, the question of which is easier to maintain can be very important for budget-conscious homes. While there are advocates for both carpet and hardwood floors, understanding what must be done in order to maintain a carpet or hardwood floor should help most homeowners make an informed decision.
Comparing Hardwood and Carpet
In general, hardwood flooring is easier to maintain and clean than carpet. In addition to being less vulnerable to spillage, hardwood floors can last longer than most carpets, thus reducing the owner’s overall expenses. However, carpet can often produce a stylish look to a home that cannot be achieved by using hardwood floors. Carpet is also cheaper to install than a hardwood floor, which can be a factor for some homeowners. Finally, because carpet is quieter, it can be the preferred choice for homes where noise is an issue, such as a home with loud teenagers or second story rooms that need to be muffled in order to keep the first story quiet.
In addition, depending on the home and location, many real estate agents claim that hardwood is likely to contribute more to the home’s ultimate resale value than carpet does. Beyond any other factor, it is easier for a potential buyer to determine the condition of a hardwood floor, as opposed to carpet, which can often conceal severe issues. On the other hand, a carpet can be more easily changed in order to suit a new buyer’s desires.
Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Because hardwood is less permeable than carpeted floors, most spills can be easily cleaned up with little damage to the floor. Solid spills can be quickly vacuumed, while liquid spills can be mopped up by a towel or a floor mop. In addition, dirt and grit from pets and foot traffic can be quickly eliminated by sweeping the floor. However, it is important to quickly clean up any liquid spills, as leaving them unattended can result in stains or liquid damage to the underlying wood.
Scratches and Dings
Unlike carpets, hardwood is vulnerable to being scratched or gouged, whether it is by a child’s cleated shoes or a dropped object. Over time, scratches and gouges can seriously harm the appearance of the floor, while also leaving gaps that can allow moisture to enter into the wood, eventually resulting in serious damage to the flooring.
Fortunately, removing scratches and gouges from a hardwood floor is an easy process. Minor scratches can be buffed out by the homeowner, while professional restoration services can easily repair deeper dents. In addition, by using furniture coasters and protective pads, a homeowner can also dramatically reduce the risk of scratches to his or her hardwood floor.
Carpets, unlike wood floors, require fairly frequent vacuuming. A carpet can easily trap hair, skin cells, and other particles, all of which can produce unpleasant odors while also producing eye and respiratory problems in many individuals. However, unlike wood floors, a carpet won’t leave the dirt on the floor to be kicked up by the next person who walks on it.
In addition, carpets are supported by an underlying pad and allowing the carpet to become soaked by a spill can result in moisture being trapped under the surface, potentially producing an unpleasant odor or damaging the backing. This means that a spill must be cleaned up promptly in order to maintain the carpet. This can be a factor for homes located in wetter parts of the nation, where individuals tracking wet mud into the house may be a factor.
Finally, when a spill results in a stain, a spot cleaner can be used to remove it. However, spot cleaners need to be tested on the carpet in order to ensure that they will not damage the carpet’s color. Some stains may require a professional cleaning service to remove or even the physical replacement of the stained section.
The Need For Professional Cleaning
Even the best-maintained carpet needs at least two professional steam cleanings a year. These cleanings help remove ground-in dirt, while also restoring the carpet’s appearance in those areas where it sees regular walking traffic. In homes where children or pets are active, the frequency of professional cleanings may have to be increased in order to properly maintain the carpet.
Which Lasts Longer?
Ultimately, wood flooring tends to last longer than carpets do. A typical carpet will last about 10 years under regular usage, while well-maintained wood floors have lasted in excess of 100 years. For that reason, homeowners who intend to make their current home their only home may be advised to pick hardwood rather than carpet for their floors.
Ultimately, the choice between hardwood and carpet is one that depends on the homeowner’s ultimate goals. Hardwood is more expensive, but also more durable, easier to clean and longer lasting, while carpets have a wider variety of appearances and types and are somewhat less expensive. All of these factors need to be taken into account before a final choice of floor type is made.
Jessica Kane is a writer for GoHardwood, your favorite source for discount hardwood flooring.