Carpet Or Hardwood Flooring: The Pros And Cons

Posted by Kylie Noell on December 15th, 2015 | View comments

If you’re contemplating swapping out that wall-to-wall carpet for sleek hardwood, you’re not alone. Many homeowners are getting rid of carpeted rooms and trading them in for wood floors. If you’re still on the fence, here are some pros and cons that may help you decide which flooring type is best for your home and family.

Carpeting Pros & Cons

Carpeting is a tempting flooring choice for homes that are located in areas prone to cold weather since carpeting provides added insulation, cutting down on heat loss and energy bills. Not only does carpeting help prevent heat loss, but it also acts as a noise muffler, minimizing sound that could come from below.

If you’re concerned about stains you should know that today, carpets are manufactured with stain resistant treatments so that one spill won’t ruin the life of your flooring. Although don't let it sit for too long. While carpeting may be tempting because of the warm and cushy feeling it provides under cold bare feet is starting to phase out of home decor for a few reasons.

Carpeting easily absorbs moisture, producing the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. It easily traps dust, bacteria and dirt, creating a whole host of potential problems including aggravating allergy symptoms. Despite the stain resistant properties that are now built-in to existing carpets, it doesn’t mean that they’re foolproof. Between pets, children and general high traffic carpeting can take a beating and may not be the right fit for you home.

Hardwood Flooring Pros & Cons

To get some more insight on the benefits of switching from carpet to hardwood flooring we checked in with Adam Williams at the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) who explained to us that wood flooring improves indoor air quality because wood floors do not harbor allergens, microorganisms or harmful pesticides that can be tracked in from outdoors.

Adam went on to say that dust, mold and animal dander contamination is minimal in homes with wood floors, which helps reduce triggers for asthma and allergy sufferers. He adds that wood flooring not only promotes healthier living, but it's easy to maintain too. Simply sweep the floor regularly with a soft-bristle broom or dust mop to remove surface dirt and debris. Adam suggests that if the floor contains beveled edges use a vacuum with a soft bristle brush attachment to remove dirt and debris from between the floorboards. See more hardwood flooring maintenance tips in our FAQ: How do I maintain my wood floors?

If you’re concerned about water damage to your wood flooring consider engineered hardwood. Adam explains that engineered hardwood floors are real wood floors that are manufactured using three to five layers of different wood veneers. The layers are referred to as face ply for the top layer, core ply for the middle layers, and back ply for the bottom layer. Each of the layers can be of the same species, or of different species, but the face ply of engineered wood flooring always consists of high-quality wood. The grain of each individual layer runs in different directions, which is called a cross-ply construction process. This process makes engineered wood flooring very dimensionally stable, meaning that the wood will expand and contract less than solid wood flooring during normal seasonal fluctuations in humidity and temperature.

The downside to wood flooring is that your rooms may be a little louder, the floor will be cooler, and you’ll have to refinish your hardwood floors every now and then, making it a little pricer than carpeting. Although these are seem like minor sacrifices to make for the benefit of a healthier home.

Whether you’ve decided on carpet or wood floors you’ll need a flooring professional to help you get the job done. If you’re going to hire a wood flooring professional the NWFA tells us that some, but not all, states require licenses. Beyond that, use an installer or refinisher that has received training in the latest techniques to ensure a quality installation. Certification credentials, like those available through the NWFA are another indication of a professional who utilizes training to validate his skills and expertise. Certification involves both a hands-on test, and a written test.

Find a flooring professional in your area to get started.