Hardwood or Carpet: Which Is Best For You?

May 13, 2013

As we sneak our way out of a rainy Northwest Winter it's easy to consider potential flooring changes in the home. Two of the most common flooring options are carpet and hardwood flooring. But is one truly better than the other?


Generally the first thought on our minds is cost, and that's where it can be difficult to distinguish between the one-time sticker price of carpet vs. the savings-over-time cost of hardwood flooring. Carpet does tend to be significantly cheaper at purchase price (around $3 - $5 per square foot) and its installation is usually easy on the pocketbook. These savings can allow a homeowner to spend that extra cash on other home-enhancing projects, such as a bathroom remodel or the addition of an outdoor deck or patio. When it's time for sprucing up the place, it's also true that carpet essentially hides dirt, which means you can get away with cleaning it less often (as long as you don't mind a little grit between your toes). Major spills, however, are almost impossible to remedy and can lead to costly cleanings or, even worse, carpet replacement.


Hardwood, on the other hand, can cost between $9 - $12 per square foot, with some styles of reclaimed wood running as much as $30 per square foot. The wear and tear the flooring is subject to, however, has less effect on the look and feel of the hardwood than that of other floorings. This is especially with hardwood that has deeper grooves to it – these tend to mask the dents and scrapes that come with an active household. Spills and dust bunnies can also be quickly and easily cleaned up, but don't forget that hardwood floors require more routine cleanings than carpets do. This means sweeping on a more regular basis.


As for home value, one can't overlook the fact that, if properly maintained, hardwood flooring will last for decades. The classic look of hardwood can also add a rich look to a home. Meanwhile, a carpet's life can usually be extended with a yearly steam cleaning, but it can easily become matted over time. If the time comes in which you're looking to sell, however, a quick and cheap carpet replacement could contain design elements that sharpen up your home's interior appeal considerably.


In the end, the cost and home value of either carpet or hardwood can be best judged by the time frame in which a homeowner wants to consider its use. That's why it's helpful to acknowledge that the price difference of the two slightly balances each other out in the long run.


What's your experience with either carpet or hardwood flooring? Do you have a favorite? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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