Hardwood Flooring vs. Carpeting

Hardwood Flooring vs. Carpeting
  • Opening Intro -

    Most home renovation projects include decisions about flooring.

    These may range from simply refreshing existing flooring by refinishing or cleaning it to replacing the floors from the subfloor up.


The latter presents myriad choices of materials and colors, but the most common basic decision is hardwood flooring vs. carpeting. In some areas, climate makes the decision, because neither wood nor carpet do very well in extreme heat and humidity—tile is the best choice here.

However, most homeowners will find themselves deciding between oak and wool. Below are some of the factors they must consider when making their decision.


Hardwood flooring is more expensive, averaging in the high single to the mid-double digits per square foot. On the other hand, all but the most luxurious wool carpets will likely cost in the single digits per square foot.

hardwood vacuumshardwood floor mop

      some hardwood floor cleaning ideas to consider      

As with any building material, the amount needed to complete the job affects the cost. Redoing the floor in a smaller room may mean splurging on a higher-end wool carpet or a more exotic species of wood.

Resale Value

Replacing the flooring affects the value of the home. Hardwood offers the greater return on investment, as both renters and homebuyers consistently report a preference for hardwood.

For homeowners looking to improve their dwelling because they intend to stay put, the choice comes down to personal style and taste. Carpet offers greater choices in pattern and colors, while wood offers versatility for any kind of décor.


Complex patterns that require careful matching across seams can make carpet installation a challenge. Installers stretch and pound the carpet atop a pad onto the tack strips with tools made for that purpose.

Hardwood, on the other hand, goes over the subfloor, which is usually covered with some kind of moisture barrier. Planks of hardwood use tongue-and-groove systems to fit together.

Once whacked in place, staples or special nails called cleats secure the hardwood to the subfloor. Engineered wood is prefinished, while natural hardwood requires sanding and sealing or staining.

carpet vacuum cleanercarpet cleaner

      some carpet cleaning ideas to consider      

Sound and Warmth

Anyone who has ever shared a wall with a neighbor who has hardwood flooring knows that hardwood is noisy. Even the most considerate neighbor and the largest area rugs can’t disguise every step and squeak in a hardwood floor. Carpet, however, muffles sound and provides a warmer surface than hardwood.

Maintenance and Durability

Hardwood is fairly easy to keep clean with sweeping and mopping. Dings and scratches happen, but sanding and refinishing makes it possible for hardwood to last for the life of the home.

Finished hardwood also resists spills and stains. Carpets stain easily, and no amount of vacuuming will get red wine out of carpeting.

other valuable tips:

Homeowners who intend to remain in their homes for several years will likely have to replace their carpeting every few years. Carpet also hangs on to dust and dirt more than hardwood, so it isn’t a good choice for people with allergies.

Hardwood vs. carpeting comes down to style, cost, durability and value. When choosing flooring for your home, consider how long you plan to live with the floor you choose and how much you’re willing to invest in installation and maintenance.

Image credit: by Pixabay

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