Carpet vs. Hardwood

Which Flooring Option is Better?

January 24, 2023 | By Bruce Product Expert

Quick. Which one is better? Vanilla or chocolate ice cream? For some, the answer is easy. They’ll fall clearly on the side of one or the other. And they’ll try to put up a good argument why their choice is the right one. The same holds true for the age-old battle between carpet and hardwood. Is one better than the other? And which side do you fall on?

Carpets accounted for $58.05 billion in sales volume in 2021. On the other hand, hardwood sales hi $45.4 billion in that same year, according to IMARC Group. So, carpeting has the advantage from a sheer dollar-spent perspective.

But which flooring solution would you rather have in your home? And is one better than the other? Let’s compare and let you decide.

Comparing the Look and Feel of Hardwood and Carpeting

One of the chief differences between hardwood and carpeted floors is how each feels underfoot.

Let’s face it. Carpeting is plush and undeniably comfortable. It feels nice and warm on your bare feet. So, many people insist on carpeting their bedrooms. After all, who wants to step on a cold floor at night on their way to the bathroom?

Conversely, wood is solid, with a firm feel underfoot. And yes, it can be cold. But you can remedy that with a radiant heating system. Indeed, hardwood flooring conducts heat better than carpeting because carpeting insulates the floor to slow heat transmission.

Both Flooring Options Offer Lots of Looks and Styles

From an appearance standpoint, both flooring options offer variety. But carpet may have the edge over hardwood owing to its various colors, textures, thicknesses, and styles. In addition, its fiber and pile options let you decide on the right feel for your home. As for appearance, carpeted surfaces typically provide a softer appearance than hardwood.

However, hardwood also has a dazzling array of options. You can select from various species, each with its unique grain pattern. Of course, oak floors are America’s favorite. But you can choose from maple, birch, ash, and even exotic species like Brazilian Cherry or Tigerwood.

In addition, you can impact the hardwood’s look with various finishes and textures. Hand-scraped hardwoods, for example, have become popular and lend a rustic, worn feel to your flooring.

Carpeting Beats Hardwood for Initial Cost

Undeniably, carpeting costs less than hardwood flooring, both in terms of material cost and installation. According to HomeGuide, carpeting costs $1 to $5 per square foot, with labor adding up to another $1.50 per square foot. On average, most carpets purchased from a local home center run $3 per square foot installed.

On the other hand, hardwood purchase and installation cost $6 to $11 per square foot on the low end. But high-end costs can be as much as $23 per square foot (see HomeGuide). A home center’s average hardwood floor cost is $8 per square foot, including installation.

Consider engineered hardwood if you’re set on a hardwood floor but want to reduce your costs. Generally, it costs less than solid hardwood to purchase and install.

It’s worth noting that despite its lower cost, you can expect to replace a carpet within 10 to 15 years. However, a hardwood floor can last a lifetime. In addition, you can refinish solid hardwood flooring several times (and many engineered wood floors once or twice) to restore their original luster.

So, even though you’ll pay more upfront for hardwood, you’ll most likely save in the long run.

Care and Maintenance of Hardwood vs Carpet

Both carpeting and hardwood are reasonably easy to clean, as you can vacuum to remove surface debris. However, the tricky part comes with spills.

With a hardwood floor, clean-up is simple. Just wipe the spill, and you’re good to go. In addition, you can use a good hardwood flooring cleaner to protect your floors and keep them looking new.

A carpet, however, requires more effort. You’ll sometimes be left with the stain because it soaks into the carpet and settles permanently. In those instances, you’ll likely have to invest in a carpet cleaning machine or service to steam clean the fibers.

Carpeting Reduces Noise Better Than Hardwood for Floors

As mentioned, carpeting removes the shock from stepping down on a cold, hardwood floor. Well, those insulating qualities also provide sound insulation. Because the entire floor surface is padded and carpeted, it blocks noise.
For instance, carpeting insulates a floor up to 10 times more than a hard floor covering.

Apart from noise reduction, carpeting also cushions falls. So, if children or someone elderly resides in your home, carpeting may provide a safer alternative than hardwood.

If You Have Allergies, Stick with Hardwood

Unfortunately, those qualities that help carpeting cushion falls do little to help if you’re an allergy sufferer. Carpeting traps dust mites, dirt, mold, and other allergens. So, those same floors that prevent you from stepping on a cold, hard surface at night expose you to carpet dust as you sleep.

In contrast, hardwood floors don’t trap those same allergen-producing triggers. So instead, you sweep and mop them away.

Beyond allergies, carpeting presents a less green flooring option than hardwood. For example, the E.P.A. estimates that five billion carpeting pounds go into landfills annually. In addition, plastic is a significant component of carpeting that takes hundreds of years to degrade.

Moreover, most synthetic carpets are manufactured with petroleum and release volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) in your home as they age. Though more costly, wool carpeting presents an eco-friendlier option.

So, hardwood flooring is a better option if you are a steward of the environment. As mentioned, it lasts well beyond carpeting and reduces landfill issues. In addition, hardwood flooring can be recycled, even reused as reclaimed wood flooring.

Improve Your Home’s Resale Value with Hardwood

Hardwood flooring remains the top choice for home buyers. So, hardwood beats carpeting if you want to increase your resale value. Consider these statistics:

  • – The National Wood Flooring Association states that 90% of real estate agents say homes with hardwood floors sell for more.

  • – The National Association of Realtors found that 54% of buyers would pay more for a home with hardwood flooring.

  • – indicates that hardwood floors add 2.5% to a home’s value.

  • – From the Forest adds that hardwood flooring generally yields around a 75 percent return on investment.

Installing new carpeting can increase your home’s value, mainly if your old carpets are worn and dirty. But your R.O.I. generally falls in the 25-40 percent range, paling compared to hardwood.

Summarizing the Carpet vs. Hardwood Debate

Let’s face it. Like vanilla vs. chocolate ice cream, there’s no right or wrong. Often, the solution is a mix of carpeting with hardwood. So, many homeowners settle on carpeting for their bedroom or basement while installing hardwood in a living room. After all, why eat just vanilla or chocolate ice cream when you can enjoy them both?

Ultimately, There’s Nothing Like a Hardwood Floor

No question, carpeting offers a solid solution for homeowners looking for a comfortable floor at a reasonable price. The selection is extensive, and you can find a style to fit any home.

But if you’re looking for flooring that stands the test of time, is eco-friendly, and adds warmth to your home like nothing else, hardwood flooring reigns supreme.

As one of the leading manufacturers of hardwood flooring and a favorite for D.I.Y. wood flooring, Bruce® offers a myriad of options:

·       Solid Hardwood Flooring

·       Engineered Hardwood

·       Rigid Core S.P.C. Flooring

·       TimberTru™ Flooring

We’ve even come up with a revolutionary Densified Wood™ flooring, Dogwood®. It resists scratches, gouges, and dents. Dogwood is the perfect hardwood flooring option for pet lovers.

Most importantly, we make the journey to your hardwood purchase easy. Use our floor visualizer to see how our flooring looks in your room. And when you’ve narrowed your selection, you can even order product samples for a closer look. Finally, use our retail locator to find the Bruce dealer closest to you.

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