Should I have carpet installed, or is hardwood flooring a better choice?” Many new homeowners base their choice of flooring on cost alone.

Considering only cost, carpet will be your outstanding choice of floor covering, with the exception of very high-end, expensive carpeting.

If cost is your primary consideration, request comparable material and installation quotes from both carpet and hardwood flooring suppliers. Of course, since there are low-end and high-end products available in both categories, you should select your flooring grade before requesting your quotes. You will then be better prepared to decide which floor covering best fits your budget.

Be aware though, that, along with cost, there are many other variables to consider when choosing floor coverings…

Here are just a few:


Carpets are very quiet, absorbing sound from many sources such as walking, TV and radio.

Hardwood floors do not absorb sound at all and are extremely noisy. However, the noise can be minimized by strategically placing area rugs.


Carpets are warm to walk on, especially comfortable in colder climates.

In those same climates, hardwood floors are extremely cold. As with the noise problem though, the impact of cold hardwood floors can also be minimized by the use of strategically placed area rugs.


As you know, liquid spills will stain carpet. Water spills should be absorbed immediately with towels, and the residue will dry over time. However, extended dampness may cause the formation of mold and mildew.

Wood floor spills should also be removed immediately.

While wood is very resistant to stains and absorption, prolonged exposure to moisture may cause discoloration, expansion and warping.


Carpets should be vacuumed and shampooed regularly, as dirt particles will penetrate the weave. Carpet is impossible to clean 100%, and dirt will accumulate under the weave and padding over time. Anyone who has ever removed an old carpet knows this first-hand.

Conversely, hardwood floors can be thoroughly cleaned by vacuum and damp mop.

In both cases, your vacuum should be exhausted outside to avoid the redistribution of microscopic contamination into the air of your home.


Carpet can last 10 to 15 years or longer depending on its quality, care, maintenance, and amount of traffic; but, over time, carpet tends to matt and become difficult to clean.

Hardwood floors with the proper maintenance can last a lifetime, baring severe moisture damage or heavy traffic. Of course, depending on the amount of traffic, you may need to sand and refinish your hardwood floors every 10 to 15 years.


If your objective is to build a healthy home, carpet is not your best choice of floor covering. In addition to the unsanitary accumulation of dirt under the weave and padding, carpet manufactured from synthetic materials also contains toxic chemicals that outgas for many years.

These gases are what you smell when you enter a carpet store or a newly carpeted room. Many featured benefits of carpeting, such as color fastness, stain proofing and fire resistance, are achieved by the use of even more toxic chemicals. These chemicals are out-gassed at the highest rate during the first few years, but will continue for many years thereafter.

The Winner?

You are probably now clear why hardwood flooring is a better option than carpeting when it comes to home design and decorating. Hardwood flooring also adds to the value of a house, something that a carpet does not do because it’s expected. Hardwood floors are easier to clean and maintain, and looks much better.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t use carpet. In fact, if you do want to use carpet, use it in places that do not have much traffic such as a den, or in places that require sound insulation, such as the basement. If you have to make a choice only between carpet vs hardwood, then hands down, hardwood is the winner. It is still ultimately your decision and you know what suits you the best.


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