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Hardwood Floors Vs. Carpets

      Are you thinking of replacing the flooring in your home? Carpets and hardwood floors are popular choices, but which is best for you? This article takes a look at the upsides and downsides of both. One of the major home improvements people make is to change or upgrade their floors. Let's face it: a good looking floor can add a lot of value to a home. On the other hand, an old, stained, grubby outdated floor can do a lot to bring down a home's value. Carpets and hardwoods are among the most popular choices for homeowners. But which is better? Wall-to-wall carpeting often gets picked because it's a lot less costly to install than brand new hardwood floors. However, you may have hardwoods underneath your existing carpet and not even know it. Tearing up old carpeting and refinishing existing wood floors is usually less expensive than buying and installing all new carpeting. Also, hardwood floors last a lot longer than carpets. It's true that you may need to refinish them from time to time, but carpets start to look ragged and beg for replacement after a mere five years or so. After ten years, you'll look at that oft-stained, outdated carpet and wonder if it's a health hazard. A hardwood floor never goes out of style.

So, what do carpets have going for them?


     Well, they're soft and warm, so if you like to lie on the floor or tussle with the kids or your pets, they may suit you. Hardwood floors, while not as cold and hard as laminates, aren't as forgiving to elbows and knees that clunk the floor during a wrestling match. (Of course, an area rug over part of your wood floor can solve this problem easily.)

The biggest downside of carpeting is that they aren't very friendly for allergy sufferers or anyone who is concerned about indoor pollution, which can include things such as pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, and mildew. Carpets can be breeding grounds for all of these. Even if you vacuum and wash your carpets on a regular basis, it is impossible to really get them clean, because dust and grime sift through the backing of the carpet and get between it and the pad beneath. Dampness from a carpet shampooing can actually encourage more things to grow down there.


     Hardwood floors, on the other hand, don't hide dust, dirt, mildew, etc. The finish that's applied to the floorboards protects them from penetration. That is why hardwood floors are a superior choice, not only for aesthetic reasons but because they simply allow for a healthier living environment than carpets do. If you are worried about wood being too hard for children's bedrooms or playrooms, you could also consider cork. It's much more resilient and giving than wood but it, too, wards off dust, mildew, pet dander, and the like. The downside to cork is that they won't last the lifetime plus that hardwoods do when they are well cared for. However, cork floors easily lasts as long as, or longer than, carpeting.


     Hopefully, you've got a good idea of what carpeting and hardwood floors offer now. In almost every situation, I would recommend hardwoods to any home buyer who can afford them. If you think they're too expensive, just keep in mind that they are an investment that will pay off when you go to sell your home. Even if you aren't planning on selling your home any time soon, hardwoods will outlast carpets by a long shot, thus saving you the expense of worrying about your floors again for a long time.