Whether you’re building a new house or remodeling one you’ve owned for years, the type of flooring you choose is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Not only is flooring expensive, regardless of the type, but it covers your entire home. So if you make the wrong choice, there’s no escaping it.

The two most popular flooring options for homes are wood floor and carpet, but which one is right for you? Well, we’re here to help you make that decision!

Outlined below is a detailed comparison of hardwood and carpet. Each has its own pros and cons, so the decision will come down to your needs, tastes, and budget.

Installation and Cost

We’d all love to design our homes with a ‘money is no object’ attitude. The truth is, however, that cost is often the largest factor to consider when choosing anything for your home, including flooring. You not only have to pay for the material itself but also the delivery and installation.

This point is first for a reason. Before we dive any deeper into the differences between hardwood and carpet, you should know that hardwood is one of the most expensive flooring options on the market.

If you choose to install hardwood, you’re going to be looking at a price of $12 to $20 per square foot. Keep in mind that if you’re having the floor installed by a professional, they typically charge by the square foot as well. Expect an additional $4 to $8 per square foot for installation, with higher costs for irregular shapes and floors with vents.

Carpet, on the other hand, is much friendlier to your wallet. On average, the cost to install carpet is between $3 and $11 per square foot, depending on the style and quality. Carpet flooring installation isn’t free, but it is cheaper than having wood floor installed, as it’s a less labor intensive job.

Lifespan and Resale Value

Now let’s talk about lifespan, because although carpet might look like the more attractive option upfront, you might not see as high of a return on your investment.

As we discussed, hardwood flooring is by far the more expensive option, however, it lasts ten times longer. While carpet lasts an average of 10 years before it needs to be replaced due to wear and tear, hardwood flooring can last 100 years or more if you care for it well.

That said, a decade is no short amount of time, so if you can’t afford to install hardwood right now, you could install carpet and then save up for new floor down the road.

On the flipside, if you’re not planning to stay in your home for the next decade, you need to consider resale value. The majority of home buyers prefer hard flooring, as they’re easier to maintain. Because of this, hardwood flooring comes with a significant return on investment – usually between 70 and 80%.

Carpet isn’t as attractive, and unfortunately sometimes hides mold and other flaws in a home’s structure, so it doesn’t offer the ROI that hardwood does.

Care and Maintenance

Let’s say you invest in some gorgeous flooring from Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods. In order to maximize its lifespan and keep it looking as good as it did the day it was installed, you’ll need to sweep and vacuum a few times a week at minimum.

It’s also important that you take care to clean up any spills right away, as your new floor can warp if it absorbs the liquid.

Because carpet is a soft material, it’s a little tougher to keep clean. Dust and other allergens can get caught in the fibers, especially if you go with a high pile option.

Carpet requires vacuuming at least once a week to be kept in good condition, as well as yearly shampooing. And if the carpet is in a high traffic area, you might need to increase the frequency of your cleanings.

Comfort and Safety

This is the category in which carpet shines. While beautiful, hardwood flooring is also just that – hard. It’s also cold and does nothing to dampen sound.

Because of this, hardwood can be a bad option for homes with small children. In addition to being a less desirable option should a child fall, it’s also far less comfortable to stand or kneel on during play. It’s important to note that hardwood floors can also be slippery, especially for little feet in socks.

Carpet is the better option for children’s rooms, family rooms, and play areas. Its plush texture makes it easy on your feet, and if you choose a high quality option, it can be downright comfortable to sit or lie on.

In addition, carpet is the safer option. It poses less of a slipping or tripping hazard, and if someone does fall on it, it provides more of a cushion than hardwood flooring. This cushion also helps to prevent breakage when a fragile object such as a glass is dropped.

Use This Guide to Choose Between Wood Floor and Carpet

Picking flooring for your home is a big choice, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. But now that you know all the differences between wood floor and carpet, the good and bad, you can make an informed decision about your new flooring.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do is to imagine yourself and your family living in your home. Because at the end of the day, your specific lifestyle is going to determine the best floor for you.

Looking for more tips and tricks for outfitting your home with the perfect choices for your family? Be sure to check out our blog!