Hardwood Flooring vs. Wall-to-wall Carpet

There was once a time when wall-to-wall carpet was all the rage for homeowners. If you didn’t have it, you’re house had an “unfinished” feel about it. It could be found everywhere – on the floor, on the stairs, even on the walls in some styles of 70s homes.

Today, wall-to-wall carpet has largely been replaced by hardwood flooring, if not throughout the entire home, then at least in most rooms. Both carpet and hardwood flooring have pros and cons. If you’re considering a change, here are a few things you should know about each.

Sure, the feel of carpet under bare feet is comforting and soft. It adds a sense of quiet to a room or a home.  Carpet can help save energy, as it insulates floors and provides a psychological feeling of warmth. It’s also relatively inexpensive and comes in a wide variety of colors, pile (height), and textures. Plus, it can hide dirt well.

On the downside, carpet has to be maintained regularly – meaning it needs regular vacuuming and, a little less often, regular deep cleaning with a carpet cleaner.  It can show spills and stains and they can be difficult to lift, like animal stains, even with a deep cleaning.  Carpets can show signs of wear, like frayed pile, flattened areas that are walked on frequently, and seams can eventually show if it wasn’t installed properly. Some people can be sensitive to the allergens and dust that can get trapped in a carpet.

Hardwood flooring has become the darling of homeowners today. Most want hardwood flooring throughout when looking to buy or remodel a home. For them, carpet is a thing of the past, a dated reminder of decades gone by.

As with carpet, hardwood flooring has pros and cons as well.  There are many different types of wood flooring available, with various kinds of wood, installations, and patterns offering all sorts of choices—from planks you can stain with the color you want to easy-to-install prefinished boards.

The classic solid hardwood floor is oak, but you will also find a wide range of wooden floor types, including maple, fir, walnut, birch, cherry, and beech. Pine is also used a lot in country-style and reproduction houses, where it’s stained dark for an old-fashioned feel. (Keep in mind, however, that pine dents and scratches easily.)

Not unlike carpet, hardwood flooring also creates a warm décor, and feels good under your feet. Most homeowners will agree that wood floors are beautiful and much more attractive than tile or carpet. Most homeowners also find it easier to match furniture with hardwood than with carpet. Wood is neutral, whereas carpet requires you to deal with a color palette. 

Hardwood floors are resilient and long-lasting. With proper maintenance and care, they can actually last centuries. They can be sanded and refinished multiple times, which means that every 10 years or so you can repair any scratches and restore the floor’s good-as-new glow. The greatest advantage is that they’re easy to clean, and spills can easily be wiped away. They also don’t trap dust and allergens as carpets often do.

There are, however, a few drawbacks as well.  For example, hardwood floors are vulnerable to moisture and humidity. Even a small amount of moisture can deteriorate the wood, so you need to be careful to mop up spills fast and, if you have a leak, get it fixed fast. Also, because of its issues with moisture and humidity, you should not put a wood floor in your bathroom or laundry.

Some finishes on hardwood can scratch easily. High-heeled shoes and pet’s sharp claws can leave dents and scratches. Deep or noticeable scratches will have to be refinished.

Another disadvantage of a hardwood floor is noise. When you walk on it, especially with hard leather boots and shoes, the steps can be loud. Some people find wood-floor noise a nuisance but, if you’ve got your heart set on a hardwood floor, you can mitigate this concern by using area rugs.

Finally, hardwood flooring is likely to cost more than carpet would, but don’t let that be the only deciding factor. Each offers its own unique beauty and style.

If you’re undecided about which type of flooring would work best (and look amazing) in your home, ask one of the design experts at Mid-Cape Home Centers. They’ll be able to steer you in the right direction.



About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy