Should You Choose Carpet or Hard Surface?

Sometimes choosing between carpet and hard flooring can be a real struggle. They both have their distinct benefits and advantages and – with the exception of kitchens and bathroom – both can be equally suitable in a variety of situations.

Advantages of Carpet

  1. Warmth – the key reason for Installing Carpet is usually for warmth. It is hard to replicate the same feeling of cosiness and warmth with any other flooring material. In cold climates, carpets are almost obligatory; not only for their insulating properties but for the visual and psychological comfort they give. Thus having carpet means reducing the amount of energy needed to maintain a comfortable internal temperature and therefore saving money.
  2. Sound Insulation – carpet is perhaps the best sound insulator you can find as a flooring material. In fact, it has been shown to be ten times better at reducing airborne noise than any other floor covering.
  3. Comfort – there is nothing like the luxurious feel of a soft, plush carpet. Aside from being comfortable to sit and play on, it also reduces the leg fatigue normally felt on harder floor surfaces.
  4. Safety – due to their cushioning effect, carpets are soft to fall on which makes them a great choice for homes with active young children who are prone to accidents; they can also be good choices to public areas as they reduce the dangers of slipping and the associated legal liabilities in today’s litigious society.
  5. Looks – a good-quality carpet lends a unique sense of class and prestige to an interior, whether it is a professional office or a private living room. The huge range of colours, styles, patterns and even textures means an enormous amount of choice, with something to suit every preference and interior decorating scheme.
  6. Lower Maintenance Cost – despite common belief that carpet is easily dirtied and hard to clean, it is actually less expensive to maintain than hard flooring, as long as both are maintained correctly. In fact, the very construction of carpet means that its loops and piles will trap dirt and dust until they are released by vacuuming. (Some people even argue that this means carpets are actually better for allergies as they trap the allergens and dust particles until vacuumed whereas hard floors force the microscopic particles to re-circulate and remain in the atmosphere). In addition, vacuuming – even on a daily basis – is less labour-intensive and more time efficient than the dusting, mopping and sometimes stripping and resurfacing needed for hard floor surfaces.

Advantages of Hard Flooring

  1. Maintenance – the main reason many people choose hard flooring is for ease of Maintenance and Cleaning. Most types – whether it is hardwood, laminate, Vinyl or tile – require little more than a regular vacuum or dust mop, followed by a wet mopping. Hard flooring also accumulates less dust and dirt in the first place. In particular, spills and stains are easily cleaned and removed and in fact, many hard flooring nowadays come with stain-resistant top layers.
  2. Durability – this is the other key reason people choose hard flooring. They can withstand high traffic and heavy wear and tear. This is particularly true of laminate and vinyl. They are ideal for areas such as entrance ways, family living rooms and kitchens, which may experience a lot of foot traffic and other high impact traffic.
  3. Non-Allergenic – the general consensus is that hard flooring is better for people suffering from allergies or asthma as they are less likely to trap allergens. Research shows that carpet environments often harbour large accumulations of dust particles, debris, pet dander, dust mites and other allergens.
  4. Looks – this especially applies to hardwood floors as they have a warm, timeless beauty that is hard to match by any other type of flooring. But laminate and vinyl flooring also offer huge advantages as they come in an endless range of colours and styles, which makes interior decorating an easy and enjoyable task and enables you to create the look and ambience you seek with minimal effort.
  5. Investment – again, this applies only to hardwood flooring: timber flooring is the one addition that will increase the resale value of your house – in fact, many will consider hardwood floors as a substantial investment in the home’s value. If well-maintained, hardwood flooring will last the lifetime of the structure.

As in many cases, the choice may come down to one of personal preference for style and effect. Remember also that it is important for the flooring to blend with the rest of the interior décor and for it to flow easily from room to room, thus creating a coherent whole.

See Also
Polished wood floor with rug
Flooring in My Home: Where Should I Start?
Large living space with a timber floor
Flooring for Living Room and Living Areas