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Compare Carpet vs Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Overview

Hardwood flooring has never been as popular as it is today. Hardwood has surpassed carpeting in terms of popularity over the last few decades and is highly sought-after by homebuyers.

Hardwood flooring is timeless and elegant. It is available in a variety of species and finishes, from classics like maple and oak to exotic woods. It is long-lasting and easy to maintain.

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How Much Does Hardwood Flooring Cost

Hardwood floors start at around $3 per square foot for an out-of-the-box product from a major retailer or home improvement store. Custom, exotic or high-end floors can cost $15 or more per square foot. In most cases, budget anywhere from $4 to $8 for materials.

Installation usually costs another $3 to $5 per square foot, and removal and haul away of your old flooring costs about $2 per square foot. All totaled, plan on spending $8 to $25 per square foot.

Pros of Hardwood

  • Resale value - Hardwood floors are a major selling feature. No other type of flooring will boost your home’s resale value quite like hardwood. In some cases, buyers might not even look at a home that has wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Durability - Properly maintained, hardwood floors can last 100 years or more. Scratches and scuffs can be removed by occasional sanding and refinishing, restoring your floors to like-new quality.
  • Easy to clean - With hardwood, you don’t have to worry about stains. Simply clean up spills with a damp cloth. If desired, you can also use a mild cleanser.

Cons of Hardwood

  • Price - Hardwood is far more expensive than carpeting, so be prepared for a significant initial investment.
  • Noise - You can tiptoe around the house quietly with carpeting, but that’s not the case with hardwood floors. Hardwoods magnify the sound of footsteps, particularly if you’re wearing shoes.
  • Can be damaged - Hardwoods can be damaged by anything from high-heeled shoes to furniture. The softer the wood, the more easily it can be damaged.

Carpet Overview

Carpet has long been one of the most popular flooring options. It’s soft, warm and adds a cozy feel to your home. It’s also affordable.

With carpeting, there are hundreds of style and design options from which to choose: plush or berber; formal or contemporary; patterned or plain. Even shag is making a major comeback. Options are available to meet just about every style and budget.

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How Much Does Carpet Flooring Cost

The price of carpeting depends heavily on the quality. Basic, apartment-grade carpeting begins at about $2 to $3 per square foot, not including the cost of padding and installation. High-end residential carpeting can cost up to $10 per square foot for materials alone.

When you factor in the cost of padding and installation, plan on spending anywhere from $4 per square foot for low-grade carpeting to nearly $20 per square foot for luxury carpeting that lasts up to 20 years. In most cases, however, you can have mid-grade residential carpeting installed for anywhere from $6 to $12 per square foot.

Pros of Carpet

  • Cost - Carpet is far less expensive than hardwood flooring. In many cases, you can outfit your home for about half the price.
  • Ease of installation - Carpet is quick and easy to install. Usually, it takes just a single day to complete the entire project. Because of this, carpet is also less expensive to install.
  • Comfort - Carpeting is soft and warm underneath your feet. It also acts as an insulator, preventing heat or cold from radiating up through the floor.

Cons of Carpet

  • Difficult to clean - Carpeting, particularly the light-colored variety, stains easily. Stains can be difficult or impossible to remove, particularly if you don’t opt for carpeting with a stain-resistant coating. It also tends to hold odors. Because of this, carpeting may not be ideal for high-traffic areas or homes with kids or pets.
  • Resale value - Buyers these days prefer hardwood. Carpeting won’t command the same return for your investment. However, you can boost your resale value by replacing old, dirty carpeting with new.
  • Aggravates allergies - Carpeting collects dust, pet hair and other debris, so it is not an ideal choice for people with allergies.

Author: Ashley Smith


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