Is Hardwood Easier to Maintain than Carpet?

If you are unsure about your choice for new flooring, and you feel like you don’t have enough information to make an informed decision about what is best for your home between hardwood floors and carpeted floors, then consider the following information before you buy either one: 

How Clean is Carpet vs. Hardwood Flooring?
Many consumers that are shopping for hardwood flooring instead of carpet do so because they feel that carpet never truly seems like it is clean even after it is shampooed professionally. Some elements that soak into the carpet or stick to carpet fibers and are sometimes irretrievable are:

  • Micro-bacteria
  • Dog and cat dander
  • Stains from wine or other liquid foods
  • Dust particles

Contributing to this are individuals who must consider allergies into the equation. Every time you use a carpeted room, you track some of the particles that are trapped in a carpet through the air with your feet or shoes which lead to additional issues.
On the other hand, hardwood floor may show dust, dirt particles, and spills, but all are easily removed either by sweeping or by using a cloth. Nothing can really hide on a hardwood floor. So, hardwood floor would be much healthier for anyone who has an issue with allergies as well. 

Carpet is always a plus when you have an infant or smaller children who tend to play on the floor or tend to crawl around to explore an area. It is also safer because it will cushion a fall. 

If a carpet is damaged with a tears or stains, oftentimes it needs to be replaced either partially or completely if the dye lot cannot be matched to the current flooring. This makes for a costly an unexpected home improvement. 

When hardwood flooring becomes damaged with scraps, scratch marks from furniture or animals, or water stains, it can be sanded and refinished either partially or completely without the worry of matching up to the rest of the floor. Some homeowners choose to sand and refinish their hardwood floors several times over the lifetime of the wood just to give it fresher, glossier look. 

Wall-to-wall carpeting was considered the trend up until the 90s when the versatility of carpet was marketed as the different types of carpets and colors to choose from when nearly 90% of homes in the U.S. had carpet throughout the house. The high-end carpet was considered patterned carpets that were usually put in rooms that were for display instead of daily use. 

There is also versatility in types and colors of hardwood flooring as well. There are many kinds of exotic woods to choose from that vary in the design of the wood and that come in an array of colors like black, pink, yellow, purple, and even shades of orange. 
Hardwood is also considered a unique material for flooring because each surface that is installed is unique to that space in the way that it looks. Every piece of wood has its own design and varies with the type of wood that is chosen. 

Environmental Considerations
Carpet is mostly manufactured with petroleum in the fabric that is used called polypropylene. It has elements of wool fibers as well as synthetic fibers with a mixture of nylon fabric.

Hardwood, in contrast, is all natural. With so many environmentally conscious watch groups keeping an eye on lumber companies, there are now laws that mandate lumber companies to plant as many trees as they cut down for products such as hardwood floors. So, it is still a limited resource, but one that is replenished. 

Carpet can be easier to maintain with consistent cleaning with a vacuum and annual professional cleaning. It could last for as long as 15 years in a room with minimal traffic. 

Unfortunately, dirt is more easily left on carpets, especially if shoes are worn throughout the house. Carpets also show obvious patterns after being walked on over a period of time in one area that leads to carpet matting. This can happen on cheaper carpets within a year. 

With proper maintenance, hardwood floors can last a lifetime. This means sweeping, mopping, and then polishing it with a wood floor cleaner on a weekly basis. This might include refinishing the floor every 15 to 30 years depending on the amount of traffic and the kind of activity that the flooring has to endure on a regular basis. 

Some woods are softer than others, but most hardwood can endure something heavy that is dropped on it without denting. Scratches are more of a concern from unexpected pieces of stones on the bottom of shoes, moving furniture without proper guards, or accidents. Most sanders or buffers can remove these imperfections. 

Carpet has its benefits in certain areas of the home; overall, hardwood floors seem to last longer and have more durability no matter how much activity an area endures on a regular basis.

Jessica Kane is a writer for GoHardwood, a leading retailer of discount hardwood flooring, carpet tile, and more.