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- Carpet vs. Wood
- Which is Best?
- Wood vs. Carpet vs. Laminate
Carpet comes in a great variety of colors, styles, textures and thickness. It is a good insulator and even muffles sound, which is why many homeowners and renters still prefer it in their bedrooms.
Hardwood is usually ¾ inches thick and there are many species available for different budgets and aesthetic tastes. It is also a good insulator and is very low-maintenance.
Types of Carpet
Not only is it available in a variety of colors; carpet comes with options for fiber or pile so you can zero in on the most appropriate type for your home.
Carpet Material Options
|Fiber Type||Cost per Square Foot||Description|
|NYLON||$1.00 – $6.50||
|WOOL||$4.50 – $10.00||
|OLEFIN||$1.50 – $2.25||
|POLYESTER||$0.25 – $4.50||
Carpet Style Options
|Pile||Cost per Square Foot||Description|
|CUT PILE PLUSH||$3.50 – $4.50||
|CUT PILE SAXONY||$2.00 – $7.00||
|CUT PILE TEXTURED||$0.75 – $2.00||
|CUT PILE FRIEZE||$1.00 – $4.00||
|CUT AND LOOP||$1.00 – $6.00||
|MULTI-LEVEL LOOP||$1.30 – $4.00||
|LEVEL LOOP||$1.50 – $8.50||
These options range greatly in hardness, grain, color and price.
|Species||Cost per Square Foot||Description|
|MAPLE||$3.50 – $6.00||
|OAK||$4.50 – $7.00||
|PINE||$3.50 – $7.00||
|ASH||$5.00 – $9.00||
|CORK||$3.00 – $8.00||
|BAMBOO||$2.00 – $4.00||
|HICKORY||$3.00 – $6.00||
|BRAZILIAN CHERRY||$4.00 – $9.00||
|BRAZILIAN WALNUT||$5.00 – $9.00||
Carpet as a material costs as little as $1 – $2 per square foot and as much as $9 – $11 per square foot. For an average 12’ by 12’ space, you could pay $150 to $1,500 for the material alone.
Hardwood as a material costs as little as $3 – $6 per square foot and as much as $8 – $14 per square foot. For an average 12’ by 12’ space, you could pay $450 to $2,000 for hardwood alone.
Carpet installation costs homeowners an average of $1,600, and most stay within a range of $700 and $2,500. Labor tends to run $0.50 – $1.00 per square foot, and additional services like furniture removal and specialty cuts can add $0.50 – $2.00 per square foot. Installation is often easier than with hardwood. The main determining price factors are the fibers, type of pile and square footage involved.
The average cost to install hardwood flooring is $4,400 with a typical range of $2,500 to $6,500. Labor makes up between $3 and $8 per square foot of this total price. This flooring needs more detail-oriented installation, and cost will vary depending on the type of species and amount of floor space involved.
If you’re thinking of tackling your project without a pro, there are several factors to consider.
- Save $0.50 – $1.00 per square foot on labor.
- Simple and less time-consuming than wood.
- Can be difficult if working with multiple rooms, poor subfloor conditions or oddly shaped spaces.
- Must rent tools like stretcher and knee-kicker.
- Save $3 – $8 per square foot on labor.
- Cost of renting tools is higher than with carpet.
- Complicated and time-consuming installation.
- Must acclimate wood for several days.
If you’re planning to sell within the next 10 years, resale value can play a big role in your decision.
This option hasn’t completely lost favor with home buyers and is still king with older generations. New installations do not tend to affect resale value either way, but homes with old carpet will certainly suffer in the market.
According to the Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors, 21% of realtors would advise their clients to get hardwood flooring before selling their home. The report also estimates that this project has an average return on investment of 91 percent.
If you’re looking for the longest-term investment and you’re not interested in replacing your flooring within the next 20 years, there is a clear winner in the durability category.
- Not very durable
- Needs replacement every 5–15 years
- No standardized ratings (rating is not an indicator of durability)
- Extremely durable
- Often lasts for over 50 years
- This material is a bit more breathable and can withstand a certain level of moisture.
- Fibers can trap and grow mold if left moist for prolonged periods.
- Harder woods can be more resistant to moisture if coated with an appropriate wood finish.
- It is very susceptible to moisture and could warp from exposure. It can also grow mold. As a result, only install it on the ground floor and upper levels as opposed to the basement.
- Repairs are relatively affordable, with an average cost of $200.
- More difficult to maintain because it shows dirt and stains easily. Needs a deep clean every couple of years to maintain peak appearance. Professional cleaning costs $125 to $225 on average.
- Easy to clean, maintain and repair. Some repairs are simple enough that you can sand them out and refinish them affordably.
- More significant hardwood damage, like buckled planks and mold damage, can raise repair costs significantly.
Growing options for renewable and sustainable remodeling materials, help make our homes greener and more environmentally friendly. If sustainable choices are your priority, which material should you choose?
Carpet is usually made from petroleum and is not considered environmentally-friendly. In fact, as it breaks down, it tends to release volatile organic compounds. Wool is a natural fiber option that is more sustainable.
Hardwood options are renewable and sustainable. They are made from trees and are biodegradable. The Forest Stewardship Council oversees the harvesting practices and environmental impact of lumber producers in the United States and Canada. Look for the FSC certification when purchasing products.
If your pets are like your children, you’re probably thinking of them as you peruse your options. See if one pairs and fairs better with pets.
- It is soft and comfortable for pets to lay on.
- Looped piles can snag your pet’s nails. Stains, dirt and pet dander will be prevalent, obvious and difficult to clean. If your pet has issues urinating inside, you’ll have to stay ontop of pet odors.
- The most durable types, like maple and oak, do not scratch easily. They will be easier to clean and won’t capture pet dander.
- Softer species, like pine, will scratch easily. They are generally susceptible to water damage and staining. You’ll need to take proactive steps to maintain hardwood with pets in the home.
Are allergens a major concern for you and your family members? You should definitely consider this category while shopping for materials.
Carpet is not the best choice for those with sensitive allergies. It grips onto dust, mildew and pet dander, and you’ll need to deep-clean more regularly if allergies are an issue.
Hardwood is better for those with allergies because it is easy to clean and doesn’t grab onto allergens.
Radiant heating costs an average of $3,600 to install. It can be a great home modification, but which material works best, and which potentially negates its effectiveness?
- Carpet is an insulator and may negate a portion of system’s effects.
- Can’t install if there is a glue component attaching carpet to subfloor.
- May not need radiant heating because carpet is inherently warm.
- Works well over radiant heating systems.
- Soft and dense boards not good over radiant heating because temperature changes cause them to fluctuate (expand, contract).
- Best results with narrow, 3/4” thick boards.
Need to find a pro for your flooring & carpet installation?
|Carpet is best for…||Hardwood is best for…|
|DIY Installers||Resale Value|
|Muffling Sound||Living Rooms|
|Those who prefer soft flooring||Maintenance & Repair|
Carpet is usually the best choice for bedrooms and master bedrooms because it is soft and cozy. It is warm and can reduce sound, versus hardwood, which helps sound resonate and makes bedrooms feel cold.
Hardwood is the best option for living rooms and family rooms for many reasons. First, they are easier to clean—a great trait for some of the busiest rooms in the home. Second, these are the rooms where buyers want to see that in-demand material and where it can greatly help your resale value.
Hallways and stairs benefit from either option. Hardwood is a good because high-traffic throughways would benefit from a durable, low-maintenance flooring. Carpet, on the other hand, would muffle those high-traffic sounds and make for a safer stairway. If you do have hardwood stairs, you may want to consider a runner to increase safety.
Carpet works better when it comes to basement flooring. It is a good basement insulator. Some fiber materials perform better in basements than others, however, and you must take care to choose the right type for your basement. You or your professional should also be sure to prep the subfloor (concrete) in order to minimize moisture.
Carpet does not fare well in bathrooms or kitchens. It traps moisture, dirt and spills and will be difficult to maintain. Hardwood doesn’t do well in bathrooms either because it is so responsive to moisture. You can install hardwood in the kitchen, but it must have a sealant that protects it against the moisture in the space.Need to find a pro for your flooring & carpet installation?
The cost to install laminate flooring averages $2,750, compared to hardwood’s average of $4,400 and carpet’s average of $1,600. Laminate is more DIY-friendly and moisture-resistant than both wood and carpet. It also beats out both of them as an ideal material for pets. If these are your priorities, you’ll want to learn more about hardwood vs. laminate.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Carpeting with Hardwood Floors?
Removal costs $0.20 – $3.00 per square foot. Installation and material costs for hardwood range from $6 to $22 per square foot, for a total of $6.20 to $25 per square foot. As you work with professionals, be sure to discuss whether or not they have included removal in their total quote.
Is There a Carpet that Looks Like Wood?
Yes. They are available in tiles that look like wooden planks and create a unique aesthetic, and there are larger “photorealistic” wood options as well. In fact, photorealistic options are available in looks like tile, rocks and stones as well.
How Much Is It to Install Carpeting Over Wood?
If you do not want to remove your wood flooring before installation, you stand to save $0.50 – $2.00 per square foot on removal and disposal costs. Expect to pay closer to $2 – $12 per square foot for professional installation and materials.
Can You Put Wood Over Carpeting?
Experts do not recommend this. You must fully remove the old flooring for the best results. Laminate, on the other hand, is a more feasible option for installing as a floating option. Many renters are interested in this option, as they can easily remove the product when their lease is up.
How Does Carpet and Wood Compare to Tile Flooring?
- Cheaper than hardwood and can be lower in cost vs. carpet at $1,600 for ceramic and porcelain tile installation and about $1,800 for natural stone tile.
- Available in a variety of styles and materials, from ceramic to slate.
- Extremely durable
- Can be installed in moist places, which gives it an advantage over wood and carpet.
- Stands up well to foot traffic
- Works over radiant heating
- Slippery when wet
- Can be very cold underfoot; isn’t preferable in bedrooms and living rooms
- Home buyers continue to favor hardwood over tile
- Lower ROI for sellers
If you’re updating your flooring for yourself, ceramic tiles are a great economic option. If you’re upgrading to sell, hardwood will have a greater chance with buyers.Need to find a pro for your flooring & carpet installation?