Hardwood vs. Carpet vs. Laminate

mirz2000December 13, 2010

Hi Everyone,

This might sound like the most basic of questions, but I wanted to examine all sides before taking action...

I bought a house this year, with what I believe to be its original (20 year old) flooring; carpet everywhere, save for kitchen and bath, which are sheet laminate. My plans have been to put new flooring in, though I am undecided as to what to do.

I have been researching my options, but still am undecided. I am sort of partial to carpet, but perhaps this is just because it is all I've ever lived with (and I prefer walking on carpet to harder floors). At the same time, I know it can hold on to dirt and germs, and it does look perhaps less "classy" than hard floors.

Do any of you have any insight as to what a homeowner should think about when considering different flooring? For instance, the expense of having hardwood refinished, or the dirt carpets can hold, etc.? Or even just your personal opinions on the different options?

Any guidance would be SO appreciated.

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steve_o

One thing I would consider is whether you plan to sell your home at any point in the near future. If you do, you might want to find out what kinds of flooring are common in your area/with homes which are comparable to yours. Just up the hill from me, hardwood and real stone would rule the day, but I don't live in that fancy neighborhood -- carpet and laminate and even vinyl would be perfectly acceptable in this neighborhood and a real slate kitchen floor would be a waste of money. Unless I were staying here forever and just really really really had to have slate. You have to make yourself happy. :-)

You should find out what's under your current floors and what shape it's in. You may have hardwood, in which case refinishing it might be economically worthwhile. Or you might have hardwood that's in bad shape due to abuse by previous owners or due to patching during cheap remodels, in which case repair will be significantly more expensive even before you get to the refinish.

I'm returning to GW after a few years away. I know when I was here last time, people here seemed to take a very dim view of carpet. The primary objection seemed to be that carpet was dirty and germy (maybe people here still feel this way). The way I see it, any floor will need cleaning. And I notice that the whole "who wants fabric which will trap dirt and germs" thing has not seemed to make upholstered furniture declasse or unpopular. I like carpet myself. I also don't like putting my feet down on some hard cold surface like stone or ceramic. So I got carpet for a good part of my house. Get what you like!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 9:20PM
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idrive65

If you plan on living there a good long while, you should put in whatever you like. It will need updating 15 years from now no matter what it is. Carpeting is quieter and warmer underfoot.

In my area it isn't unusual to see hardwood and tile on the lower levels and carpeting upstairs in the bedrooms. Nicer homes put hardwood everywhere, and area rugs as needed. We put hardwood everywhere (except bathrooms and mud entry) because dh is in the biz, a couple of us have allergies, and we have a shedding dog.

If you vacuum carpeting regularly and have it cleaned as needed there's no reason to worry about it being dirty. Removing outside shoes at the door will keep the dirt to a minimum.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 9:13AM
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mirz2000

Thank you for your help, both of you! It is nice to know that carpet is not totally "out."

Steve, I hadn't thought about whether the floor is in good shape or not, but that is a good point. I am guessing there is probably not a proper floor underneath, because this is a relatively new house, and I believe the carpet is original to the house; but it would be worth investigating.

Like you, I do tend to prefer the feel of carpet (and I am always cold, which makes materials like tile floors unbearable).

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 12:56PM
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