Hardwood Vs. Carpet in a Living Room

A living room is the most common area in a house or apartment. For example, an individual may watch television with family, have parties or welcome guests in a living room. Thus, choosing between installing wood flooring or carpet becomes an important decision. Although choosing between the two flooring options ultimately depends on a person’s personal criteria, advantages and disadvantages of both can factor into the decision.

Carpet provides warmth and comfort in a living room. For example, during cold months, carpet provides a natural barrier between an individual and a cold floor. Also, an individual who likes walking barefoot may want carpet installed for comfort. Carpet consists of synthetic fibers made of olefin, polyester, acrylic (art wool), recycled material or wool. Before carpet is installed, padding is placed between the floor and carpet. Wood flooring also provides warmth to a room, but instead of comfort, its warmth comes from its aesthetic or natural look. The product doesn’t need padding as carpet does. Wood flooring options include hardwood such as birch or oak and softwood flooring such as pine.

Carpet and wood flooring require different amounts of maintenance. Thus, deciding between carpet and wood flooring depends on the amount of maintenance work a person wants to do. For example, carpet isn’t easy to maintain. Carpet requires vacuuming because it quickly gathers allergens such as dust. An individual who has carpeted a living room may have to develop a regular maintenance schedule depending on the amount of foot traffic and soiling. Wood flooring doesn’t require as much maintenance as carpet. Wood flooring is also stain-resistant and easy-to-clean, reports House-Energy. For example, spills may permanently damage carpet, but can be easily wiped off wood. Also, tough stains such as candle wax and paint can be scraped off the wood floors.

The prices of wood flooring and carpet differ. Purchasing standard solid-strip wood floor costs approximately $8 to $12 per square foot or about $1,150 for a 12- by 12-foot room as of 2006, cites Cost Helper. The cost doesn’t include custom wood patterns, odd-shaped rooms or ripping out old flooring. Decent carpeting and padding can usually be installed for $19 to $38 a square yard, or $300 to $600 for a 12- by 12-foot room as of 2006, explains Cost Helper.

Some stores offer free padding when they install carpet. However, an individual should ask questions about the type of padding offered. Good padding typically assists in the life span of carpet. Wood flooring can be easier to maintain as long as the floor isn’t neglected. For example, wood flooring can last a lifetime when it’s properly maintained. However, carpet may last--on average--12 years before it needs to be replaced.


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