Carpet, Hardwood, Tile: Which Type of Flooring is Best for Your Home

When you decide to remodel your home, you have so many different options thrown your way, and it can be difficult to make the best decisions for your family and your home’s value. Though you may want to upgrade your master bedroom to a spa-like paradise, it may be much better for your family and your home’s bottom line to fix up your kids’ bathroom and make it more accessible, rather than putting in expensive vanities and a whirlpool tub in your own bathroom.

Making decisions about your floors — whether you choose carpet, hardwood or tile — can land you with the same problem. After all, all three flooring options have different pros and cons, and depending on your family’s lifestyle and the style of your home, you may opt for one option over the others.

The key to making decisions about flooring is to weigh your options and make the best decision for your family, your wallet and your home. When choosing new flooring for the room, you also need to consider:

  • Foot traffic: How many people will be going through this room every day?
  • Decor: What will look best aesthetically?
  • Wear and tear: How long do you need this flooring to last?

When you factor in all of these things, you should be able to decide which flooring option is best for your home. Now all you’ll have to do is decide the color or finish. To help you navigate the different flooring options, here is our complete guide to choosing the best flooring.

The pros and cons of carpet

You know you’ve just stepped onto the freshly laid carpet when your feet stand almost pillow-like on it for the first time. Out of all the flooring types, your feet will almost always prefer carpet above all else. That doesn’t mean you can’t have other flooring options, but if what you’re looking for is something soft for your family, look no further than carpet.

Carpet is a family favorite for many reasons, but probably first and foremost, it’s the softest. If you have young children in your home or plan to, a soft place to play benefits them, and you can be sure that when your child trips and falls — it’s inevitable after all — that there will be a soft landing below. 

In terms of efficiency, carpet can be a major energy saver in your home. When laid down, it acts as another layer of insulation, just like the insulation in your walls. It can trap heat as well as cool air and keep your rooms feeling warm in the winter and cool in the summertime. In the long run, you might have money on your energy bills because your carpet stops the warm or cool air from escaping. If going green is in your purview, then carpet can help make that happen.

When you have so many people moving around your home and going about their usual business, it can get noisy. If you’re trying to watch TV in the living room and someone in the den is playing a video game, the sound between your two TVs can almost overpower each other and leave you both reaching for the volume button on your TV. However, carpeted rooms absorb more sound than tile or hardwood, so the noise you make in one room is less likely to carry over into the next room. This can be a lifesaver for smaller homes.

In the long run, carpet can be extremely durable. These days, manufacturers have improved the quality of carpet, making it more durable to high-traffic areas. Homeowners also have tons of styles to choose from when it comes to carpets, from color to texture to pile height. No matter what your style is, you can almost certainly find a good carpet option. With good care, the carpet you lay down in your home should last a long time.

So what’s the catch? If there were no drawback with carpet, we’d all have homes filled with it.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of carpet is the upkeep. You do need to vacuum your carpet once or twice a week depending on where it is and how much traffic it receives, which can be difficult when you have so many other things you’d rather be doing at home. 

You also have to watch for potential spills with carpet because it can easily be stained. If you don’t catch a spill right away, you will have a stain that will be tough to eliminate, and there are only so many carpet cleaners in the world. For young children that will almost certainly spill, carpet can be a mixed endeavour.

The pros and cons of hardwood

When you visit an older home that has been kept in good condition over the years, you can immediately tell just by looking at the hardwood floors. When they’re shined and well-maintained, hardwood floors elevate a room, so it stands to say that one of the biggest pros of hardwood floors is the look of them in general. 

Whether they’re original to the home or installed by a later owner, hardwood floors can be a major selling point down the line when you decide to sell your home. Not only will you get a better price for your home (though don’t expect your home’s resale value to cancel out the cost of putting down hardwood floors), but it will also make your home more attractive to buyers. Buyers may have their list of needs, but beautiful hardwood floors can sometimes tip the scales when your home is meets most though not all of their requirements.

Hardwood floors stand the test of time in the long run when they’re properly cared for. That means regular vacuuming and sweeping as well as washing with a reputable wood cleaner. Even if your hardwoods are looking a little worn after some time, it’s not hard to restore them to their former glory. You can also find experts in Houston to help you restore your floors, and even then, they will continue to last.

Like carpet, there are also plenty of varieties when it comes to hardwood floors. There are different plank sizes, finishes, stains and woods to choose from. With so many options, you’re sure to find something that will work for the style of your room.

As with any type of flooring, there are some drawbacks to hardwood floors. Most notably is the cost. Hardwood floors can be very expensive in both material costs and labor costs to install them. If you’re buying hardwood floors, you don’t want to cut corners with costs. The best thing to do is research costs up front so you have an idea of what you’ll be paying and then go to showrooms and ask for estimates. If you need more time to save, that’s okay.

Hardwood floors can also be cold to the touch, and that can be a problem for homes that already have trouble retaining heat. Older homes with poor insulation can be cold in the wintertime, and  adding hardwood floors to that won’t help much. While you can lay down a rug to help mitigate that chill, hardwood floors will let heat escape. You may end up spending more in the wintertime just to keep your home warm.

Noise is also an issue with hardwood floors. They don’t absorb sound as well as carpet, so you will always know when someone is moving around your home. In large homes with a lot of hardwood flooring, that noise can easily carry all over, making it hard to watch TV or listen to music without bothering others. While rugs and furniture can help mitigate the sound, hardwood creaks and squeaks — there’s not steal movement possible through the home.

The pros and cons of tile

A favorite choice for bathrooms and kitchens, tile can be one of the most versatile choices for flooring. It has a lot of benefits, and while it’s not perfect, it offers plenty of perks.

In the first place, tile is extremely durable. You can try to scratch it and damage it, but unless you have some pretty big powertools, you’re not going to hurt tile. That’s good news for those with pets and children running around your home. Even if messes are made, clean-up is easy with tile. Wipe it up and go one your way.

Tile also comes in a variety of materials and styles, which means putting in tile flooring can vary in price. As with anything else, you get what you pay for, so if you opt for something cheap, then you may be replacing it within a few years. It may not be in everyone’s budget to install high-end ceramic tile (and that’s totally fine), but there are a lot of options in the middle. 

When it is laid down, tile locks into place, and when done well, tile becomes completely water-proof — the big reason why it’s so popular in bathrooms and kitchens. The grout between tile completely seals it against all water. In rooms where mold is common because of the moisture, tile can stop water from seeping down into the foundation of your home or into the cracks along the wall.

Best of all, once tile is laid down, it’s going to stay in a home for decades. It is difficult to remove once it is installed, but if you choose a color or pattern that has some staying power and isn’t too trendy, then you won’t want to change it for as long as you stay in your home.

Best type of flooring for kitchens and bathrooms

When choosing a floor for your kitchen, your first priority should be to think about who lives in your home and what your future will look like in your home. Do you have young kids now? Teenagers? Toddlers? Do you entertain often with just adults or adults and kids? In five years, will your kids be driving off to hang out with friends or inviting the neighborhood kids over to a sleepover?

It should go without saying the carpet is not ideal for kitchens. Carpets soak up moisture, and if they’re not dried properly, mold will almost certain start to grow around it.

Depending on your lifestyle, you will probably either choose hardwood or tile for your kitchen. There’s no denying that tile is probably the more ideal choice for kitchens. It’s long lasting, easy to clean and highly durable as well as waterproof. However, hardwood floors do look beautiful in kitchens, and they too can be durable and long lasting, though they’re not scratch-resistant and can be damaged if something heavy is dropped on them.

That’s why analyzing your lifestyle is an important step to choosing a floor choice. If you have toddlers or very young children, tile may be your better option because it will withstand everything that comes with having children — spilled glasses, md tracked in from outside and huge slumber parties with lots of screaming friends. While you may worry about running out of snacks, you won’t ever worry about damage coming to your floors. With hardwood, you may feel anxious any time you think your kids might drop something in the kitchen.

In bathrooms, tile is by far the preferable choice. Even though hardwoods can withstand some moisture, your bathroom is almost always filled with moisture. Over time, that moisture can sink into the wood, warp it and even rot it. With people stepping in and out of the shower and spraying water around, it’s impossible to keep moisture away from hardwood floors. Unless you’re putting it in a half bathroom with no tub or shower, hardwood floors should mainly stay out of the bathroom.

When it comes to choosing the right floors, you have so many options for just about every budget. You don’t have to spend a fortune on flooring, and there are a lot of in-between options and will make your home look great for years to come.

Tell us: Which flooring is your preference? We want to know so share with us in the comments.

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