Carpets vs. Wood Floors: Which is Better for Your Home?

Dec 23, 2023

If you’re choosing new floors for your home, two popular options are carpeting or exposed wood floorboards. Both have attractive qualities and downsides regarding appearance, comfort, maintenance and durability. Ultimately carpet and hardwood suit different lifestyles and settings. Read on as we compare these flooring materials in depth to help guide the better choice for your household.

As veteran wood floor specialists here at, we focus on restoring existing boards or installing new timber planks. But we often get asked how carpeting compares. In this unbiased guide, we’ll outline the pros and cons, cost differences and ideal placement rooms for each flooring type. Let’s dive in!

Key Comparisons Between Carpet and Wood Floors

Comfort & Warmth – Carpeting offers cushioned softness underfoot, excellent insulation from cold floors and helps reduce impact noise transfer between floors. Hardwood provides no sound dampening and feels harder underfoot, especially solid wood styles without cushioned backing.

Winner: Carpet

Durability & Longevity – Well-maintained wood can easily last 100+ years thanks to thick oak and pine planking, durable finishes and renewability from sanding/refinishing over time. Even budget engineered wood outlasts carpet. Fuzzing, crushing, staining and mold damage leads carpet to be replaced every 5-15 years.

Winner: Wood

Health & Allergies – Carpets trap dust, dirt, pet dander, mold and bacteria down below piles leading to poor indoor air quality for allergy sufferers or families with young children. Bare swept wood requires fewer chemicals for deep cleaning. Unfinished solid planks with growth rings visible aid moisture control.

Winner: Wood

Comparisons Between Carpet and Wood Floors

Appearance & Design – Carpeting offers near endless color/pattern possibilities to match any decor. But overtime matting leads to visible wear areas. Refinished hardwood develops a prized aged patina over decades. Exposed wood adds character to older homes and complements Farmhouse, Cottage or Modern looks.

Winner: Wood (for customizability – Carpet)

Maintenance & Cleaning – Routine sweeping and damp mopping keeps sealed wood floors tidy for years with periodic rewaxing. However urine accidents can lead to permanent staining/warping without swift cleanup. Annual carpet steam cleaning only postpones inevitable replacement when crushed matting and bald patches appear after prolonged use.

Winner: Wood

Safety & Falls – Well-constructed hardwood offers firm, level footing ideal for active families and elderly household members using walkers or canes. Plush carpeting contributes to slips and falls according to insurance statistics. Rug pads minimize shifting but add to replacement costs over time.

Winner: Wood

Eco-Friendliness – Sustainably forested hardwoods like oak and maple represent renewable resources for flooring. Sanding reclaims much existing solid flooring too. Carpet off-gases VOCs initially and later fills landfills. Most contain petroleum-based nylon/polyester fibers and toxic adhesives when replaced.

Winner: Wood

Resale Value – Refinished original wood or premium new plank flooring offers an excellent return on investment for homeowners. Outdated carpet deducts value requiring removal before sales. As a rule, 70-80% of homebuyers prefer wood floors nowadays according to realtors.

Winner: Wood

Ideal Placement for Carpets vs. Wood Flooring

Now that we’ve directly compared carpeting and hardwood floors across popular selection criteria, where exactly are each best suited in homes?

Carpeting works best in bedrooms, nurseries and basement rec rooms where softness, warmth and sound absorption rank as high priorities for peaceful relaxation, play or entertainment. Multi-level homes full of families appreciate noise reduction from wall-to-wall carpeting on upper floors too. Just beware moisture issues below grade.

Ideal Placement for Carpets

Wood floors shine in main living areas like kitchens, dining rooms, entries and hallways. Their durable finish handles heavy foot traffic and accidental spills while promoting better indoor air quality. Wood also suits room makeovers for aging in place thanks to safety and cane/walker mobility along with timeless visual appeal.

Ideal Placement for wood flooring

What About Other Flooring Materials?

Carpet and wood both have advantages in certain settings balanced by drawbacks. Other floor options attempt to bridge these gaps while offering their own unique benefits. Let’s quickly compare with tile, vinyl and laminate options:

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile – Impervious to moisture with endless style/pattern options. Hard, cold underfoot. Risks cracks and slippery falls. High installation costs and tough DIY.

Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) – Dent/scratch-resistant and completely waterproof. Large replications of natural wood/tile looks. Sweeping and damp mopping keeps clean like wood. Not easily renewable or as long-lasting as real wood.

Laminate Flooring – Affordable imitation of pricier hardwood. Snap-lock floating installation for DIY-friendly renovations. Vulnerable to moisture damage causing buckling and bulging. Unable to sand and refinish when worn like real timber.

No matter your preferred flooring material – you can trust the experts at to restore existing boards to like-new beauty or install new oak and pine to the highest standards. Get in touch today for a FREE quote on renewing your home’s floors with our decades of experience!

The Cost Difference Between Carpet vs. Wood

Now to the crucial question facing homeowners on tight budgets – how much more expensive is wood flooring compared to carpet? Let’s break down average material and installation costs:

Carpet –

Materials – $2-8 per square foot
Installation – $1-2 per square foot Total Cost Range – $3-10 per square foot

Hardwood – Basic oak material and installation pricing

Materials – $4-12 per square foot
Installation – $3-5 per square
Total Cost Range – $7-17 per square foot

Other cost considerations for hardwood not factored above:

  • Species choice – exotic woods, hand-scraped, extra wide planks
  • Distressing & custom stains
  • Site finished vs. prefinished boards
  • Subfloor prep & repairs needed
  • Furniture moving/storage during install

As you can see, quality wood costs approximately 2-3x more than broadloom carpeting on average. But it adds much more long-term property value while avoiding frequent carpet replacement costs. We always recommend buying the best hardwood floor you can afford as an asset that lasts decades and pays owners back over time.


Evaluating carpet vs. wood floors involves many trade-offs across style, livability, maintenance and budgets. As flooring material experts, we believe bare timber offers superior durability, eco-friendliness and home value boosts that justify added initial pricing. But carpet remains the optimal choice for certain settings focused on cozy softness and sound absorption.

We hope this detailed comparison and cost breakdown helps homeowners select the best floors moving forward! Get in touch with any lingering questions or to request quotes tailored to your project’s exact specifications.