We take a look at the pros and cons of carpets and wooden floors - and which is best suited to your home.
How do you turn a house into a home? Through a series of personalised touches that add warmth and comfort, of course. It could be as simple as hanging new curtains – or changing your floors. But what flooring is best for you house, and which flooring options best suit your individual rooms? Here’s some advice that will hopefully help you find the answers.
Wooden floors are often associated with elegance, style, richness and a certain kind of old fashioned warmth. Wood flooring has many pros to offset its relatively few cons. For example, it’s durable; with a little loving care they can last a lifetime. It’s also easy to clean, doesn’t absorb smells (and the smell of a freshly polished wooden floor is wonderful) and is great for people with allergies as it doesn’t harbour dust mites and other allergens.
Wood floors are also timeless – they don’t date or go out of style like some carpets or vinyl flooring options. They’re relatively neutral, which means you can decorate your house in any colour or style without worrying about a jarring clash of colours or patterns.
As Liam Walker, Head of Online at BestatFlooring explains ‘‘personally, there’s no escaping the fact that hardwood flooring is aesthetically pleasing and suits all areas of your home.
Hardwood is also more advantageous from a cleanliness standpoint, as it does not collect either dust or dirt and is easy to clean with a vacuum or a quick sweep. If it starts to look worn it can simply be refinished not replaced like most other products."
On the con side of things, wooden floors are more expensive than other types of flooring. A cheap “cheat” is to get vinyl or LVT (luxury vinyl tile) flooring in wooden shades and patterns, or you could get reclaimed wood floors, which have the added satisfaction of being sustainable.
Traditionally, wooden floors have been thought to add value to your property, making them a good investment when you think “its time to sell my property”. However, in March 2014, the Office for National Statistics revealed that, in the UK at least, wooden flooring is out and carpet floors, especially woolly, shaggy carpets are in.
If you have your heart set on wood, where should you put it?
You could put wooden floors in your bedroom, but consider how it would feel putting your bare feet on a cold floor when you need to go to the bathroom at 3am. According to Lincolnshire Flooring, you can’t put underfloor heating beneath a wooden floor, so that’s out. (Although, Warmup reckons wood floors are ideal for underfloor heating – talk to several experts before you make your decision.)
You also shouldn’t put wooden floors in rooms with high humidity or where liquid spills could be an issue, so that rules out the kitchen and laundry.
Wooden floors go well in hallways, where they made a spectacular impact on guests, and in lounges, dining rooms or studies. Add a shaggy mat or two to the room and you have the best of both worlds.
Carpets also have their pros and cons. For example, carpets are warmer than any other hard flooring options, like wood, vinyl, linoleum and laminate floors (no cold feet when you get out of bed on a cold winter’s day). They’re soft, which makes them comfy to walk on and sit on, and which adds an element of safety if you have kids who run pell-mell through your house. Carpets absorb sound, so you don’t hear echoes of rambunctious children or barking dogs throughout the house. They’re also more energy efficient, as they provide some extra thermal insulation.
Carpets can be statement pieces. You can be as bold and bright as you like. While neutral carpets provide a blank slate against which you can style your décor. It’s also quicker, easier and cheaper to install carpets than a wooden floor, especially solid wood or parquet flooring.
As Lauren Haynes, cleaning expert at Star Domestic Cleaners states "‘The first consideration when trying to decide between carpet and wooden flooring is the difference in noise that you will experience. There is no getting away from the fact that walking on wooden flooring is much noisier than its carpet counterpart, even in bare feet. Of course, you can cover the flooring with rugs. But that defeats the point of having lovely gleaming wooden flooring, also, rugs can slip, which is a hazard when you have young kids running or crawling around the place.’’
Carpet cons include difficulty to clean – steaming is recommended at least once a year, as vacuuming doesn’t lift as much dirt as you’d like. They can stain easily, although many stain-resistant carpets are now available. They’re not ideal for people with allergies, as they trap mites, pollen and pet hair.
If carpets are your thing, where you should you put them?
Anywhere you like really. The only rooms where carpets aren’t recommended are kitchens and bathrooms. Bear in mind that high-traffic areas (like the main bedrooms and lounge) will require stronger, better quality (and more expensive) carpets than low-traffic areas (like the spare room).
What about laminate and vinyl flooring and tiles?
Laminate flooring and tiles (especially LVTs) are becoming increasingly popular thanks to improved standards of production. You can now get good quality laminate and lino floors and tiles in a variety of colours and patterns, even those that mimic wood.
LVTs are great in kitchens and bathrooms, as they don’t mind humidity or water and are easy to clean, not to mention durable. Vinyl is also good for kitchens, but laminate isn’t ideal because if the backing gets wet it expands. For this reason, laminate floors aren’t best for bathrooms either, but vinyl flooring works well and so do LVTs.
We hope this helps you choose the right flooring for your house. And remember, if you want to add to the value of your house before you sell it, you can consult an online estate agent like Tepilo for advice.