Carpet Or Hard-Surface Flooring, Which is Really Best?

The answer might surprise you. Many homeowners are learning how expensive shortsightedness can be. However, many others still don’t know the whole story: For roughly 10 years, the popularity of hard-surface floors were abounding as carpet sales dropped. However, for the last three years, carpet sales have been on the rise again. Why the turnaround?

The two primary reasons many people went to hard surfaces were:
1. Ease of maintenance. Sweep it, mop it, and forget it… so they thought. And with hard surfaces, they no longer had to endure the ugly, dirty pathways associated with carpeting.

2. Once hard surfaces were installed, they no longer had to be concerned with replacing them, at least not for a very long time.
So, the additional expense seemed worth it. However, once they had spent far more money (than carpet) buying stone, ceramic tile, hardwood and other hard surface types, many people found that their insights were not all that insightful: They discovered that:

1. Hard surface floors accumulate soils just like carpeting. They found that many hard surface types were just as difficult (if not more) to clean than carpet. Simply mopping the floors didn’t remove the ugly dirt that had collected in crevices and grout lines.
2. They now had a noise pollution problem in their homes. Quieter, previously-carpeted rooms suddenly became nosier because hard surfaces didn’t absorb sound.
3. The likelihood of physical injuries from falls was greater, having no carpet and pad, no softness under foot, to fall upon. And they found that there were more falls from coming indoors with damp shoe leather on rainy days. Children and the elderly were injured most commonly.
4. There were no excessively soiled carpet pathways, however now the soils were distributed equally all over the house.
5. Indoor air quality had dropped, and allergy problems increased significantly. Air currents created by foot traffic and air handling systems stirred settled dust back into the air, while carpeting did a better job of holding it in place. They found that they couldn’t sweep their hard surfaces but had to mop, because sweeping stirred dust into the air.
6. Due to #5 flooring maintenance increased from a weekly vacuum of carpets to a daily need to sweep or swiffer the hard surface flooring. Additionally costs to maintain air ducts and filters also increased.
7. When it became time to have a professional deal with hard floor cleaning or restoring they also discovered that the costs of such procedures were much higher than maintaining carpeting.
While their hard surfaces endured longer than carpet; when people got bored of the same décor changing out the expensive hard surface flooring was going to be a costly venture. Yes, they could buy new furniture and drapes but these new furnishing somehow didn’t look all that new in a room with old floors (that they were tired of looking at but had spent untold thousands more to install or replace compared to carpeting).
In hind-sight it appears that carpeting offers far more advantages than hard surfaces, which explains the increase in carpet sales. Still, it’s also obvious that hard or soft there is no final solution to the floor-maintenance problem.

We must accept the fact that whatever covers the floor has to be cleaned and should be cleaned properly. Furthermore, proper maintenance is no job for a ‘handyman.’ It requires knowledge, expertise and caring.

Tom Schubert

Author: Tom Schubert

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