With so many floor covering options available today, it can be tough to decide what to put on your floor – for example, deciding between carpet and hardwood. Some may wonder if carpet holds any advantages over other types of hard surface floors. While every floor covering product can be shown to have its own advantages and drawbacks, carpet has several distinct benefits when compared to hard surfaces
Despite hard surfaces, such as hardwood, taking up many pages of interior design magazines over recent years, carpet has a style all its own. From luxurious and elegant to casual and comfy, carpet can give a space an entirely different feel, just by changing the style of carpet. Consider a short-pile, patterned carpet for a formal room or a long frieze for a more casual space.
Have you ever noticed that after a period of time spent standing or walking on ceramic tiles or concrete, your body is sore and achy? Hard surfaces are just that: hard. They offer no flexibility underfoot, so they lack the ability to act as shock absorbers for your footsteps. So what does this mean? Basically, it means that as you walk across a hard surface floor, your body gets a bit of a jolt each time you take a step because your body rather than the floor absorbs the force of your impact.
In addition to feeling nice to walk, sit and lay on, carpet provides shock absorption thanks to its flexibility and cushioning. This effect is increased dramatically if there is underpad beneath the carpet. So, not only is carpet more comfortable to the touch, but it is also easier on the body when standing or walking on it over a long period of time.
Carpet provides excellent insulation value to a space, much more than hard surface flooring materials. In a study conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Textile Engineering, results indicated that a thicker carpet provides a higher insulation factor (“R-value”) regardless of the fiber type of the carpet. Also, underpad has its own R-value, and the use of underpad in conjunction with carpet combines the R-value of each material, giving greater overall insulation.
Reducing heat loss means that carpet can help you save on the costs associated with heating a home, such as electricity or natural gas. For regions that experience cold winters, this could amount to big cost savings every year.
It goes without saying that hard surfaces can be slippery, and they’re not much fun to land on when slips and falls do happen. Carpet not only provides a soft landing surface – which can be especially helpful in baby's room – it also helps to prevent some falls in the first place, particularly on stairs. Hardwood stairs present a safety concern, especially when there are very young or elderly residents in the home or occupants with mobility issues. Properly selected carpet increases safety by preventing many slips and falls. Carpet for stairs should ideally be in the 50- to 60-ounce range to provide durability without being too thick.
All products have a range of qualities and price points. Therefore, there is no particular floor covering type that is guaranteed to always be more or less expensive than another. However, in general terms, carpet often costs much less than hard surface floors.
Many hard surface flooring products, such as solid hardwood and vinyl floor, require special preparation before they can be installed. Specific sub-floor requirements must be met, or existing flooring must be coated before installation can occur. Carpet typically eliminates these concerns, as it can be installed over a variety of sub-floors, with far less stringent requirements. This saves a great deal of cost.
Additionally, carpet itself can be less expensive than other materials such as hardwood. So, while of course there are exceptions to every rule, carpet is generally more cost-effective than hard surface flooring.
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