Carpet vs. Hardwood Floors: The Best Choice For Your Home

Carpet vs. hardwood. This hotly debated topic is an important one not just when deciding on flooring to fit your preferences while living in the home, but also to fit buyer’s preferences in preparation for selling your home.

Both materials are commonly used, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. So which should you choose? How can you decide? You’re about to find out in this guide.

The facts about carpet

Carpet is often chosen due for affordability and comfort, but there are several advantages that come with carpet:

Quick and easy installation

As long as your subfloor is in good condition, installing carpeting simply requires laying down and cutting the pad and carpeting to size, and then securing it at the edges. This is in contrast to wood flooring, which requires the installation of individual planks and, therefore, can take much longer. 


Of course, different types of carpet flooring will be more expensive than others. That said, carpet is, generally speaking, a more cost-effective flooring option than hardwood. (Stay tuned for some specific price ranges later.)


Carpeting makes rooms feel warmer and cozier. As such, it’s often used in bedrooms and basements. 


Carpet is available in a variety of styles, thicknesses, textures, and colors, making it easier to achieve a specific look and feel. 

Noise dampening

Especially if your house has more than one story or a ton of foot traffic, carpet’s ability to reduce noise can help ensure peace and quiet. This feature makes it especially popular in nurseries. 

Plus, carpeting can also be more comfortable to walk on and give rooms a softer vibe. But what are some reasons you might decide against carpet? Its cons include: 


Most wouldn’t consider carpet a high-maintenance material, but it is more difficult to care for than hardwood floors. Over time and despite regular vacuuming, it can also be tough to keep a carpet free of stains and wear from spills and foot traffic. 

Lack of hypoallergenic qualities

More than 50 million people in the US suffer from allergies each year. Since carpets hang onto allergens like dust and pet dander, they can negatively affect allergy symptoms of a home’s residents. 

A limited lifespan

A lower quality carpet may only last 5-10 years before needing to be replaced; potentially less if it’s not taken care of properly. For example, allowing water to seep into the backing layer of the carpet or, even worse, down to the subfloor, could lead to the growth of hazardous mold that would need to be removed. 

High-quality, well-maintained carpets may last for 10-15 years but this is still less than the average lifespan of hardwood floors.

The facts about hardwood

Hardwood flooring has grown in popularity, primarily for its low-maintenance. Let’s take a look at the biggest pros that come with hardwood floors. 

Widespread appeal

Homeowner and buyer preferences change over the years, but at this time, hardwood flooring is generally seen as the frontrunner in the carpet vs. hardwood flooring debate. The wide appeal means that if you go with hardwood flooring, you’ll be able to attract a broader set of buyers when it’s time to sell.


As with carpeting, you can choose from all sorts of wood flooring from maple to oak to hickory and beyond. There are plenty of options to complement a home’s design and to give a more high-end feel. You can also sand down and re-stain hardwood flooring to give your home a whole new look!


Besides wiping up spills to prevent staining or water damage, sweeping regularly, and damp mopping every so often, there’s relatively little work that goes into maintaining a gorgeous hardwood floor over the years.

A long lifespan

The highest quality hardwood can last 50-100 years if taken care of well, which is far longer than carpeting that needs to be replaced every 5-15 years.

Of course, like any building material, hardwood does come with its own set of cons:

Prone to scratching 

The worst thing about a freshly installed or freshly stained hardwood flooring is that one scratch will be very apparent. If you have hardwood floors, you’ll likely need to overlook some scratches and scuffs from daily use.

Not waterproof

Although it’s often water-resistant, hardwood flooring is not waterproof. This is why you won’t see hardwood in bathrooms where there’s a higher chance of water exposure. 

More expensive

Installing hardwood flooring does cost more than installing carpet. While it’s usually worth the investment, you’ll have to take a look at your preferences and financial flexibility to make the decision that’s right for you. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors involved in choosing between carpet and hardwood—maintenance, cost, and resale value. 

Which requires the least maintenance?

As far as daily maintenance goes, both hardwood and carpet are relatively easy to take care of. Regular vacuuming keeps carpets clean and sweeping and mopping does the same for wood floors. 

But what about long-term maintenance? It’s recommended that carpets be professionally deep cleaned at least once a year for proper maintenance (and maybe more if there are pets or smokers present in a home). 

Hardwood floors, when they start to look really worn, can be completely sanded down and refinished up to 3 or 4 times. If you’d like, you can also freshen them up every few years with a fresh stain.

Maintenance is one of the primary reasons homeowners choose hardwood flooring over carpet flooring, so it’s no surprise that the maintenance of hardwood wins in the maintenance category.

What do hardwood and carpet cost?

Of course, the pricing of both materials will vary based on the style and quality you choose, as well as where your home is located. From most estimates, carpet can cost anywhere from $1-12 per square foot, while hardwood generally costs $3-$20 per square foot. 

When you also factor in installation costs, carpet usually works out to be significantly cheaper. So, if you’re paying for flooring replacement, carpet is a great option to keep your costs low. 

If you’re preparing to sell, using Curbio’s pay-at-closing home improvement model can help you ensure you choose the right material to get top dollar—rather than going with what you have the cash on-hand for. You and your Realtor® can work with Curbio to determine the best flooring material to sell for more in your market.

Once the decision is made, Curbio will manage the entire installation process (and also take on any other repairs and updates necessary to help you sell). Learn more about how to work with Curbio.

Which one has the best resale value?

Because carpet is a cheaper material that’s not meant to last for decades, it doesn’t add much value to a home. Unless you install new carpets immediately before sale, you may not see positive returns. Hardwood flooring, on the other hand, can have significant returns whether installed 10 years or 10 days before selling (of course the returns will be higher if it’s been 10 days). 

If you’re installing new flooring to live with for a few years, then it’s probably best to cater to your preferences. If you’re considering selling soon, then discuss the best option with your Realtor®, who will know what’s trending in your market. 

Hardwood floors vs. carpet: how to decide 

There’s no clear-cut answer on which flooring material is better because they both have their pros and cons! 

Many homeowners use a mix of the two flooring types based on the purposes of individual rooms in their homes. Carpet is more common in bedrooms and basements, while hardwood is the popular choice for most other areas of the home. 

Ultimately, your real estate agent will be able to help you decide on the best type of flooring for your home. If you’re looking to sell, Curbio can install it (and tackle any other improvements you might need) to get your home market-ready. Ask your Realtor® to request an estimate from Curbio today