Living room hardwood floors

It’s a thought that many owners of homes with carpeted floors will have at some point: Should I get hardwood floors?

Hardwood flooring is a hot commodity in the real estate market; one study found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home that has it. It can also be a beautiful addition to just about any home and can greatly increase your enjoyment of your home. However, there are some downsides to consider as well.

Would hardwood floors make a good addition to your home? Let’s consider some pros and cons.

Pros of Wood Floors

    • Added value to your home: Hardwood floors are at the top of the “must have” list for many potential home buyers. Trading your wall-to-wall carpet for some wood flooring could increase the value of your house and make it easier to sell when the time for that comes.
    • Durable and long-lasting: A good wood floor can last a lifetime, literally, according to a National Association of Home Builders report on life expectancy of common household components. Contrast this with carpet, which the report said should be replaced every 8 – 10 years. Additionally, soiled or stained carpet will generally need to be replaced to make it look new again; whereas, wood floors can be refinished if you want to revitalize them, saving you the cost of replacement.
    • Easier to clean: Wood floors won’t harbor stains and odors the same way carpet will. This can be especially nice if you have kids who are prone to spilling colorful juices. As long as you clean up liquids right away and make sure the floor is properly dried, you won’t have any long-term reminders of the time you forgot to double-check the lid on the sippy cup. For everyday or weekly cleaning, a vacuum and dust mop are easy ways to keep the floor looking nice. For deep cleaning, any commercial hardwood floor cleaner will do the job.
    • It looks nice: There’s something to be said for the aesthetic value wood flooring adds. Wood floors add beauty to your home and tend to be easier to pair décor with. Plus, wood flooring comes in many different types and colors, which can always be sanded down and re-stained to suit your tastes.

Cons of Wood Floors

      • Price: Wood floors are considered a home upgrade, and they don’t come cheap. While this can work in your favor if there ever comes a day when you need to sell your home, the upfront cost can be a barrier to those you might love the look but don’t have the cash. The cost varies depending on the type of wood used. Though, on average, installing wood flooring will cost you around $4,400. However, more exotic woods can be significantly more expensive, costing you upwards of $10,000, depending on the type of wood you use and the square footage you’re installing.
      • Shows wear and tear: Be prepared that your brand new floor won’t look brand new for very long. Shoes, furniture, pet claws and the like will scratch and ding up your floor over time, especially if it’s installed in a high-traffic area, like your kitchen. This means if you want to keep your floors looking nice, you’ll likely have to spring for a refinishing job from time to time. These can run anywhere from around $1,000 – $3,500; although, the average is $1,641, according to HomeAdvisor.
      • Susceptible to water damage: Wood flooring doesn’t do well with moisture. If you spill, have a pet that’s not house-trained or live in a flood-prone area, you’re going to have to take some extra care to make sure the floor that you put all that time and money into doesn’t end up needing expensive repairs. Even if it’s just a small puddle, you need to wipe it up and ensure the area is completely dried as quickly as possible: Water can seep in through the cracks between the boards, putting you at risk for mold growth.
      • Noisy: With carpeting, your floors have a buffer that absorbs a lot of the noises one makes while existing in a room: adults walking, children playing, pets running. Wood floors don’t give you this same buffer, meaning you’ll hear it every time the person in the room above you gets up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. If you live on an upper floor of a condo or apartment, your downstairs neighbors will be able to hear your every step, so you might get some complaints. If you’re really set on wood flooring and want to mitigate the noise in your house, try putting down a few area rugs to muffle your loud steps.

The Verdict

Whether you decide to take the plunge and install hardwood flooring or not is going to be up to your taste and your budget. If you’re able to afford it and want a floor that is easy to clean and adds value to your home, it might be worth considering. However, if you don’t want to deal with the upkeep that can sometimes come with having wood flooring, you might find that the high cost isn’t worth it or isn’t feasible.

If you really want wood flooring but are stuck on some of the cons, consider if there are any workarounds that could make it worth it. If you’re worried about noise, you could have them installed only in your ground-level rooms and put down area rugs. If you don’t have the cash to tear up all your carpet and put down wood throughout your house, only do one or two rooms.

Whether you choose hardwood, carpet or something else entirely, make sure you (and your feet) are going to be happy with your choice in the long run.

Do you love or hate your hardwood flooring? Tell us in the comments!

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Its a fact about pros and cons of different kind of flooring and i’m really glad to know that your blog post is very helpful for me even i prefer laminate flooring in all of them.

  2. Adding the laminate floors was easy. We removed all the carpet and my wife and I did the whole house in less than 3 weeks. It looks beautiful, However, I’d like to point out some things we’ve noticed.
    Our house is built on a concrete slab. Because of that we added a high quality sub covering vinyl with a seal edge under the laminate to prevent moisture from affecting the new floor. Laminate flooring will expand at the edges if moisture gets between the joints. If you are going to install laminate, look for a high quality laminate flooring with edge seal. Make sure you leave at least a 1/4″ gap around the edge of the room for expansion or your floor will buckle up during expansion.
    We have also noticed a marked increase in the noise level in the room. This is because of the hard sound reflective surface. I agree with a previous comment by another person that getting out of bed onto a cold floor is not desirable. So we too added a small carpet at the bedside. If I were to do it again I’d leave out removing the carpet in the bedrooms.
    Laminate floors seem to keep the house cooler in the Summer, but we’ve noticed an increase cost to heat the house in the winter as the floors are cold and you can’t heat the concrete slab.
    So, my advise is to leave the carpet in the bedrooms and do only the halls, living/dining/family and office rooms with laminate and purchase small throw rugs for those areas of high traffic. Make sure you put soft pads under legs of furniture and if you have to move a piece of furniture get someone to help you pick it up and don’t drag across the floor.

  3. You have a great post. If you are thinking of installing a hardwood floor, consider the expense as an investment in your home. It will add a lot of value whenever you decide to sell. While wood is definitely more expensive than other flooring (with a large, upfront cost), it will almost definitely add back more value to the home than what you spend on the boards.

  4. For me, the big issue with wooden floors is that horrible cold feeling in winter when you wake up and put your feet on the floor in order to stand up. It makes you want to crawl back into bed right away! However, I feel as though the aesthetic value of wooden floors makes up for this.

  5. Great article! I always find more pros of wooden floors. First they are amazing to look at. Two, they are giving the house or apartment that home feel that carpet doesnt give.Three, carpet breeds bacteria like crazy and knowing how so many Americans walk around their house in the shoes ON CARPET where their children play, it makes complete sense to install hard wood floors, because its far more easier to clean. I found some very nice floors at http://pidfloors.com/ and they look so nice in our living room. LOVE their Inlove collection.

  6. Time to sell is a huge factor in selling as you pointed out in the Realtor.com article. If installing hardwood flooring helps me sell my home faster even though I might lose a few bucks on the transaction, I’m for it since a shorter sell time is like having money in my pocket.
    Len from stairsupplies.net

  7. Before finally deciding on the flooring type that you will have for your home or business establishment, determining the pros and cons for this material is a good idea. In this way, you get to weigh your options and come up with a better decision.

  8. Talk to your contractor to be sure he or she knows how to avoid or minimize a halo or picture framing effect, the result of differences between sanding depth in the floor’s center and the depth at the edges. Scratch patterns from buffer or edger sanding can add to a halo effect.

  9. I’m searching the web regarding hardwood flooring for commercial floor coverings and I’m glad I found your very informative blog. All business establishments/houses should consider hardwood flooring because it gives decent looks to your establishment/house. This is one thing that should never be missed. Thanks for sharing!

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