Replacing carpet with hardwood

It's become an increasingly popular trend in home design. Homeowners are deciding that they've had enough of carpet and would like to replace it with hardwood flooring.

Hardwood floors are touted as a prime feature in new or existing homes for sale. Michele Lerner, writing for the National Association of Realtors, says a recent study using data from the organization found that more than half of homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home with this type of flooring.

Tearing out carpeting and replacing it with hardwood can lead to a stunning revitalization of a room. However, you'll need to make sure that hardwood will work well as a flooring material in your home, and that you can handle some of its downsides.

Hardwood floors have a number of advantages over carpeting. Joseph Lewitin, writing for the home design site The Spruce, says many people simply find its appearance to be more appealing. Nicole Ventura, writing for SVB Wood Floors of Grandview, Mo., says carpet fibers tend to trap dirt, dust, and other debris; not only does this make the carpet harder to clean, it also increases the level of allergens in your home. With hardwood floors, a simple sweeping or vacuuming will clear off the surface.

Hardwood floors are long-lasting, and typically have a more enduring appeal. Carpet may quickly go out of style or begin to clash with your home décor. Lewitin says hardwood floors will easily match a number of items in a room.

A spilled glass of wine or grape juice might leave a lasting stain on a carpet. With a hardwood floor, spills can easily be mopped up. These floors can also be rejuvenated with a refinishing to remove stains or scratches.

Removing carpet to make way for a hardwood floor can be an arduous process. Tim Anderson, writing for SFGate, says trim needs to removed to access the tack strips that are holding down the carpet; this trim also needs to be carefully labeled so it can be put back in place after the hardwood is installed.

In addition to ripping up the carpet, you'll need to take up the padding along with any glue, staples, or other fasteners holding it down. Dane Eckard, writing for Eckard's Flooring of Savannah, Ga., says uneven portions of the subfloor or other imperfections may need to be addressed before hardwood can be put down.

Hardwood floors are typically more costly to install than carpet. The expense of the project will depend on the materials you use, with some woods costing more per square foot than others. Lerner says you might consider a laminate floor, which will mimic the appearance of a hardwood floor but cost considerably less to install.

Before you begin the process of installing a hardwood floor, make sure the moisture levels are sufficient. Elevated humidity can easily cause the floorboards to warp. Eckard says moisture testing will let you know if there are any humidity concerns; even if moisture levels are high, a vapor barrier can be installed to address this issue.

Carpet has some benefits, so you may not want your home to have hardwood floors throughout. Lewitin says the material is softer, quieter, and warmer than hardwood. These qualities often make it a good choice for bedrooms.

Even if you install hardwood floors throughout your home, Lerner says you might want to put throw rugs in certain areas. For example, a rug covering a portion of a bedroom floor will help you avoid the unpleasant sensation of stepping from your bed onto a chilly hardwood floor in the morning.

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