There’s a growing trend across the western world to replace carpets with hard surfaces, especially wood flooring, and here are the three main reasons why:
Carpets, whether they are synthetic or natural (such as wool) harbour dust mites. There is a fact and no matter what your attitude to cleanliness or how fastidious your cleaning regime, if you have carpets, you have dust mites living in them. Dust mites are a leading cause of asthma, particularly in children, a disease which is made worse as our homes become increasingly insulated.
It’s why vacuum cleaner manufacturers spend so much on research and development and use HEPA filters in their machines. To thoroughly clean a carpet requires either toxic chemicals or steam cleaning causing disruption in the home and high expense. By contrast, with a hard floor, there are few places to hide for dust mites and other harmful bugs. A simple mop across the floor with a mild detergent after vacuuming is usually all that is needed to keep your floor clean and looking great.
Wooden flooring has the additional advantage of being inherently antiseptic thanks to natural oils contained within the wood – an advantage sadly lost if a polyeurethane or plastic coating is applied.
2. Wear Rate
There are some carpets with very long wear guarantees – typically those used in public spaces such as shops, hotels, etc. However, even these carpets cannot compete for longevity with most hard surfaces, wood flooring included. It does not take long for foot traffic to begin wearing down carpet fibres as the friction of grit carried under shoes gets to work. Top quality vacuums look to counter this wear by lifting and realigning carpet fibres as they lift dust and dirt, but it is a losing battle.
A carpet simply does not age well – it does not mellow, it just looks shabby. No hard floor is immune to wear, but wooden floors and oak flooring in particular, can look better as they age – mellowing an developing the rich patina which gives them their character. If a patina does not suit you, a solid oak floor finished with a natural oil or wax, can be sanded down and re-oiled to look new once again.
3. Changing Fashion
As fashions change and interior design trends come and go, a carpet can quickly go from being state of the art to yesterday’s look. This is especially true of patterned carpets or those with particularly strong colours. Swapping an old carpet for new can be a costly and disruptive exercise and not one to t be considered lightly. With a natural and neutral wooden floor, fashionable rugs can be laid over and then changed with the times.
The wooden floor itself can be coloured and finished in any number of ways – sanding back to the base wood whenever you fancy a change. This versatility is perhaps the number one reason for wood flooring’s popularity through the decades. The increasing popularity of wood flooring, in particular oak flooring, has meant that prices have begun to tumble. Laying an oak floor now costs little more than fitting a good quality carpet. Given the advantages of oak flooring, it’s little wonder that the carpet industry’s entire existence is now severely threatened.