Carpets have been protecting our floors and giving us a warm feeling for many decades. However, more and more people are choosing to place hardwood flooring alternatives, at least in some areas of their homes.
Carpets have not become a thing of the past, but carpet’s sales have progressively slowed down since its boom in the 1960s. Today, the carpet industry growth is nearly flat due to new marketing trends, consumers’ interest, and behavior.
Love them or hate them, carpets have enough advantages for people to want them in their homes still. They also have sufficient disadvantages making other flooring alternatives more appealing today.
We’ll go over these advantages and disadvantages, but first a little history.
A Brief History of the Carpet Industry
The carpet industry experienced a boom in the 1960s, following by a slow down with the recessions of the mid-1970s. As it reached maturity, it maintained a relatively low single-digit growth rate through the 1980s. This low growth resulted in the industry’s consolidation in the 1990s, with a handful of companies headquartered in northwest Georgia.
Today, the carpet industry growth remains flat or is experiencing a slight growth based on figures that combine the carpet and rug industry. However, there is no indication that carpets will disappear any time soon. This is just like window coverings; the demand for different types goes up and down but they are still there.
Contemporary Trends That Have Hurt the Carpet Industry
In recent years, hardwood floors have been advertised as a must-have in your home. Numerous TV shows and magazines promoted this trend, and many homeowners decided to purchase nice-looking hardwood floors instead of carpet.
Because most people can’t afford expensive wood, companies made creative imitations, such as vinyl planks and laminate. Those cheaper options have evolved and become accessible to almost anyone while their quality has increased.
Most people want to make their homes look like they spent more money than they actually did. One-color carpets don’t usually scream “luxury.” Instead, TV shows and magazines have taught us that refined designs need to have layers. Replace your gray carpet with a beautiful wood floor and a nice area rug.
There! You have joined the club of stylish people.
Based on this trend you would think that everybody would end up getting rid of their them. The truth is that a lot of houses still have carpets. Maybe not on every house floor, but it is very typical to see bedrooms with carpet floors in many US homes.
Advantages of Having Carpet
Every floor option has advantages and disadvantages, but carpets have clear benefits that seem to stand the test of time.
For those who like to walk around the house with no slippers, carpets provide an unmistakable comfortable feeling. If you have aching feet, it will work as a nice cushion for your feet. If you are a runner or frequent walker and suffer from plantar fasciitis or have arthritis, you know how much better carpet is than a hardwood floor.
Although carpets can’t create heat, they will help to retain it with their millions of fibers. They can actually function as insulation material if the room is located above a cold basement or the existing insulation is insufficient.
Another good thing about carpets is that they absorb sound, so they are ideal for areas where you want to minimize noise. If your children have their playroom above the living room, a carpet may be the best choice for that room so that you can enjoy some quiet, alone time downstairs.
You can trip in any type of floor, but clearly, hardwood floors are more likely to be slippery. Having carpet on the stairs will not necessarily prevent falls, but will provide better traction than hardwood floor. If you have pets and want them to enjoy the upper floor, having them on the stairs will make it easier for dogs or cats to go up and down the stairs.
Carpet is cheaper than most hardwood options. Although costs will vary greatly depending on the specific materials you choose, labor is always more expensive when installing a hardwood floor, unless you install it yourself. You can expect to spend $8 to $25 per square foot if you choose a hardwood floor. The typical cost is anywhere from $6 to $12 per square foot.
Disadvantages of Having Carpet
Not everything is positive; there are also clear disadvantages of having carpets at home.
If you live in a busy home, hardwood floors can easily be swept and mopped, but carpets must be clean with a vacuum. Even brand new carpet should be cleaned.
If you spill something on the hardwood, you can just wipe it, but if you spill it on a carpet, it can be hard to clean it. Vacuum cleaning animal hair from a thick carpet is also challenging, and you will need a more powerful and more expensive vacuum cleaner.
You can find a company to clean it, but it won’t be cheap. You can deep clean it yourself with some steam cleaners to kill the bacteria, but it takes time and effort to do so.
Some stains are tough or even impossible to remove, and some liquids can forever ruin the carpet. If you accidentally spill some kind of dissolvents or paint removers, it will likely discolor it.
For those suffering from allergies, carpets can become triggers as they may retain dust, animal dander, and pollen.
Mold can also be another irritant causing your allergy. If there is excess moisture in your home, it can be trapped underneath it and become a mold breeding ground.
Carpets also retain odors, which is a problem if you have a pet that has a strong smell or someone at home is a smoker.
Unfortunately, style and trends may affect the resale value of your home. If you have carpet all over your home, potential buyers may think it is an old-fashion home. Some other people may just love it, but all things being equal, you will be better off with a tasteful hybrid approach that includes wood floors.
When choosing your home’s flooring options, you should focus on function and durability. Style is important too, but if the style reduces your quality of life, I wouldn’t follow the trends.