This is a very old debate, and it can never be resolved completely. Each home owner will have their own priorities and their own opinions. However, going over the most relevant strengths and weaknesses of each flooring type might make it a little easier to make your mind up.
Carpeting – Pros
- You will pay less per square foot for good carpeting than good hardwood flooring
- Carpeting is much faster and easier to install than wood flooring, especially on a DIY level
- Dirt and dust are less apparent on a carpeted floor than on a wood one
- You have a very wide choice of colour and pattern with carpet
- Many carpets are made partially of recycled material, and can themselves be recycled
- Carpeted floors are substantially warmer in the winter months
- Carpeted floors are quieter than wooden ones, and can block noise between levels of the building
Carpeting – Cons
- Carpeting can trap dust and allergens, a big point if someone I the family suffers from allergies
- Carpeting can wear out in as little as a few years, and even high-end carpeting rarely lasts more than 10-15 years
- Carpeting is prone to staining
- Styles in carpeting change regularly, and certain designs can become outmoded long before they wear out
The most important points about carpet for landlords and renters
From the landlord’s point of view, carpeting costs less in the short term, and has an advantage over hardwood flooring in that it can be changed quickly between tenants in order to make the property ‘feel’ new. However, many landlords favour inexpensive carpet for this reason, which wears out very quickly. Carpeting therefore represents a frequent, ongoing expense.
For renters the choice is almost completely aesthetic. Individual renters will have their own tastes in flooring. Some will avoid homes with carpeting they don’t like, so many landlords simply choose neutral colours and patterns that hide dirt well.
Hardwood Floors – Pros
- Very long lasting, and can be refinished without being replaced
- Wood flooring with a noticeable grain is very forgiving of dents and scratches
- Wood is a natural, renewable and sustainable material
- Crumbs and dirt are easier to spot on a wood floor, and spills can be cleaned up entirely
- Hardwood floors can significantly increase the rental or resale value of a home
- Area rugs can be used in those areas where carpeting would be most desirable
Hardwood Floors – Cons
- Is typically more expansive than carpet at comparable levels of quality
- Can be cold in the winter
- Hardwood floors require more frequent cleaning than carpets
- Failing to look after a hardwood floor properly can require expensive repairs
The most important points about Hardwood flooring for landlords and renters
To landlords and property developers, hardwood flooring is essentially an investment. It costs noticeably more to install than carpet, but if done well the home will command a higher rental or sale price. Landlords in particular will like the fact that it will not typically have to be changed or refinished between tenants in the way that carpet often is. On the other hand, if a tenant does damage a wood floor badly, their security deposit is unlikely to cover the cost of putting it right.
Hardwood floors really appeal to certain renters, and those that seek them out understand that they will increase the cost of the property. Others will prefer carpeting, especially in cooler parts of the country.
Is there a clear winner? No. Hardwood flooring could make many high-end homes noticeably more profitable, but may not make any real difference in low-end properties. Keep these factors in mind when making your choice, and don’t lose sight of your priorities. Just remember to choose the best flooring for the tenants you wish to attract, and keep the bottom line in mind.