Choosing between carpet or hardwood flooring may seem like a simple proposition dictated solely by cost, but nothing could be further from the truth. “When selecting flooring for residential and commercial properties – whether it’s carpet or hardwood – it is important to consider design, comfort, price and sustainability,” says Julius Shaw, executive vice president of Shaw Industries in Dalton, Ga.


The Advantages of Carpet

Carpet in commercial spaces provides an opportunity for businesses to weave their own brand identity into their office space, says Shaw. Additional benefits of carpet include:

  • Carpet delivers underfoot comfort important in health care, education and retail settings where staff, patients and students are on their feet all day.
  • Carpet cushions slips, falls and noise pollution.
  • Carpet is a natural insulator, providing additional warmth in cold seasons.

The Disadvantages of Carpet

There are some drawbacks when choosing carpets:

  • Patterned carpets usually have loops that can get pulled, resulting in damage to the carpet. Patterns also have to match their surroundings, which means you may need the input of a decorator, especially if your carpet is going to be seen by prospective tenants.
  • Carpet soils easily. This synthetic fiber is used to make clothing, upholstery, wallpaper and ropes.

The Advantages of Hardwood

“Wood enhances the beauty of a room and can increase the feel of comfort in public spaces,” says New York interior designer Robin Wilson. “Also, many people feel that hardwood can be symbolic of the durability of a business.” Other benefits of hardwood floors include:

  • Damaged wood can be sanded and refinished, rather than replaced.
  • Wood doesn’t collect as much dust and allergens.

The Disadvantages of Hardwood

Despite their rich appearance and durability, hardwood floors do have some noteworthy disadvantages:

  • Wood expands during periods of high humidity. If installed incorrectly, hardwood floors can buckle against a wall.
  • Wood floors can fade, splinter, dent or break, and they’re highly sensitive to the moisture from hot water heaters, bathrooms or washer leaks.

“With hardwood flooring, watch for petroleum-based sealants. Try to ensure sealants are nontoxic.”