If you suspect your carpet is hiding all types of nastiness, then you’re probably correct. While carpet is one of the cheapest flooring options and adds a lot of warmth to cold floors, it also has some major drawbacks you should be aware of. So what is it you need to know to convince yourself to find flooring options better than carpet?
Carpet actually breeds bacteria, not to mention that nasty particles, such as pet dander and bits of food can get mashed down into the fibers and be next to impossible to remove. Sure, you may be able to freshen the surface up a bit with some baking soda, but that’s not sustainable over a longer period of time. The padding underneath can also grow dirty and you won’t be able to clean it.
Even though the initial investment is less, the cost of keeping carpet clean and in good condition adds up. If you want a more durable option that is less prone to holding nasty germs, there are a number of flooring options better than carpet available. If anyone in your family has allergies or you’re just disgusted at the thought of carpet, then replace it with one of these choices.
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One of the most obvious choices for flooring other than carpet is hardwood flooring. Hardwood has been around for decades, but today you have the option to choose from finished, unfinished, snap together and a variety of wood types, including distressed. Hardwood will last for many years and if it grows scuffed and worn, you can sand it down and refinish it easily.
It is not totally water resistant, and if it gets wet for an extended period of time, it will warp. However, you can also pull out single boards that are warped and replace them with new ones. This is probably one of the most expensive options in flooring, depending upon the type of wood you choose.
Try to go for a variety with a high hardness rating, so the floor is resistant to dents and scratches. You should also pay attention to the finish put on at the factory.
2. Engineered Hardwood
Engineered hardwood is a bit different than hardwood flooring but has nearly an identical appearance. This material is not a solid piece of wood, but is made up of three layers: plywood, wood and the top layer is a veneer of hardwood. All the layers are glued and pressed into place.
There are many advantages to engineered hardwood, including cost, ability to withstand moisture and heat and ease of installation. While you can’t sand it down and refinish it indefinitely as with hardwood, you should be able to do so once with most varieties.
3. Tile Flooring
Another option that is both moisture proof and resilient is tile flooring. You can even purchase wood-look tile these days, giving you the appearance of a hardwood floor without some of the concerns. The cost of tile can be quite prohibitive, ranging from $1 to $20 per square foot, depending upon which tile you choose. On top of that, you have to spend money having it professionally installed, which can run into hundreds more.
Tile is very durable and easy to clean, even if you have pets. However, it also can be cold and loud to walk on. Consider adding a heating system underneath the tiles if you can afford it.
4. Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring is an interesting alternative to carpet. Since bamboo grows quickly, this is a more sustainable option than purchasing hardwoods, which may take many years to regrow. The cost is similar to hardwood floors at about $5 to $8 per square foot, but is just as durable if you buy a high-quality product. If the planks are thick enough, the floor can also be refinished.
Be careful of the source of your flooring, as some lower quality materials are on the market. The available choices of color are quite limited and bamboo is susceptible to water damage. While it is likely a great choice if you are aware of these issues and avoid putting it in a bathroom or kitchen area, it may not be a better choice than hardwood. No doubt, though — it’s definitely among the flooring options better than carpet.
5. Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring is an amazing option for families with children and pets. They come in as many varieties as hardwood but they won’t fade, stain or take in minor moisture. This is due to a non-porous aluminum oxide surface finish. However, it doesn’t do well with standing water. Water will ruin your laminate flooring and create a situation where plants have to be replaced.
The cost of laminate flooring is typically less than that of hardwood, but quality varies widely. The higher the quality, the more resistant it will be to scratches and wear and tear.
6. Concrete Flooring
Stained concrete floors create a gorgeous and durable look and work particularly well for slab style foundations. You can have the concrete dyed to almost any color and patterns added to the concrete to give it a marbleized or textured look.
While the initial cost of concrete flooring is high, it is durable and will last for years. Even if you get it soaking wet, it won’t become damaged. You’ll simply need to dry it out. All that’s needed to keep the floor looking fresh and beautiful is a simple reseal from time to time.
Flooring Options Better Than Carpet
If these flooring options are attractive to you, then it’s probably time to throw out your carpet and add something a bit more durable and life-proof. If the thought of germs and debris hiding in your carpet disgusts you, then pick something that works better for your home. Which you choose depends on your budget and style preferences.