David Glenn is a home improvement expert. He occasionally freelance writes about real estate tips, home maintenance and DIY home repair. We will be featuring blog entries from him on our site from time to time.

When you are out on your home buying expedition, there are many topics and concerns that must be considered. One such item on your list of considerations must be the type of flooring that you wish to have in your home and where. The most common comparisons as far as flooring is concerning is between carpet and hardwood flooring. You will find experts that will make convincing arguments for both sides.

The truth is that both flooring types have their pros and cons and ultimately it will boil down to being predominantly an issue of personal preference. You will need to keep your family size and level of activity in mind when reviewing these comparisons.

The Case for Hardwood

One of the first things that a hardwood expert will mention is the fact that hardwood has a much longer life than carpet. It adds a rich and traditional look to the home. At an initial upfront cost that settles between $9 and $14 per square foot, hardwood floors have a higher upfront investment; however, the fact that it is not unheard of to see hardwood floors last up to 100 years, the upfront cost is more than justified. Reclaimed old wood can cost as much as $30 per square foot.

With hardwood floors, you will also be able to change the look by simply refinishing the surface, and this can be done many times.

Another benefit associated with hardwood floors is the fact the hand-scraped wood flooring — having deeper groves — has the capacity to conceal the evidence of high traffic.

According to a green home builder. Hardwood floors can contribute greatly to minimizing allergens, especially dust mites and other allergens that are commonly found in carpet. Not only is wood good for reducing allergens, it is sustainable, renewable and natural — meaning that it is environmentally friendly.

One of the knocks that wood floors have taken in the recent past is the assertion that it contributes to the depletion of dwindling tree supplies, but green building experts insist that this is not an issue when the wood comes from a responsibly managed forest that meets the sustainability standards that have been implemented by the Sustainable Forest Initiative. There is also the aspect of maintenance on wood floors. Making sure there is no scuffs or water doesn’t sit on the wood too long. According to an interior designer, hardwood floors are trending in a major way, becoming more and more popular.

The Case for Carpet

The plus that stands out for carpet is that it is significantly less expensive on the front end — with an installed cost of $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot. It is not only cheaper to install carpet, but it can also be done a lot faster than installing wood floors.

Although one of the knocks on the carpet is its relatively short lifespan in comparison to the hardwood. Experts point to the fact that frequent vacuuming and steam cleaning at least once per year will help extend the life of the carpet. The fact remains that over time, it is highly likely that the carpet will become stained and matted. It is also difficult for the carpet to stand up to high traffic in the same way that wood can.

Carpet is a lot more comfortable to step out of the bed onto in the morning. If you are the type that prefers to walk around the house barefooted, then carpet may be your best option, at least in certain areas.

According to professional house cleaners, carpet hides dirt, so you don’t have to clean as often, but you should vacuum at least once per week. The problem is that although the dirt is hidden from sight it is still present, and this means that it can contribute to agitating allergies. The truth is that spills are never really completely cleaned out. With the new stain-resistant synthetic fibres and more highly functional vacuum cleaners, this is not as much of an issue as it once was.

As stated earlier, it is more about preference and budget. There are a certain richness and elegance that nicely finished hardwood floors add to any home, but that comes as a price. Carpet provides the look and feels of comfort to your home, but you will have to replace it a number of times over the course of the life of the home.