For Cleaner Air: Carpet or Wood Flooring?

For Cleaner Air: Carpet or Wood Flooring?

Both the Hardwood flooring and the Carpet industry have their own views on which flooring is the healthiest choice for your home. Below we’ll try to cut through the marketing and clear the air. And yes, that pun had to happen.

First, it would be good to note that if you take care of your flooring and replace it when necessary, then they are both quite healthy under normal circumstances. Carpeting may require a little more attention and regular cleaning to keep it looking its best and remain as healthy as possible.

The conventional wisdom is that carpeting can trap dust, dirt, mites, pet dander and other allergens. In doing so, it is difficult to rid the house of them. Ironically, the carpet industry says this is a good thing; citing studies which have shown that since the particulates are held down within the carpeting, they are less likely to be disturbed and cast upwards into the air above. Regular shampooing will then remove these allergens.

With wood floors, what you see is what you get. There are no trapped allergens and what is lying on the surface can be easily removed. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends that easily cleaned, hard surface flooring is the best choice for those who suffer from allergies or asthma. This applies especially to bedroom floors.

Beyond normal allergens, there are other things such as harmful fumes and chemicals that are sometimes associated with older or less expensive carpeting. Wood flooring on the other hand is a natural product that humans have safely lived with throughout history.

Moisture is never a good thing, no matter what flooring you have. If there is a risk of moisture, the danger of mold growth is greater with carpeting. During flood recovery, all effected carpeting should be removed to avoid problems, though wood flooring can bounce back with proper cleaning.

The air outside
Since we’re speaking about cleaner air and which flooring is the best choice, we shouldn’t ignore the impact on the environment. If grown and harvested in a sustainable fashion, the trees used for wood flooring contribute to the air quality outside. The life expectancy of wood flooring is much longer than carpeting and in turn will have less impact on landfills as well. Carpeting, on the other hand relies on the use of chemicals, is made (mostly) from non-renewable sources and will be replaced and discarded more often than wood.