One of the first things I did when I bought my first home was to replace all the carpets with hard floors. The carpets that were here needed replacing anyway as they were old, worn and tired. Walking on them in bare feet creeped me out as I imagined a lifetime of dust and dirt, well up to 50 years’ worth. The original owners had different coloured carpets in each room too ranging from orange to navy blue. It was pretty eclectic! I always knew I wanted hard floors when I bought my first home as they have so many great benefits.
A lot of people are put off by hard floors as they imagine only a choice of cheap laminate that will start peeling and scuffing in a few months. Luckily there is a lot more choice nowadays including a much better made thicker laminate which is often the cheapest, real wood floors which are more expensive but can last a lifetime and are the real deal, or engineered wood flooring which is more affordable than real wood, but has a hardwood top layer so they look just like real wood floors.
If we were starting over I’d definitely opt for the engineered wood flooring as it’s so much more wood like. We did choose a pretty good hard wearing laminate however, that has an English oak effect in wide planks and a 20 year guarantee so we could be certain it was high quality. It looks great and runs throughout the entire downstairs (kitchen, living, dining, hall and playroom) plus we have it in our three bedrooms.
Some people prefer carpet and will never be swayed, but here are the benefits of hard flooring in my opinion:
Having two small children comes with a lot of mess, but hard flooring is virtually kid proof. I’ve lost count of the number of times the children have spilt drinks on the floor, dropped mushy food, ran in the house with muddy shoes or even drawn on the floor. Luckily barely anything the kids throw at it can damage it.
Easy to clean
With all this mess going on the floor from the children and my own clumsiness, I can easily mop up spills, wipe off felt tip and pick up dropped food. I dread to think of the state of our floors now if we had opted for carpet. They definitely wouldn’t easily wipe clean to look good as new.
I really detest dust and always say if I could uninvent one thing it would be dust. Everyone hates dusting and I’ve seen others use this as their preference for carpet over hard floor many a time. You will see the dust on the hard floors and you will feel like you’re cleaning it up quite often, but personally this is a quality I like. If I couldn’t see the dust and had carpet, then that dust is still there buried in the carpets and building up all the time. I prefer to live with less dust and not be sat on top of it. Even if you vacuum carpets I don’t believe all the dust ever comes out, yet with hard floor you can get rid of all the dust. It’s one of the reasons hard floors are a great choice for those with allergies or respiratory problems.
Because they’re durable, they are long lasting. Hard floors can put up with a lot, yet still look brand new for years to come. It’s just not the same with a carpet, unless you have a very strict no food, no shoes, no children policy! In just three years in our old home I felt like our carpets needed replacing, though perhaps cream wasn’t the best colour with kids. But in our new home with hard floors, they have survived 3-4 years and look as good as the day we installed them. I honestly believe they’ll last us the full 20 year guarantee we got with them.
Because it’s long lasting, hard wearing and so easy to clean, it makes it a cost effective choice, especially if you are able to lay it yourself. It can be pretty pricey to pay someone to lay it for you, often more than the price of the materials and floor itself. If you can learn to fit your own laminate flooring then you’re on to a winner. My husband Ben loves DIY and was keen to do most of our house renovations himself, so learning to lay the floor was one of the first skills to learn. With click in boards and plenty of advice online it was easy enough to do ourselves. This saved us a small fortune and we definitely wouldn’t have felt confident installing carpets ourselves. Even if you pay someone to do the job for you, it’s still cost effective if you buy good quality floor that will last decades.
It looks great and is surprisingly cosy. Most people associate cosiness with carpets only, but there’s something very natural and homely with a wood style floor. Plus, you can still add rugs to the room if you like something soft to walk upon and to add texture.
Easy to rearrange furniture
I love to rearrange our furniture as our needs change and the children grow older. I’m forever trying to find the best layout or to freshen up the look in our home. Hard flooring makes moving heavy furniture a breeze and there are no indents to deal with, like there would be on carpets. Plus on carpets over time they can fade from light, so moving furniture after a period of time might not be possible.
For me and my lifestyle, wood or wood effect flooring is the clear winner over carpets. Though I do have carpets on the stairs as I was scared my young children could slip down otherwise!
How to install laminate flooring yourself - a video guide
Related blog posts:
Mistakes we’ve made with our renovation
How to easily transform your walls (without traditional wallpaper or paint)
My top tips to prepare for a house move
Easily calculate and price your building work and home improvements