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March 14, 2012


We've had both and I prefer wood (bamboo, currently). Carpeting feels kind of dirty when you walk on it barefoot, and it's difficult to clean. Finished wood can be cleaned easily with a Swiffer duster for the most part, and if your pet throws up or something, paper towers + a Clorox wipe and it's like it never happened. Light colored wood also reflects light warmly in the winter. Probably why the Swedes are big on it.

Carpeting gets filthy and constantly needs to be replaced. Wood is many times more resilient. Rich people also like wood floors so they can purchase exorbitant handmade persian rugs in order to be both ostentatious and cosmopolitan.

Carpet holds dust mites more, so I'm inclined to like wood, but a wood-like laminate is more in my price-range.
But yes, I think it is a signalling device.

From a residential real estate property owner and manager...

Hardwood takes more time and money to install or refinish.

Hardwood gets more rent per month, because people like hardwood floors.

Pet urine is much more damaging in general to carpets as opposed to hardwood floors.

Hardwood floors also can be refinished if they become scratched or if you want a different shade. The downside is that installation is not a do-it-yourself job unless you're *really* handy, and they can't be installed below grade. Laminate is less expensive and considerably easy to install, but cannot be refinished and just doesn't look as nice. Engineered wood, a similar concept to plywood, is a reasonable compromise. It's nicer-looking than laminate and capable of being refinished (just once, as opposed to multiple times for hardwood), but is cheaper and easier to install than hardwood.

I've always like wood and tile over carpet because I'm messy and spill stuff which is easier to clean up than carpet.

I f'n hate carpet. It's a disgusting dirt sponge, that requires far more maintenance than wood flooring. And wood flooring is a lot easier on the feet than tile or linoleum/vinyl.

The irony is that it used to be the reverse with rich people having carpets and poorer people being unable to afford them. Mechanization made carpet cheaper and the introduction of plywood provided a cheaper alternative to the older wood flooring (as long as it could be covered up). It also used to be very difficult to cut hard woods, which was necessary if you wanted a durable floor and even more necessary to do all the cuts to make a floor as aesthetically appealing as a carpet.

Additionally wooden floors allows one to cover it with Persian rugs. In most cases the Persian rugs are so large that it covers nearly the entire floor. I also think modern houses have automatic floor heating/cooling, which would be better with wooden floors.

Cleaning for the upper-middle is a none issue, since the maid should be doing the laundry, nursing, cleaning and cooking. According to "Conspicuous Consumption" by Thorsten Veblen there's another level of hiring above that in which families hire for entertainment.

Stock wheels or 21-inch chrome rims? For some reason the latter are unpopular with people who have only mild tans.

Rich people like that which is not in fashion yet. I guess now that wood floors, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances are cliche, they'll have to move on to something else.

Keeping good taste current must be a real pain.

I agree with DaveinHackensack. Carpet is dirty, causes allergies, etc. There's more filth in carpet than most people realize.

I disagree. I love the feel of fine, oil-finished hardwood under my bare feet.

It feels warm, textured, and solidly grounded to the natural world.

Carpeting feels artificial, dirty, and unnatural. The only exceptions are fine wool Oriental rugs.

let me clarify a few things for you

1. Carpet contains dust that irritates a lot of people. Homes that are all hardwood have less dust in the air

2. Hardwood reflects sound. If you have children your apartment is MUCH noisier if you have hardwood than if you have carpet

So there are a lot of considerations

I like wood. It's cool on the feet. Carpet is cheesy.

What about marble or granite floor tiles? You forgot about them.

I'd go with the C. Lander's idea: "all [white people] can see is everything that has ever been spilled, tracked in, or shaken loose into the carpet fibers". L. Wittgenstein refused to have a carpet in any room he lived in for any length of time for the same sake.

When we moved in about eight years ago, we had all the carpet ripped out and replaced with hickory. Looks great and much easier to clean. Plus we have cats and dogs, and wood doesn't sustain damage from them.

I prefer carpet. I don't go barefoot, and carpet is warmer and softer.

I don't give a hoot that some people think it's less prestigious. When I lived in an apartment with all hardwood floors, four large area rugs were one of my first purchases.

I have no idea why the rich like wood, but I like wood (and laminate) because it looks good and is easier to clean.

Wood floors are usually covered with rugs that are easier to change than carpet.

However, wood required more care and feeding that carpet or tile.

There are many levels of carpets and rugs.

Upscale can include wood with Persian or antique rugs strategically placed.

For example, the oval office has for like 100 years at least had various hardwood floors, not bare but generally covered in the middle by a giant and expensive circular rug.

I'm guessing you have several cats. If you get carpet, their nasty cat hair is going to be all over the place and you'll have to vacuum all the time. Get hardwood floors and a broom.

I agree that wooded floors (aged preferably) are more prestigious. I think wood floors combined with lush carpeting gives the occupant the best of both worlds.

Wood paneled walls, now *that's high class.*

"I guess now that wood floors, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances are cliche"

Silestone (quartz with antibacterial protection) is on its way to displacing granite as the upscale countertop of choice. Hammered copper is another very upscale alternative.

I can easily afford wood but I like carpet because it's warmer (e.g., try having sex on wood floor). But carpet is a mess to clean. So a compromise: berber type carpet on a super thick foam upstairs, hard wood downstairs and linoleum in the kitchen (still harder to damage than wood). I am all about functionality and I don't give a flying fuck what others think or how much it costs.

Back in 1978 there was an article in Esquire about the "New Elite", a subject which has gotten treatment ad nauseam over the years since. The piece was illustrated by comparisons of "New Elite" vs. "Left Behind" (everyone else) cultural totems: cross-country skiing vs. snowmobiling, Bronx Science vs. Phillips Exeter Academy, etc.

However, one of them was solid hardwood floors (particularly of the parquet variety) vs. wall-to-wall carpeting. I still despise the New Elite but I think they win this round.

I always had wall-to-wall carpeting in most of my abodes, but my autistic son insists on making messes, so we got rid of it all. We couldn't afford hardwood, but we did do a nice laminate upstairs and ceramic tile downstairs (which we cover strategically with rugs). In our summer place we put a beautiful laminate in last year, but it's so light that I have to sweep the dirt every ten minutes.

Bottom line is, carpet sucks. It gets dirty really easily and is very difficult to clean. Plus, it harbors fleas and other allergens. Laminate or wood may show dirt, but at least all you have to do is a light sweep or vacuum.

We have 4 dogs. Several years ago we ripped out all the carpet and replaced it with engineered wood flooring. We have a lot of small washable carpets. I would like to have nice wool carpets but I don't want any carpet can't be washed. Someone should manufacture something that looks like a large, traditional area rug, but is made of pieces small enough to fit in a washing machine and held together with velcro or something like that.

Do you guys wear shoes in your house or something?

When I was a small-potatoes landlord in Cambridge Mass I was talking to a bigger spud than I, he was giving me, the newbie, some advice. He said, "You want whites, finish the floors. You want coloreds, do wall-to-wall."

I have come to appreciate carpet again. We have no pets, and never wear shoes in the house. I am much more willing to get down on the floor and play with my kids on carpet. White and other light-colored carpet brightens our rooms. Carpet feels warm during the long cold winters of Madison WI. It makes the rooms quieter too. We have hardwood in the kitchen area, tile in the bathrooms.

Carpet was king in the 70s... "invest in Karastan!" Then we all fell for hard wood. The wheel keeps spinning though.

I don't care about prestige. I just like hardwood floors because they look better and don't harbor large amounts of dust and other allergies like carpet does. Laminate wood floors are tacky and are the wood wall panels and popcorn ceilings of the 2000s and 2010s. I also can't stand vacuum and carpet cleaners. They are loud and spew out all sorts of toxins. I prefer using good old fashioned brooms, dust pans and mops.

When carpet was expensive, it was considered high class. I go back and forth between which one I prefer.

As someone with both cats and kids, I prefer wood or laminate to carpet. When the cat barfs or the kids spill something, it's much easier to clean up on a wood floor than carpet.

One definitely notices dust and cat hair more on wood than on carpet, so you have to vacuum regularly.

"Silestone (quartz with antibacterial protection) is on its way to displacing granite as the upscale countertop of choice."

What are you, a Silestone salesman?

In terms of beauty, Silestone does not even come close to Granite. Granite costs more, but people overwhelmingly prefer granite anyway. There are many choices and they are very long-lasting. The top of the market is just dominated by granite and there is a reason for this. It is as if God had kitchens in mind when he created granite.

I think we are at the end of the progression for kitchen surfaces and granite won. Game over.

Carpet is hideous, unaesthetic, and if you have dogs it traps fur. I have no idea how anyone could accept carpet in their home.

I can see how some people would find carpet more comfortable to walk on barefoot, but I have heavy callouses from walking and running outside barefoot so it is perfectly comfortable for me.

What is uncomfortable to walk on barefoot are rigid surfaces like tile.

One reason why granite will remain king of high end kitchens is that every slab is totally unique and there is therefore infinite variety and opportunity to express your status all within the realm of granite. You can important rare and beautiful slabs from all over the world, ensuring that you can choose a granite that is better than someone else's granite, imported from this or that place, an art form that can itself be a conversation piece. Try doing that with Silestone.

Carpet sucks. Dust, pollen, mites...wood looks so much nicer, too. I'm glad I have an "open" apartment and wood flooring (the apartment complex was previously a cotton mill or something).

Maybe there is some status element to it. My best friend lives 5 minutes from me, and pays roughly the same for his apartment as I do for mine, but he lives in a recently built complex. The units are nice, but not open (like mine, which is exposed brick), and they have wall-to-wall carpeting. Most of his neighbors are foreigners (Indian, Chinese, Russian), IT professionals, programmers actuaries, etc., while I think everyone in my complex is American-born, and most are in more 'SWPL' professions (teachers, medical school students or residents, lawyers, an artist or two, designers), so the refurbished mill maybe gives off a bohemian vibe...

For an idea of relative prices, in the Major Home Improvement Center where I work as a vendor, oak flooring in the popular gunstock pattern is $1.67 for laminate, $3.98 for engineered wood and $4.98 for solid wood (all prices per square foot). A good quality carpet runs about $2.50 per square foot.

Granite used to own the high-end countertop market, but Silestone has made big inroads. It's not necessarily cheaper than granite.

Styles change--the industry plans it that way.

The very modest houses in which I was raised (I am 63) both had beautiful hardwood floors. All the houses in the neighborhoods had them, yet everyone covered them up with carpet when they had saved enough money to do so.

Real hardwood is hard to maintain, although easier than the hardwood of decades ago. Nonetheless, it attracts dust, and for it to look its best, it must be dusted every day or every other day. The darker the wood, the more the dust shows.

Dogs that run in your house can indeed leave scratches and while there are products that hide those scratches, it's still a bummer to always have to do it. (A small dog is probably not a problem).

I like the looks of hardwood as long as area rugs are used under furniture, but the style today is not to use rugs and I think doing that leaves the rooms looking empty and colorless.

During the winter months, hardwood is cold, period.

If you have a formal dining room, a nice compromise is to use hardwood there, carpet elsewhere.


Laminate sucks! It looks bad and it sounds bad when you walk on it. Stay away from it.

If you've no young kids, go carpet.

My neighbor had a kitchen fire recently and replaced the countertops with quartz. It looks nice, but I don't think it's as attractive as granite.

For rooms you use frequently the move is to go with carpet.

Just rip it out and put in new stuff every 3-4 years. Its a lifestyle upgrade well worthwhile.

When we moved into our house, we ripped out the carpet and had the Douglas Fir subfloor finished. It looks pretty nice, though if you look closely, you'll see all the scratches and dents. But only if you look closely. Wood floors are way easier to clean, though they show the slightest dirt more readily.

One of these days, we'll get a fancy wood floor, because they look nicer and match the house styling better (it was built in 1890).

"It's a disgusting dirt sponge, that requires far more maintenance than wood flooring"

Amen. I'm actually willing to agree carpet feels better (in bare feet anyway), but when you replace carpet, it's graphically evident that it's just disgustingly filthy, even if you've put a lot of effort into keeping the house clean.

"Silestone (quartz with antibacterial protection) is on its way to displacing granite as the upscale countertop of choice"

You've got to be kidding. Silestone is as or more expensive and doesn't look as good. Antibacterial? So's the stuff I clean my granite with. Unless you never intend to clean your counters, who cares? Its appeal is a mystery to me - maybe someone here can explain.

My parents tore up the wall-to-wall carpeting after we grew up to the age when it was no longer needed as padding for minor tumbles and roughhousing. By that time it was lightly marbled with stains.

Pets don't benefit from shock absorption, and I guess carpet stains are unacceptable to the rich.

I hate wood floors for two main reasons:

1) you basically can't walk barefoot. (Or maybe you can, but I find it extremely irritating)

Yes it is 'easier to clean' but unless you clean all the time (or have a maid to do so - I guess this is why rich people don't notice this point), you will step on and totally feel each little crumb or speck or grain of dirt. At the end of the day, look at the bottoms of your feet, they will be brown and dusty. You then transfer that dust/dirt into your bed, the bathroom floor, etc.

Basically, carpet brushes any dust/dirt off the bottom of your feet (people here are complaining that carpet sucks dirt, but to me, that's part of what it's supposed to do!). With wood, it's the other way around: your feet pick up dust/dirt from the floor.

2) can't sit/lie on the floor.

Don't hardwood-floor people have kids? What do you do with them with a house full of hard wood everywhere? Why not concrete?

The preferred fashionable-rich solution of having a hardwood floor with a giant Persian rug boggles the mind even more. What's the point, why not just have carpet? If you like wood because 'carpet's too dirty' but then you plop a giant rug on the wood that covers 80% of the room anyway, um, what are you doing?

And go back to my bare-feet comments: if you have wood, with a rug in the middle, the rug basically becomes what you wipe your feet on after they've been on the wood floor. In other words it becomes a welcome mat. Would you rather do this with an expensive Persian rug or with some carpeting. Sure maybe you have to replace the carpeting every 10 years, big deal.

I really do not get wood floors.

P.S. Someone mentioned apartments - to me wood floor in apartments signals that the landlord ripped out the carpet b/c he does not intend to maintain the place all that much, and if he kept the carpeting there, that would be all too obvious to potential renters, whereas if he makes it a 'nice wood floor' certain types of renters might think it's very nice and cool that the place has wood floors. *boggle*

Peter, you have to triple those per square foot figures to get an idea of the real cost of installing wood floors (including moldings, insulayment, labor).

berber carpet on thick foam for bedrooms and study room.. wood for downstairs/kitchen. quiet, comfy on the feet.. no pets. the carpet looks and feels great to the feet and really quiet.

Considering the way things are headed in the fucked up US of A, I figured that there would have been a 9mm vs .45 or AK vs AR-15 by now...

I can't explain Silestone's popularity vs. granite, but it's a fact. It definitely has cut into granite's market share despite not being much if any cheaper. Some people say that granite feels too cold, possibly that's a factor.

When I was a kid we had wood floors in all the bedrooms and the living and dining room, but they were all covered with carpet because that was what was in at the time.

I assume is was pretty good wood too because they were the individual wood slats instead of the cheaper stuff that you can buy now that comes in sections. Although maybe you can get really good wood that comes in sections too.

"2. Hardwood reflects sound. If you have children your apartment is MUCH noisier if you have hardwood than if you have carpet"

Many apt buildings won't allow wood floors if they have concrete underneath because of the sound.

I think music might sound better with wood floors. Carpet can muffle the sound.

Carpet may be low class, but it also facilitates walking around barefoot, and sitting on the floor. It's quieter and warmer.

I'm in Canada so nobody wears shoes indoors. Yes, carpet collect dust, but so do rugs. That's what vacuum cleaners are for.

At the end of the day, I'd rather make myself happy than impress other people. If there's one over-arching low class behavior, that's it.

4 kids + 2 dogs + 1 cat = hard wood floors.

OT: Where's my buddy Judge Absalom, who thinks Ecuador would be a great place for an American to retire? Here's a little story for him from VFR:

Another blasé Western couple deliver themselves into the Third World maw

A Canadian couple went to Ecuador and, while “strolling through the woods” (yes, that’s what nice white Westerners do, they visit Third World countries and go “strolling through the woods,” or stay in an unsecured hotel cabin on a beach) were set upon by a machete wielding gang who demanded money. The woman in terror threw herself 50 feet off the side of a mountain to escape and is now is in the hospital for several months. As the Daily Mail article indicates, the Ecuadoran government has concealed the facts.

[HS: The best and safest place to retire is somewhere in the U.S. with a low cost of living and low crime, like good parts of florida, or the northwest.]

"Peter, you have to triple those per square foot figures to get an idea of the real cost of installing wood floors (including moldings, insulayment, labor)."

Oh, absolutely. Especially for hardwood. Laminate and to some extent engineered wood can be a DIY job, though of course you still have the costs of mouldings and underlayment. Not too many non-professionals want to tackle a hardwood floor installation.

Carpet installation charges tend to be much less, the Major Home Improvement Center where I'm a vendor periodically runs specials charging about $100 for carpet installation (plus usually about 50 cents per square foot for removal and disposal of the old carpet). Carpet pads also are less expensive than flooring underlayment.

Sonic Charmer: "you plop a giant rug on the wood that covers 80% of the room anyway, um, what are you doing?"

Well, that gives you the best of both worlds. That's actually my house, so I'll call myself 80% in favor of carpet. Carpet is much nicer for kids, walking on it traps dust and dirt (to be neatly vacuumed up) and it absorbs noise.

But, hardwood does make a nice-looking border, especially in areas that get direct sunlight and it is the current fashion. It also allows us to place dense hallway rugs in the high traffic areas and to frequently replace carpets as they wear out or go out of style without hiring a professional installer -- a big component of the cost these days.


Siggie, if you're worrying about prestige and carpet you're a prole at heart.

[HS: You have that backwards: it's proles who have the freedom to do whatever they want without worrying about how it reflects on their social status.

http://www.halfsigma.com/2010/06/people-of-walmart.html ]

Yeah... laminates might be a DIY job for someone prepared to do it right, but I've seen some horrifically botched laminate installation done by contractors who weren't obvious 'cowboys'.

I do like the look of those beaten copper tops. Makes one wonder how hard it'd be to do by yourself with panelbeating tools. And seriously, those popcorn ceilings were big in the US in residential buildings? I don't think I've even seen those in motels. Wood floor, wood panelled walls, nicely plastered ceiling- that's where it's at.

If you have a problem with walking on cold wood floor, just move to the South (as I've been encouraging everyone)! I can't stand it when the temperature drops below 50 F, and even 60 is getting a touch nippy.

9 months of the year, I can walk around my wood floor barefoot and feel fine.

Sonic Charmer's comments about feeling every little crumb on your feet with wood (even if you can't see it) is true.

So, if you want to dust the wood floors every day, twice a day, go for it, but I don't want to do that.

Buy good carpet.

"Pussy Galore: Siggie, if you're worrying about prestige and carpet you're a prole at heart."

Its the fact that he prefers carpet makes him a prole at heart

Considering the way things are headed in the fucked up US of A, I figured that there would have been a 9mm vs .45 or AK vs AR-15 by now...
.45 and AK. Mix and match...

Carpet is much nicer. I think that the hardwood fans are probably all people with indoor pets, or who are renting. If you own a house and you don't have indoor pets I can't seriously see any competition. Oh and I love linoleum for kitchens. Is it low status? Sure, but it isn't as hard on my back as tile.

"I figured that there would have been a 9mm vs .45 or AK vs AR-15 by now..."

Read up on the 1986 Miami Shootout and the Black Hawk Down battle for the fatal deficiencies of the 9mm and the AR-15 (in its military version) respectively.

67 posts about wtw carpet vs wood floors! And they're actually pretty good posts with a lot of info I know to be accurate. My $.02 worth as a serial homeowner and erstwhile landlord ... if you get carpet, get good quality with not too high a pile, and buy yourself a serious vacuum cleaner. My recommendation would be a Sebo (sold more cheaply in janitorial equipment channels under the Windsor brand).

Parquet flooring is better than plain patterns. Diamond or waves made in parquet are common. The type of wood also being important as well, with cherry and mahogany looking especially good.

carpet is tacky, half sigma.

i can't believe you don't know this.

[HS: Of course I knew that wood is more prestigious, I wrote it in the post.]

Lets make a summary of the main arguments:

For Carpet:
Quieter, Warmer
can sit/lie/play on floor
can walk barefoot
dirt/dust does not stick to your feet because it is absorbed by the fibers

has to be replaced more often
more difficult to clean
does not look as good (opinion)
bad for allergies

For Wood:
easy to clean

more expensive
none of the pros of carpets

I think those that prefer carpet are basing their choice on the right things. Carpet is more enjoyable ultimately, and isn't that what the ultimate aim is? So what if it has to be replaced more often, cleaned a little more, does not look as good (opinion), and is not as high in status and the fashion of the moment? The latter two criteria are superficial reasons. The first two criteria are the extra price you have to pay for something you will enjoy much more. Ok, it is debatable whether wood looks better or not, but even if it does, whats the point of beauty without function?

I think wood in certain areas are good and even necessary, but I think carpet should definitely have a place in an inviting, luxurious, warm and cozy home.

"Of course I knew that wood is more prestigious, I wrote it in the post."

wrong again, HS. it's not that wood is "more prestigious" than carpet, in the way that a mercedes is more prestigious than a honda civic. it's that carpet is TACKY AS FUCK and simply not an option if you have any design sensibility.

having carpet in your home is the equivalent of wearing jeans and sneakers. it is the worst of america.

Wood with rugs.
In Italy carpeting (here we call it moquette) is very rarely used at home and rarely used at offices.
Low cost/old home have tiles or marble like this.
I never hear any woman appreciate carpeting and many openly despise it for its dirtiness.

Usually wood is reserved for the bedrooms. Marble for the living room, tiles for bathroom and cooking room.

Here having carpeting in your home is like walking around your home in your pants. Iit is automatically suspect.

Hum, I think the answer is pretty obvious there.

Wood is the best choice. Only proles walk barefoot in their whole house and thus have to worry about picking dust under their feet. The petit bourgeois have slippers, the power elite walks with shoes on, except in the bedroom and bathroom.

Tiles are the best choice for the bathroom. The alternative is moisture-resistant wood like teak or bamboo, but it costs more money and is not very common in the West (a cultural thing).

Tiles are mandatory for a kitchen, for safety reasons. You can use wood, but it would look weird.

Carpeting does look prole and 60s-70s style, especially grey, rose, brown or pale blue carpeting. A dark carpeting would look bad-ass in the bedroom of a futuristic appartment though. Only in this case.

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