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Our house is 18 years old. Eight years ago we installed new carpet on the main floor and hoped it would last for 10 years or so. But the carpet has not worn well and three steam-cleanings have not removed the stains. Should we buy new carpet or wood flooring? We made a plus and minus list to answer this question.

CARPET PLUSES

* Texture. Carpet feels good under foot, especially when we are walking around in our stocking feet or barefoot. We live in Minnesota and carpet provides another layer of insulation on cold floors.

* Color choices. Carpet can be matched to our furnishings and walls. Our current carpet is a neutral gray-green color. During the day it looks greenish and at night it looks grayish.

* Price. Usually carpet costs less than wood flooring. Today, carpets are stain-resistant. The stain-resistant finish is woven directly into the yarn or sprayed on after the carpet has been woven.

CARPET MINUSES

* Cleaning. While it is easy to vacuum carpet, it is not easy to reach under or behind large furniture. Dust accumulates in these hard-to-reach places.

* Allergies. The Web site, http://www.efloor.com, cites an Environmental Protection Agency study that found garden pesticides can work their way into carpet. “These poisons are then absorbed by your bare feet, by your children playing and your baby crawling on the floor,” the Web site says.

* Environment. The same Web site notes that two percent of the waste materials in our nation’s landfills are used carpets. According to the site, “This huge waste will take about 20,000 years for nature to digest.”

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WOOD PLUSES

* Variety. Though wood does not come in as many colors as carpet, we can choose from many types and colors. Better yet, wood floors go with everything.

* Cleaning. Years ago, wood floors had to be waxed, a laborious and time-consuming job. Now, scientific finishes protect wood from scratches and wear. Another plus is that I could easily mop under furniture.

* Allergy-free. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends wood flooring for those who are concerned about pesticides getting into carpet. Doctors also recommend wood flooring for people with allergies.

* Resale. We have moved 16 times and try to keep our house market-ready. According to realtors in our area, today’s buyers want wood floors.

WOOD MINUSES

* Cost. Wood floors cost more than carpet. Still, this investment should eventually pay off.

* Area rugs. We would need area rugs to protect the floors. One room already has an area rug and we would have to buy two ready-made ones or have them made.

After considering the pluses and minuses of carpet and wood, we decided on wood. Birch was our wood of choice. It is a hard wood and goes well with our furnishings. Do you need new flooring? Make your own plus and minus list and add up the score.

Copyright 2007 by Harriet Hodgson

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Source by Harriet Hodgson

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