Carpet v.s Hardwood

Over 2 months ago, we ripped out the carpeting in our upstairs hallway and got rid of all the laminate flooring in our upstairs bedrooms. Our master bedroom had already been given the update of new bamboo hardwood, but we weren't sure what we wanted to do for the rest of the upstairs.

We still hadn't made a decision on what we wanted to do, however we had decided to install pot-lights in the main floor hallway. In order to properly install these, we had to cut into the ceilings from upstairs....which meant removing any flooring we had upstairs:

This wasn't a major issue, since we knew we were planning on replacing these floors anyways. We decided to rip everything out, have the pot-lights installed and then decide later on what flooring we wanted to include. While ripping out the carpet, we ran into some issues. The previous homeowners had 3 cats, which hadn't had a major impact on us yet, however Ian is SERIOUSLY allergic to cats. When we ripped up the carpet, it stirred up all kinds of cat hair, dander, etc- that didn't impact us right away, but did eventually. Once the pot-lights were installed, we had made the mistake of setting the carpet back on the floors (just so we had something nice to walk on before we replaced the flooring) and Ian was barely able to function for weeks- we finally threw out the carpet and this seemed to help. After seeing an allergist, Ian was told that despite the cats, carpeting really wasn't the best option for him to have in a house so we kept this in mind.

Fast forward 2 months and we've been getting pretty tired of walking on the subfloors...it was time to replace the upstairs flooring.

We had narrowed down our choices to either carpet or the same bamboo that we installed in our bedroom/office/living and dining rooms. Our first choice was to install the bamboo/hardwood. We liked the idea of consistency upstairs and felt it would help with the value of the home, along with Ian's (and potential kids) allergies. However, after looking into carpeting, we felt this might be a better option. Softer to walk on, more cozy feeling for kids rooms, potentially more durable for kids and babies, etc.

We went back and forth on our decision for a long time, however in the end the main factor that played into our decision was cost. We knew the bamboo was going to cost us about $4.00/ sq ft for the purchase price (based on what we paid before), plus the cost of install (around $2.00-$3.00/sq ft) and the cost of additional materials- subfloor, etc. With 560 square feet to do, we couldn't afford the hefty price of $4000-$5000 for the bamboo floors. We wanted to be able to do all the floors upstairs for under $3000 (if possible) so whatever fit into that budget was going to be the final choice.

We even made a pros and cons list for both carpet and flooring:

Pro's for Bamboo/Hardwood:
* May increase home value
* Consistent look upstairs
* Easy to clean
* Good for allergies (Ian)
* Easy to use in designing
* Environmentally friendly
* No off-gassing effects
* Know exactly what to purchase

Con's for Bamboo/Hardwood:
* Can see dirt easily (dark floors)
* May get scratched
* Not as soft for kids/baby

Pros for Carpet:
* Soft for kids/baby

Cons for Carpet:
* Allergies
* Not sure where to start- what to buy
* Off-gassing = Must install soon- (so off-gassing can occur before baby goes into nursery)
* Colour matching- hard to find colour design to match with walls, etc
* Durability- will it wear well?
* Not as easy to clean?- spills, etc
* Not as good for re-sale

We stared at the list for a while, but in the end carpet won. Well really, cost won. Based on what we expected carpet to cost, we figured carpeting was our only option.

So we went carpet shopping. We did our homework on carpet and although wool carpet was highly recommended (highly durable and super eco friendly), we couldn't afford the hefty price tag of $7-10/sq ft.  I had an idea of the style of carpeting I wanted, and this was the look:

I loved the look of carpet with a stripe/line pattern, however this was NOT easy to find. Every store we went into, did not have any carpet samples with this pattern...even the one company that had a brochure with this pattern in it, did not have a sample of it.

We had also decided that a combination carpet (cut pile and loop) would be the style that would work best for us and a polypropylene or nylon made carpet would last longer. However, most of the sales associates we talked to, kept trying to talk us into a high priced carpet and we felt very lost. There were so many options and possibilities with carpet, we had no idea where to begin.

While running into multiple carpet stores, we drove by the store that we originally purchased our bamboo from and decided to just take a look inside and check the cost of our flooring again. Lone behold, we walked over to our bamboo and the flooring gods were smiling on us. There was our bamboo, on clearance for $1.99/sq ft as they were no longer carrying this product.

They had plenty left in stock and we were able to purchase all of the flooring for our upstairs for under $1350.00. Boom.

We didn't even debate on it. We literally just looked at each other and said "done". This had solved our dilemma and we knew in the long run, hardwood flooring would be best for us. The other major reason why we were so keen on the hardwood, was because of Ian's allergies. Not only have they been ridiculously awful this spring (the worst in years), but also brought on asthma (which has hasn't had since childhood) and we worried that if our babe were to have these same allergies that carpet might not be the best for the nursery.

So now that we had our flooring we needed to find an installer. We called around and found someone who was able to start this week (because of a delay in another project) and was willing to charge us $2.00/sq ft for install (all in). So $1100.00 for the install, plus the cost of the flooring ($1350) came to $2450 all-together. Amazing! We beat our budget of keeping it under $3000.00 even with the cost of the additional materials for install ($180) and the cost of areas rugs for the bedrooms ($300 for rugs for all 3 rooms)!

In prepping for the install of the new floors, we had to remove all of the baseboards, which was a bit of a pain since Ian had just painted, caulked and fixed them all up, however it had to be done:

Thankfully all of the baseboards came off fairly easily and we don't think we are going to have to replace any of them. Not only is this easier when putting them back in, but also helps to keep our costs down. In order to make the process smoother when putting the baseboards back, Ian labelled the wall and the back of each baseboard with a number, so we know which ones go where:


So come tomorrow, the floors are going to be installed and we can finally start putting the upstairs back together- including the nursery :)

Our house is a bit of a disaster zone right now. We wanted to make sure to acclimate the new floors to the house before the install (which I would highly recommend). You want to make sure if you are installing hardwood floors, that the wood is in the house or room they are going to be installed in, for at least 48 hours before install.  This allows the moisture content of the wood to adjust to the conditions in the room. You don't really need to do this with engineered hardwood floors, however I would still recommend taking the precautions.  So, the flooring boxes have been taking over the hallway and mudroom for the past few days. Here's just the tip of the iceberg...

Now, although we have decided on hardwood floor for our upstairs, we have nothing against carpet. I personally like the warmth it brings to a space and softness. We have decided that when renovating our basement (dont hold your breath for that one!), we will do carpet as it makes the most sense down there. So, this carpet hunt will happen again eventually. Hopefully we'll be a bit more prepared at that point!

Melissa and Ian


  1. Wow, that's a great deal, and I bet it'll look great once it's installed. Living with subfloor sucks, I can totally relate, we had just subfloor for pretty close to a year in our kitchen, hallway and dining room, talk about a pain to clean! Haha
    Can't wait to see what it looks like.

    1. Thanks so much Rebecca! I share your pain on the subfloors, good for you for lasting that long! What did you end up installing in the end?!

    2. In the kitchen we did a cork "tile" and for the dining room (and soon the nursery) we did an engineered barn board type look. Glad they're finally installed, the kitchen took for ever!

    3. Oh very nice! I hear you...flooring does take forever! lol!

  2. That is a great price on the flooring. Do you mind sharing your source? We are in the process of trying to find some flooring and I think you live in the same region and we do.

    1. Hi Lily,
      We have used USave flooring here in Kitchener. They have been great, except we did run into a few issues with this last flooring we just bought. Otherwise they were great :)

  3. I was browsing the internet looking for some info on installing hardwood floors & I came across your blog. It's so funny b/c my husband and I are having this very same debate about our second level floors - we even made a pros & cons list almost identical to yours.

    Your finished floors look amazing! I think we are leaning towards hardwoods, but my husband wants to try to install them ourselves (we are crazy).

    Thanks for this post - very helpful! Great blog too!


    1. Hi Mel! So glad you found this helpful!! Thanks for writing too :) Did you decide on an option yet?!

  4. Thanks for this post! This was super helpful to me and my wife. Keep up the great work on this blog!


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