Many Americans have grown up with wall to wall carpeting as a normal part modern domestic life. Older generations of Americans remember a time when any type of rug or carpeting might have been considered a nonessential item of household furnishing reserved for the more affluent. Many a day was spent sweeping and washing wood flooring.
The decades of the nineteen fifties and sixties saw a huge increase in the amount of carpeting manufactured in the United States with much it going to even modest homes of the emerging middle class. Gone were the days of getting out of bed and hitting a cold, hard floor. Middle class Americans gradually grew accustomed to the comfort and aesthetic appear of carpeted floors especially wall to wall carpeting. Even the practice of carpeting bathrooms and kitchen areas took hold leaving very little household flooring without a piece of woven material on top. Not surprisingly, entirely new industry sprang up around the cleaning, care and installation of wall to wall carpeting.
For a variety of reasons, Americans have rediscovered the beauty, practicality and functionality of hard surface floors. For reasons of energy efficiency, modern home construction emphasizes a tight, well sealed design. Many people have become concerned that the methods and materials used to manufacturing modern synthetic fabric carpeting brings with it a potentially dangerous exposure to certain chemical vapors. Health conscious Americans have also become alarmed over several studies that seem to indicate another problem with carpeting.
Many types of carpet fiber can trap dirt and bacteria and even become a haven for insect pests like fleas. Carpet shampooing and modern vacuums cleaners could leave a good deal of dirt behind and getting carpeting wet during shampooing may create an environment favorable for the growth of bacteria.
Another factor in the increasing popularity of hard surface flooring materials is a significant increase in the number of Americans keeping household pets with everything from dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and even not so miniature pigs and horses becoming a regular part of family life. Overall, the pet industry has exploded in the United States and with that growth has come a decline in the demand for wall to wall carpeting.
Willing to share a home their animal companions, many Americans have torn out the carpet and replaced it with an increasingly large selection of hard flooring materials, especially hardwoods and other wood composite materials.
Once requiring the skills of a professional installer many folks are taking the home improvement plunge and choosing to install the flooring themselves. Manufacturers have helped to propel this trend by making it easier for the average homeowner to install a great looking wood floor. Installing hardwood and wood composite flooring can be as simple as laying down a foam padding and snapping the flooring into place. There is no longer a need to sand, stain and varnish a wood floor, since many wood flooring materials come already finished in a variety of shades and colors. These do it yourself flooring systems have also become cost competitive with carpet and hard flooring materials can last years longer than even the most expensive wall to wall carpet.
Whether or not you share your home with a pet hardwood and other types of hard flooring can be cleaned to a far greater degree than carpeting. Though some flooring professionals and manufacturers urge the use of chemical solutions to clean and maintain the floor, there a variety of safe and ecologically friendly ways to keep your floor clean and reduce the chances of being exposed to unwanted chemicals.
Carpeting is still an option for those folks who prefer it but if you have pets or your home sees lots of foot traffic, wood flooring could be the flooring for you.