It can be a tough pill to swallow, but your carpets will take a beating over time, particularly in areas with heavy footfall, and, ultimately, there’s only so much a Rug Doctor can do. Of course, carpets don’t have a definitive expiration date and their durability will vary depending on the quality and a number of environmental factors. Knowing when to replace carpets in your home means knowing what signs to look for and when to look beyond repair towards replacement.
Of course, half the battle with carpeting is keeping it looking fresh too, so we’ll not only be guiding you through replacement options here, but how you can keep your carpets looking fresher for longer.
How Long Does a Carpet Last?
The average life of a carpet will depend on a number of reasons including the quality of the carpet itself, the severity and nature of its usage, what room of the house the carpet is in, who lives in the house and even the underlay. It will also depend on how well maintained your carpet is, taking into account that a deep, professional clean is recommended at least once a year if you want to keep it looking factory fresh.
When asking how long should carpets last and how often should you replace carpet, a manufacturer will typically tell you that a carpet should retain its original charms for 10 years as long as you look after it. However, in a busy household of 4 residents, it will probably last around half as long, which is why most homeowners choose to replace their carpet every 5 years or so. Of course, there is no right answer here as it will also depend on how well you look after your carpets.
How to Make Your Carpets Last Longer
Carpet maintenance is incredibly important if you want to make the most of your carpeting and make sure you don’t have to replace them every few years. Proper care can add years to the lifespan of any carpet, regardless of quality or material. To make your carpet last longer you should be focusing on the following:-
Shoes Off – It should go without saying, but when you refuse to remove your shoes after being outside you run the risk of treading dirt, dust and even worse into your carpet. So shoes off at the front door!
Vacuum Often – Invest in a decent, modern vacuum cleaner and use it at least twice a week, particularly in the ‘heavy traffic’ areas of your home. As a rule of thumb, you should be going over the same areas around four times in busy areas and at least twice in less busy areas. Remember – the longer you leave the carpet, the more time the dirt has to work its way past the surface and into the fibres so be proactive.
Professional Help – At least once a year the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration says you should give all of your carpets a deep clean. If you smoke or have pets/kids, meanwhile, you should probably double that estimate.
Stain Reaction – Keep a detergent agent on hand at all times in areas that you want to remain stain-free as when it comes to stains, reaction is everything. If there’s a spill, start by picking up the solids and sopping up the liquids and then use your detergent to make sure the stain doesn’t stick.
Musical Chairs – Over time, your furniture will cause dents in your carpet that will refuse to reform after a certain amount of time. To avoid this, change up your furniture and experiment with positions at least every few months or invest in furniture coasters that taker the brunt of the abuse.
When Should Carpets be Replaced?
Below, we’ll outline the most obvious tell-tale signs that you should keep an eye on if you are weighing up the pros and cons of replacing your old carpet. Take into account that all situations will depend on what you can personally live with, but if you find a litany of problems and you’re having to convince yourself to hold onto it, it might be time to consider starting on the road to replacement.
Stains – Whilst even the most stubborn stains can often be removed with a decent deep clean or a professional clean, the more times you clean your carpet, the more its natural stain resistance will unfortunately diminish. The stains that really penetrate the dirt are substances such as pet urine and faeces, vomit, mould and mildew, which can be cleaned if you act fast, but will work their way into the padding eventually, which not only looks nasty but could prove to be a health hazard.
Wear and Tear – Particularly if you live in a busy household with kids and/or ‘playful’ pets then your carpets are inevitably going to suffer from wear and tear and as the years drag on, subtle scratches and scrapes will give way to more severe rips, rogue strands and matted piles. With polyester carpet, meanwhile, once the carpet has matted it will never regain its original bounce and whilst nylon is more resilient, it will move past the point of no return eventually.
Smells – Small stains are relatively easy to get rid of as long as you see to them quickly, but even the most subtle bad smell can prove debilitating to a carpet that’s supposed to be supplying you with comfort. If your pet has had more than a few ‘accidents’ over the years and you start to noticed a lingering smell, it’s most likely penetrated into the fibres or even into the carpet pad. This can lead to the development of mould and the smell will never truly leave, so if your carpet is kicking up a pong it might be time to get rid of it. Remember, carpet doesn’t just trap dust, dirt and grim; it traps smells too!
Condition of Backing/Padding – The backing of padding of a carpet is what the piles actually sit on – the foundation of the carpet, if you will. It’s also what provides the comfort and support for your feet and what improves sound absorption and insulation. The padding also, however, is liable to absorb the lion’s share of the spills and it will lose its lustre over time, developing an uneven texture and crinkling that is uncomfortable to walk on. When this happens, it might be time to throw in the towel.
Allergies – Did you know your old carpet could actually be making you ill? Not only could your ancient carpet bar harbouring mould and mildew, but it could also be retaining allergens that might cause any allergies to flare up. If you find your allergies acting up and you can’t quite pinpoint the source, it might be your old carpet.
Age – Nothing lasts forever and that old adage also rings true when it comes to your carpet. As we’ve already covered, the classic line the manufacturer will give you is that a carpet should last for 10 years and after that time, you’ll probably find yourself cleaning it more frequently and getting lesser results. Classic signs that it might be time to put your carpet out to pasture is a loss in colour and faded textures, which is often a result of sunlight exposure. You might also find frayed edges, bald patches, matting, ripples in the padding or that the fibres have started to tuft. Note that carpets will age faster if they are used heavily, so you’ll probably have to replace the carpet in your hall and living room more often than in your bedroom.
Fashion – Finally, it might be the case that you have simply fallen out of favour with your old carpet. Maybe you’ve moved into a new home, the carpet isn’t to your taste and fancy a fresh start? Or maybe you’ve lived with the same carpet for the best part of a decade and fashions have shifted in the interim. Either way, if it feels like it’s time for a change then it’s probably time for a change.
How to Choose Your Replacement Carpet
So you’ve decided it’s time to pull the plug and swap out your old carpet for a brand spanking new one? This is a decision that could potentially stick for a decade or longer (with the right care and attention) so it’s certainly not a decision to be taken lightly. Here, we’ll outline the things to consider when choosing replacement carpet.
Pile types – When it comes to the choice between loop or cut pile, loop pile is also more hard-wearing, but might not suitable for pets, as the loops can catch and tear quite easily in claws. When choosing your pile type, note that cut pile is more typical than loop pile or woven carpet, which is typically handmade and will come at a high price. If your previous carpets had worn out in heavy domestic use areas, next time opt for twist or velvet pile might be the solution.
Material – Nylon and polypropylene are the most durable materials on the market and create very stain resistant carpets, for that reason it is amongst the most popular carpet fibres worldwide. Polyester is more affordable and more flexible when it comes to look and style, but isn’t quite as durable. Wool carpet feels wonderful, is very hard wearing and looks unmistakable, but is a luxury product through and through so you’ll be paying for that quality. Whichever you choose should relate to your individual needs and situation.
Underlay – Choose the underlay that reflects the room you’re outfitting. For the living room, for example, you might want to invest in thicker, more expensive underlay. Also, note that the underlay will have a dramatic impact on how the carpet feels underfoot and there are also underlays designed to match certain carpet types so check with your manufacturer before making your decision.
Colour – Flat colours can seem bland, but they have the benefit of being clean and striking and often more affordable to boot. Patterns, meanwhile are perfect to hide stains and pet hairs, as are darker colours. Think about fashion and longevity – you’ll be looking at and using this carpet every day, after all.
Room Type – The type of room will ultimately affect what kind of carpet you opt for. Consider not only the kind of activities the room is typically used for from a logistical perspective but the furniture and the atmosphere of the room. It should all factor into your decision.
How Much Does Replacing Your Carpet Cost?
Now that you’ve decided you need to replace your carpet and you’ve got a replacement lined up, you’re probably going to be wondering how much it all costs. The recent influx of online carpet retailer outlets has been a real godsend for those who want to source the best carpets for the best prices whilst cutting out the middleman, but even when shopping online, you’re going to need to factor in certain costs. It’s not only the carpet itself you need to accommodate, of course, but the potential fitting, accessories and even the costs involved in getting rid of the old carpet.
Room clearance – A fitter will clear your room for you for an extra price (around £20 per room), but it would be more cost-effective to take care of it yourself.
Removal of old flooring – Whilst many fitters will factor removal of old carpeting or flooring into the quote (around a quid per square metre), note that businesses will also charge for waste disposal (around £15 per room), so you’ll save money if you can remove it yourself and drive it to the tip.
Fitting – For a small room, it should take an average fitter around 2 hours to fit the carpet and they should be charging you anywhere between £350 and £450. For larger rooms, the price could be at least double that. Ultimately, it will depend on the expertise of the fitter, but note many fitters will be able to get cheaper deals from the manufacturers and will pass the savings onto their customers.
Floor levelling – Levelling (or screeding) a concrete floor in preparation for carpeting will typically cost around £25 per square metre for the labour costs alone. The concrete mixture, meanwhile, will set you back around £30 a bag if you want to have a go at it yourself!
Ply boarding – You should expect to pay around £20 per square metre for ply boarding if your wooden underfloor has been damaged.
Door easing – This refers to trimming the bottom of your doors if the new carpet is slightly too thick and rubs against the underside of the door when it’s being opened and closed. A fitter should only realistically charge around £10 per door for a trim.
Underlay – Underlay is often recommended and is generally more affordable than the carpet itself. It might seem tempting to avoid the underlay, but you will certainly feel the difference if you opt out of it. Note there are also various types of underlay and different levels of thickness that are suitable for different room types and different situations.
Accessories – Aside from the underlay and the carpet itself you’ll also need carpet gripper to lay at the edges of the room. This is what is used to secure the carpet to the floor and keep it taught. Carpet gripper is mercifully cheap.
Carpet – Finally, The carpet itself. The cost will depend on a multitude of factors – from the material and the design to the pile type and the manufacturer. Luckily choosing your carpet has never been easier – with online carpet retailers you can do it from your own home!