When to Clean and When to Replace Your Carpet
Carpet can last as long as you want it to, and it can easily outlast its owner depending on use and care. However, most of us have carpet because we want to walk on it and live on it, not just look at it. At some point, we have to consider replacing carpet. These reasons may include events such as buying or selling a home, water damage, discoloration or wear of carpet from long term use, and permanent damage from stains or pets, just to name a few. Not all of these situations require replacement. Below are some situations where cleaning versus replacement should be considered:
- Pet Stains: Discoloration from pet stains is very difficult to correct. Some treatments designed to fully remove the urine and odor can also remove the color from the carpet. Milder treatments may leave the color intact, but do not always remove all odor and contamination. For homeowners who plan to keep their pets, regular cleaning is a good choice to keep the urine contamination in the carpet and pad to a minimum. For home buyers and sellers, replacement is the best option.
- Allergies: Clean away! Carpet is actually a great product for trapping allergens in the home and keeping them at floor level. Hard surfaces such as tile and wood actually increase the allergens distributed in the air we breathe. The only caveat is that carpet must be cleaned at least annually to remove the trapped allergens from the carpet fibers.
- Water Damage: Most in-home flooding is from clean water sources. Affected carpet can be easily cleaned in these situations and re-stretched to account for any minor variations. Water damage from unsanitary sources such as sewer lines and septic tanks ALWAYS requires carpet replacement.
- Crushing, Wear, and Discoloration: All carpet will wear differently, and most carpet will maintain its original look and feel if cleaned regularly. During long periods of use without cleaning, any carpet will begin to show signs of use. Traffic areas will crush and lose pile height, edges along walls will develop filter soiling caused by pressure changes in the HVAC unit, and transition areas from entrances and kitchens will show discoloration from soil. Cleaning can sometimes remedy these situations, but it’s best for us to take a look and give advice from there.
- Age: If carpet is more than 12-15 years old, and hasn’t been professionally cleaned at regular intervals, it most likely will need replacing. Conditions such as filter soiling, crushing, and traffic patterns will have taken their toll on the carpet, and a single cleaning will not undo decades of wear. Carpet should be professionally cleaned at intervals of 6 months up to 2 years to ensure longevity and cleanliness. Under this type of maintenance schedule, carpet can easily last 20 years or more.
Threadbare patches or matting
Carpets bear the brunt of a lot of wear and tear over the years, especially in busy family households and rental properties where tenants are less likely to treat and maintain your carpet with the same care as you would yourself.Over the years this wear and tear can take its toll and lead to thinning and threadbare patches, especially in high traffic areas such as hallways, staircases and living areas.Matting can also be a problem with time and is unfortunately not something that can usually be restored. Matting of carpet fibres tends to affect polyester carpets more, because while they can feel soft underfoot, they tend to have a weak resistance to matting.Once your carpet starts to become threadbare and worn, it means it has definitely seen better days – time to invest in new carpet!As with staining and odours, making the right carpet choice for your needs from the outset is your best defense against premature wear and replacement.
Biological substances can lead to a buildup of bacteria under your carpet. If that’s the case, consider replacing your carpet. Similarly, flooding or water damage can result in mold under your carpet. This is common in basements where the environment is damper than normal. Take a proactive approach and deal with the mold before it becomes worse. For instance, you can purchase a mold test kit to check the levels of mold in your carpet before making your decision.
If there’s a foul smell coming from your carpet that no amount of deep cleaning or air freshener can mask, it might be time to replace it. Chances are the smell has permeated through the carpet and into the padding, or mold has gotten into the carpet and padding.
One of the first signs that your carpet is in need of replacement is when the pile begins to stay matted down in the most frequently trafficked areas. This is especially true for carpets that are made of polyester fibers; once the pile begins to lay down due to heavy foot traffic, there’s not a whole lot you can do to get it to stand up again. Even getting your carpet professionally cleaned may not do a whole lot to renew its look.