Carpets are a common feature in many households. They can make your floors more comfortable and add both warmth and aesthetic charm to any room.
However, they also tend to be expensive, which is why most people take extra care to maintain their carpets, hoping to extend their lifespan. But unfortunately, there comes a time when every carpet needs to be replaced.
So, how do you know when it’s time for a new carpet? Several signs appear when it’s time for a new carpet:
- Your carpet will display visible signs of wear and tear, have multiple stains, and burns and will become more and more faded.
- Your carpet may also start to smell, develop mold, and possibly even have patches of water damage.
- Your carpet will lose its plushness and begin to feel thinner.
- You may start having more allergic attacks as your carpet becomes less efficient at capturing allergens.
- Even if you aren’t experiencing these issues, you should consider investing in a new carpet if you’ve had your old one for more than ten years.
The rest of this guide will explore 11 key signs that suggest that it may be time to say goodbye to your old carpet and get a new one.
1. If your carpet has visible wear and tear
Carpets bear large amounts of footfall and the weight of heavy furniture every day, so it’s natural that they begin to display signs of wear and tear over time.
Wear and tear on a carpet can be visible in many different forms:
- Threads are coming loose. Most carpets are made of thousands of threads woven together. When carpets have been walked over and cleaned frequently, these threads may become weak and eventually unravel.
- Rips and holes. If many threads come unraveled, the carpet will have larger rips and holes.
- Tufts of fluff or fabric. Some carpets, like Berber carpets, are handwoven. When threads in these carpets come undone, they collect together to form knots of fuzzy fabric that grow larger if you pull at them. To help you visualize this, think about the knots you sometimes get on a wool sweater or coat.
How can you prevent wear and tear?
If you’re careful about how you treat your carpet, you can do a lot to prevent wear and tear:
Use walk-off mats
One of the main reasons carpet fibers break down is because of the build-up of soil, dirt, and grime in the carpet. Soil in carpets is a breeding ground for bacteria and mites which feed on and weaken carpet fibres. To prevent soil build-up, you can place walk-off mats at the entrance to the rooms where you have carpets. These mats will absorb a significant percentage of dirt on people’s shoes, protecting your carpet.
Clean your carpet regularly
Make sure you’re cleaning your carpet regularly to remove dirt and soil. You should always check your carpet’s instruction manual to make sure you’re cleaning your carpet correctly. Some carpets, for instance, should not be vacuumed and should only be cleaned by professionals. However, most carpets should be vacuumed regularly and shampooed, steam cleaned, or otherwise deep cleaned every few months.
Be careful when moving furniture
If you’re moving furniture around in the room with your carpet, be careful not to drag it. Dragging heavy furniture across carpets will make its threads unravel, so be sure to rope in some help and lift it instead!
Can you repair wear and tear?
Even with the most attentive care, it’s likely that your carpet will develop some wear and tear. Professional carpet restorers may be able to fix mild wear and tear, using a variety of tools. However, if your carpet is continuously developing new wear and tear, it may be time to consider a replacement.
2. If your carpet smells bad
If you have pets that have made messes on your carpet or if you simply haven’t cleaned your carpet recently, it may begin to smell. And unfortunately, carpets tend to absorb and hold onto odors, so the smell will linger.
A variety of different reasons can cause bad smells in your carpet:
- Pets. Pets can urinate, bleed, vomit, and leave solid messes on carpets. If it takes you a little time to discover their work, their messes may sink deep into the carpet, causing it to begin to stink.
- Mold. Mold in or under your carpet can cause a foul smell that is hard to remove.
- Cigarette smoke. If there are smokers in your home, you may have found that the smell of smoke seeps into everything, including your carpet.
- Faulty or inefficient cleaning equipment. Carpet cleaners and vacuums that are broken or inefficient may be making the smells in your carpet worse. They could be failing to adequately pick up dirt and particles which are causing the smell.
- Age. When carpet fibers break down, they become less efficient at repelling odors.
How can you prevent your carpets from smelling?
Prevention is always better than a cure, and there are a few things you can consider doing to prevent your carpet from smelling:
- Deal with messes and stains immediately. As soon as you find a stain or mess on your carpet, take all the steps possible to clean it.
- Clean your carpet regularly. Even if there are no direct messes for you to contend with, you should regularly clean your carpet with a vacuum and also give it a thorough deep cleaning every few months.
- Take smoking and pets outside. If you or your household members do smoke, try to do it outside to prevent the smell from seeping into your carpet. For the same reason, if possible, try to keep pets out of rooms that have carpets.
How can you deal with carpets which smell?
Even if you try to prevent foul smells from invading your carpets, there may be times when you have to lift a bad smell. Here’s what you can do:
- Use carpet deodorant. There are several carpet powders that you can sprinkle over carpets before vacuuming them. These powders will absorb dirt but also deodorize your carpet, leaving it smelling fresher. If you’d prefer a natural deodorizer, sprinkle some baking powder over your carpet and vacuum it up.
- Give your carpet steam clean. A steam cleaner will send steam into your carpet and remove foul smells.
- Shampoo your carpet. Like steam cleaning, shampooing your carpet will give it the deep cleaning it needs. Several special carpet shampoos have been designed to tackle bad smells.
- Call in the professionals. Professional carpet cleaners can do a full assessment on your carpet to understand where the smell is coming from and clean it appropriately.
If none of these recommendations work, then you should look into getting a new carpet.
3. When your carpet has unliftable mold
One reason that your carpet may be smelling is that it has developed a case of mold, which is a fungus that can cause allergic reactions.
Here are some signs that your carpet may have mold:
- Mold on the surface of the carpet. If you see green or grey growths on your carpet, you likely have a mold outbreak.
- Foul smells and discolored stains. If the carpet is emitting a foul smell or has discolored stains, there may be mold growing beneath it.
- Mold beneath the carpet. Mold growth typically starts under or within your carpet and then progresses to its surface. If you peel your carpet back from the floor, you may notice signs of mold growth.
How can you prevent mold?
There are various ways to prevent mold from growing in your carpet:
- Try to use dry methods to clean your carpet. Mold grows and thrives in moisture.
- Use dehumidifiers. These will remove moisture in the air, which will ensure that your carpet is not in an optimum environment for mold to grow.
- Use carpet padding. Carpet padding is placed under a carpet and is typically made from rubber or foam. It helps extend the life of your carpet and can prevent mold from growing.
When can you treat mold – and when is it untreatable?
Even if you discover mold on your carpet, don’t panic! If you have identified the mold soon enough, give your carpet a steam cleaning and then allow it to dry completely before beginning to use it again.
If the mold has only affected a small area of your carpet, then you can remove that section of the carpet and replace it with a small patch of newer carpet.
However, if the mold has covered a large area of the surface and underneath the carpet, you should consider getting a new carpet.
4. If you have constant allergic attacks
Mold isn’t the only allergen that may be living in your carpet. Carpets trap dirt and a wide range of common allergens like dust mites, pet fur, and even pollen. If you have constant bouts of allergic attacks when you enter a room with a carpet, the carpet may be to blame.
It’s almost impossible to prevent allergens from sinking into your carpet as there’s such a wide variety of them. However, you can try to remove allergens from the carpet by:
- Vacuuming. Vacuuming will gather up dust mites and fur from the surface and middle of your carpet.
- Using Disinfectant. Spraying carpet friendly disinfectant will kill many of the allergens causing bacteria hiding in your carpet.
- Steam cleaning. Alternatively, you can use a carpet disinfectant in a steam cleaning machine to steam clean your carpet, lift allergens, and destroy mold.
If you’ve cleaned your carpet multiple times but are still finding that the carpet is triggering your allergies, then you should get a new carpet. When carpet shopping, look for hypoallergenic carpets that are made with materials that repel allergens.
5. When your carpet has unliftable stains and burns
Most carpets will see stains and burns a few times in their lives. Stains and burns can be caused by:
- Pet messes. Pets can create a lot of messes on carpets by urinating, defecating, vomiting, and drooling on them. These all cause stains and discoloration, some of which sink deep into the carpet.
- Food and drink spills. Dropping your dinner, wine, and coffee on your carpet will all lead to stains. Some of these stains are unliftable, even with the most thorough cleaning.
- Grass and mud. When coming in from outside, you may track in grass and mud. These may leave lasting stains.
- Cigarettes, incense, and candles. If any of these accidentally fall onto your carpet, they will leave a burnt patch on it.
How can you prevent stains and burns?
The best way to prevent stains and burns is to be super careful in areas where you have carpet. Here are some things you can do to facilitate this:
- Try to eat your meals and have your drinks away from your carpet.
- Keep your pets out of carpeted areas.
- Leave mats in the doorways leading to your carpets to pick up the dirt you track inside.
How can you remove stains and burns?
If you need to remove burns from your carpet, there are two methods you can try:
- Cutting off the burned spot and replacing it with a patch of new carpet. You can try sewing in the new carpet yourself, or call in a professional restorer for help.
- Use sandpaper to scrape off the burn marks on your carpet. Then, use a vacuum to remove the scraped off area. However, this method may lead to a color change in that particular spot.
Meanwhile, to remove stains, follow these steps:
- If the stain is fresh, gently blot at it with a clean paper or cloth. If it’s not fresh, directly move on to step two.
- Spray at the stain with a carpet stain remover.
- Allow the cleaner to sit for ten to fifteen minutes.
- Blot the stain again with a clean cloth or paper and vacuum it.
- If the stain has not gone, repeat the process.
If you have tried lifting stains multiple times, have given your carpet a deep clean and find that they’re not budging, consider getting a new carpet. Or, get a new carpet if you are finding more stains and burns than carpet!
6. If your carpet is fading in several places
As they get older, carpets will naturally fade from constant cleanings and use. Carpets may fade faster when they are constantly exposed to moisture in the air and even when they are exposed to too much sunlight.
To protect your carpet, try to keep it dry, using dehumidifiers, and leaving fans on in the room if necessary. You can also use curtains and blinds to keep it out of the reach of direct sunlight.
If your carpet has already faded, then there are some things you can do to help restore its color:
- Use salt and vinegar mixture. Mix a cup of white vinegar with seven tablespoons of salt and three cups of hot water. Use this solution in your carpet steam cleaner and allow your carpet to dry completely. This method should help make your carpet’s color look more uniform!
- Call in the professionals. Professional carpet cleaners can use chemicals to bring back some of your carpet’s color.
- Dye your carpet. Use special carpet dyes to restore severely faded carpets’ color.
While dying your carpet is an option, you should remember that it is time and energy-consuming, and can also be expensive. If you find that you have to dye your carpet to make it look better, then maybe you should get a new carpet instead.
7. Degraded carpet padding
While you can look at the surface of your carpet for signs that you should get a new one, it’s equally important to look beneath the surface.
Carpet padding is found under the fabric of the carpet. It adds texture and insulation to your carpet and also protects the carpet by absorbing spills and stopping them from reaching your floors.
Carpet padding is an integral part of your carpet, and also needs to be considered when you’re thinking about whether it’s time to get a new carpet.
Here are some signs that you need to get new carpet padding:
- Your carpet feels thinner and flatter. If, as you walk over your carpet, you notice it has lost some of its plushness, then it may be because your padding has been worn down from constant use.
- It’s dirty. When you deep clean your carpet, the carpet padding also gets a cleanse. But, over time, it will be harder to keep the dirt out of the padding. If the padding is dirty, this will impact the health of the carpet’s fabric.
- It has stains and odors. If the carpet padding has a musty odor and multiple stains, then it is time to replace it.
Typically, carpet padding has a much longer lifespan than the average carpet. When cared for properly, carpet padding can last for up to twenty years. But, if you realize it’s time for new carpet padding, then it’s probably time to get a new carpet.
8. If your carpet is severely damaged by water
Because they cover your home’s floors, carpets are often the first victims during floods or plumbing mishaps. According to carpet cleaning experts, three types of water can damage carpets:
- Clean water damage. This is when clean water floods the carpet, as the result of a water pipe burst, or a sink or shower malfunction.
- Gray water damage. This is when mildly unsanitary water floods your carpet. This water could come from washing machines, dishwashers, and even aquariums.
- Black water damage. ‘Black water’ is considered toxic, as it can contain pathogens and is extremely unsanitary. Black water sources include a clogged toilet’s overflow, a broken sewage system, and even water from the sea or rivers.
When do you need to replace your carpet after water damage?
If a clean water source has damaged your carpet, you may not have to replace it. Instead, use a water extractor to remove as much of the water as possible from the carpet and padding. Then, allow the carpet adequate time to dry before beginning to use it again.
If grey water has damaged your carpet, remove the carpet and padding from your floor. The carpet’s padding will have to be replaced as padding soaked with grey water can grow mold and breed bacteria. Then, use a water extractor to remove water from the carpet and treat it with a disinfectant. After installing new padding, lay your carpet down and continue to use it!
However, if black water has damaged your carpet, you will need to remove both the carpet and padding and replace both. Even if you clean a carpet that has been damaged by black water, it can still carry a lot of toxic bacteria and mold. It’s better to discard it and buy a new carpet.
9. If your carpet keeps shedding
Many carpets, especially stapled yarn and spun yarn ones, tend to shed fuzz when they’re new. As you walk over and vacuum your carpet, some fibers will loosen and come to the surface of the carpet. When your carpet is new, this is completely normal; it will stop shedding as you use it.
However, if the shedding doesn’t stop or if your carpet is a few years old, then it may be a cause for concern. Carpets that are continuously shedding may have a manufacturing defect or have sand or dirt embedded in them. You can try to resolve the problem by regularly vacuuming your carpet, but if this doesn’t help, then you should consider getting a new carpet.
If your carpet is shedding unnaturally, it may be a carpet defect – be sure to call up your carpet manufacturer to see if you can get a replacement.
10. If your carpet is more than ten years old
Most carpets have a lifespan of ten years. However, this depends on a variety of factors, including:
- How you care for it. If you treat stains and spills immediately and give your carpet regular deep cleans, you are going to extend your carpet’s lifespan significantly.
- The traffic the carpet sees. A carpet in a two-member household will have a much longer lifespan than a carpet in a commercial area. Similarly, a carpet in a house without young children and pets will last longer than one that is.
- The weather. If you live in a place that tends to have humid weather, your carpet may have a shorter lifespan. This is because humidity can cause moisture in carpets, and moisture leads to mold.
- Getting professional care. Sometimes, in the face of large spills, severe water damage, or other carpet catastrophes, it’s better to call in professionals than trying to deal with cleaning your carpet yourself. You can also call in professional carpet restorers who can repair frayed fabric and discoloration.
Check the manual that came with your carpet, as it will advise you on how best to maintain it. However, despite your best, most loving efforts, there will be a time when your carpet needs to be replaced.
If it has been ten years and you still have the same carpet, it’s probably time to think about getting a new one. Of course, this varies depending on the type of carpet you have; high-quality carpets may last longer than ten years, while generic carpets may only last between 3-5 years.
11. If you’re redecorating or renovating
You’ll probably renovate or at least redecorate your house a few times. If you’re changing the color of your walls, your upholstery, and your furniture, then you should also get a new carpet.
Even if you’re not redecorating, simply changing your carpet can do wonders for the overall aesthetics of your room. It can make it brighter, plusher, warmer, and more comfortable.
You should also consider changing your carpet if you are planning on selling or renting your home. Potential buyers will respond well to fresh carpeting, and it will make your whole home appear more appealing.
Deciding to get a new carpet is an important decision. Carpets can be expensive, and choosing a new one can be confusing and time-confusing. However, if your carpet is displaying signs that it’s nearing the end of its lifespan, then you should prepare yourself to get a new one.
Start the process by looking at carpet and home decor manuals and think about what size, material, and color would suit your home and lifestyle best. Visit your local home design stores to get a feel for some of the carpets you’re considering.
As you become more knowledgeable and excited about a new carpet, you’ll find that you’re ready to say goodbye to your old carpet.
To recap, here are the 11 signs to look out for that suggest it’s time to get a new carpet:
- The carpet has lots of wear and tear.
- The carpet smells bad.
- The carpet has unremovable mold.
- The getting constant allergy attacks.
- The carpet has unremovable stains or burns.
- The carpet is fading.
- The carpet padding is degrading.
- The carpet has severe water damage.
- The carpet keeps shedding.
- The carpet is more than ten years old.
- You’re renovating or redecorating.