Getting a new carpet can completely transform a home and make it feel like a new space entirely.
But how do you know when to replace your old carpet, and more importantly how long should a carpet actually last in your home?
On average, a carpet should last at least 5 years up to well over 10 years, but this can vary depending on a lot of factors.
These factors range from how much the carpet is used to the carpet’s type of material and quality. In this article, we will explore the different factors that can affect your carpet’s lifespan and what you can do to keep your carpet for as long as possible.
Factors that Affect the Lifespan of your Carpet
Let’s take a deeper look into each factor that can affect how long your carpet will last.
The type and therefore quality of carpet material that you have will directly affect the lifespan of your carpet.
Carpets are usually made from either synthetic materials such as nylon, or natural fibres such as wool:
- Artificial fibres will last longer as they are more resistant to abrasions – the fibres will keep their shape much better than natural materials.
- Natural materials like wool tend to not last as long as artificial materials, but can be preferred due to their more natural feel and appearance.
Frequency and type of cleaning is another factor that affects how long it will last.
The amount of cleaning will obviously depend on how much the carpet is used, but generally, you’ll want to vacuum your carpet at least once per week and deep clean a couple of times per year. A professional clean is also advised yearly to ensure your carpet remains in top condition.
The cleaner you keep your carpet the less damaged it will be by spills and soiling, and the longer it will last.
A carpet located in a busy shop will obviously receive much more use than one in your spare bedroom.
This is critical in maintaining your carpet for the long term because the more a carpet is walked on the more damaged and worn the material will become. There is a reason why most busy indoor walkways opt to use different flooring material such as laminate or wood.
The location is also important because this can change what is in the room that the carpet is on. For example, a home office with a carpet is likely to contain desks, chairs, sofas, and a bookshelf; all of which will create permanent marks on the carpet that can be very difficult to get out.
Although there are ways to remove the indentations, these could lower the amount of time your carpet will last if you decide to rearrange any furniture and don’t want the marks to be visible.
The lifespan of your carpet will also depend on who is at home. If you’ve got young children and animals as well such as dogs or cats then your carpet will become more damaged and worn in a shorter amount of time. It’s only natural for younger children to accidentally spill food and drink onto a carpet, as well as animals bringing in dirt and debris from outside
This is usually why younger households or those with animals tend to prefer wood floors as they are substantially easier to clean.
How to Tell if your Carpet Needs Replacing
It can be difficult to tell if your carpet needs replacing, especially because most dirt can be trapped within the bottom level.
There are a few telltale signs that you can check for to see if your carpet is nearing the end of its lifespan and will need replacing soon.
If your carpet smells after cleaning then you could have a serious problem on your hands.
A lingering smell would suggest that a previous spillage has penetrated further into the carpet fibres and, more importantly, into the floor below. If this is allowed to sit for a long time it can lead to mould or mildew forming.
If you have this problem, the first step is to remove your carpet and assess any damage to the underneath and work from there.
Matting is common in carpets that are used heavily, for example, in a walkway or corridor.
The issue here is that once your carpet has matted in areas there is very little you can do to restore the carpet back to its original condition. Even a professional cleaner might struggle to work the matting out.
If your carpet feels ‘thin’ to walk on this is the first sign that the padding underneath the carpet has worn out. Carpet padding is really important not only for comfort but it has insulating properties not only with heat but also with sound.
At this point, it’s up to you if you want to replace the carpet padding or the entire carpet, but the odds are that if your padding is worn out then your entire carpet will be too.
How to Keep your Carpet for as Long as Possible
The best advice when it comes to making your carpet last is to lay the carpet in rooms where it will be used the least. Examples of this include bedrooms, offices and even your living room. Having carpet in high traffic areas such as the hallway or entrances into the house is a sure way to reduce the lifespan.
A good tactic if you move into a house with a carpet in a busy area is to lay a rug over areas where people will be walking most. This is obviously a lot cheaper than installing wood flooring and can be an easy way to make your carpet last longer.
Aside from that, keeping your carpet clean should be your main priority. The more often you clean your carpet, the less chance of liquids getting into the lower layer and eventually seeping into the ground; leading to the issues mentioned above. Vacuuming will also help to prevent any damage in the long term from debris.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve rounded up some of the most common questions we get asked when it comes to carpets and how long they last, including alternatives to carpets as well as
Do Hardwood Floors Last Longer than Carpets?
Hardwood floors will usually last much longer than carpets.
This is because hardwood floors do not collect dirt and any fluids will sit on the surface rather than being absorbed. It is much, much easier to keep and maintain a hardwood floor when compared to a carpet.
There are some advantages to using carpets instead, however:
- Carpets are much more comfortable due to their softness. This attribute also makes them safer for younger children.
- Carpets are a lot cheaper to buy when compared to hardwood flooring; the compromise being that they last a shorter amount of time.
It really depends on what you’re looking for and what your budget is when it comes to choosing between hardwood floors and carpets.
Hardwood will obviously cost a lot more but is more durable and better for some families. Carpet is warmer and softer, costs less but is more difficult to maintain and lasts for less time.
Can Carpets Last 20 Years?
If you regularly maintain your carpet by vacuuming every week, deep cleaning often throughout a year as well as getting professional cleans yearly then your carpet can easily last 20 years.
This is clearly a lot of work, however, and most carpets will last from 5 years to 15 years as we already mentioned.
Can Old Carpet Make You Sick?
If fluids make their way under your carpet and settle into the floor then mould can easily form, as we mentioned earlier. Spores of mould can become airborne and potentially lead to illness, which is another reason you should consider replacing your carpet if it has a lingering smell.
Carpets also hold lots of pollen and other allergens which can cause some people to react and feel unwell.
How Long Should a Carpet Last in a Rented House in the UK?
Around 10 years is the best ballpark figure for how long you’ll want a carpet to last in rented accommodation in the UK.
Alternative options include hardwood, as mentioned before, or laminate and vinyl. The choice will depend on the type of rental property that you own as well as the type of tenant you are looking to let to. If the carpet is damaged by the tenants you can charge them for the damage, otherwise, at the end of the tenancy agreement, the landlord is responsible if the carpet has experienced regular wear and tear.
If you have any other questions when it comes to carpets and how long they last, don’t hesitate to contact us using our form. If you’re interested in any other home or furniture advice then go check out our blog.