Should I replace my carpet or have it cleaned?
©2011 Alan J. Fletcher – Author of “The Complete Carpet Buying Guide”
Some carpets are designed to last for 3 years and some for 30, but sooner or later your carpet will have outlived its usefulness and will need to be replaced. Here is a quick test to help you determine if your old carpet is still worthy of another professional cleaning or if it’s time to start thinking about buying new carpet.
Is your carpet matted down?
One of the first signs of carpet death is when the pile starts to mat down in the main walkways. If your carpet is made of PET Polyester or Polyester and is matting down then it’s likely that your carpet is on its way out. Polyester fibers are well known for matting down and crushing because they are not very resilient. Once the tuft falls over and lays down it won’t ever return to its original upright position. In this situation having your carpet professionally cleaned will likely not give your carpet any renewed life.
However, if your carpet is made from Nylon or Sorona® then you may be able to remedy the matting problem with a professional cleaning. Nylon is well known as the most resilient fiber and has the ability to regain its like-new appearance after being professionally cleaned. Sorona®, also known as Smartstrand®, PTT or Triexta is more resilient than polyester and can regain some of its like-new appearance after a thorough cleaning.
Have Berber Carpets?
If you have a looped Berber carpet made from Olefin and the once upright loops are now laying down flat as a pancake then it’s likely that your old carpet has seen better days. While Olefin is a very durable fiber, it is not very resilient and therefore prone to matting. Olefin is cheap to manufacture and is inherently oily by nature so it tends to attract dirt and is hard to keep clean. Many homeowners report that oily spots or stains reappear soon after being cleaned. If your Berber carpet is made from Olefin and is more than three years old, is matted down and looking dingy, then spending money on a professional cleaning may not yield beneficial results. It may be time to consider replacing your carpet.
Berber styles made from Nylon are much more desirable because they resist matting, are stain resistant and have a much longer lifespan. The only downside is the cost because Nylon is much more expensive to manufacture than Olefin. Expect to pay $20 to $40 per yard for a good quality nylon Berber carpet. If your Berber carpet is less than 10 years old and is made from Nylon, a professional cleaning can easily rejuvenate your old carpet and provide you with many more years of service.
Is your carpet permanently stained?
No carpet is stain proof and even the most expensive carpets can be ruined by staining. All carpets sold today have some form of anti-stain treatment either applied or infused. All topically applied anti-stain treatments can wash off or wear off over time. Scotchgard® is a well known anti-stain treatment product that is topically applied and can be reapplied as necessary. Most carpet cleaning companies provide this service for a nominal fee. Stainmaster® carpets have an anti-stain system that is infused into the fiber and does not wash or wear off.
Professional carpet cleaners can remove most household stains but in some cases there is little hope. Carpet manufacturers have a list of certain types of stains that are not covered under their warranty including mustard, teas, bleaches, acne medications, plant fertilizers, drain cleaners, and plant food – to name a few.
If your carpet has permanent stains or damage caused from vomit, urine, feces, mold, mildew or other biological substances then your carpet may be a health hazard and should be replaced. Consult with your professional carpet cleaner if you need an expert opinion or advice.
Is your carpet more than 10 years old?
Most carpet and padding sold today is designed to last about 10 years. This is considered to be a medium grade or quality level that most homeowners select. Prices range from $20 to $35 per square yard installed with a rebond pad. If your existing carpet is more than 10 years old and you have issues like ripples or wrinkles, color loss or fading, matting or crushing of the pile or a lack of padding support in halls, main walkways and on stairs, then your carpet and padding may be nearing the end of its intended lifespan. Lower quality carpet may reveal these end-of-life warning signs much sooner and spending hundreds having your carpet professionally cleaned won’t make a worn out carpet or padding come back to life.
Is your padding worn out?
When you buy carpet it is very important that you buy the correct padding to go under it. Padding is considered the heartbeat of your carpet and once it fails to provide enough support; your carpet will start to wear out much faster. So when you are ready to buy new carpet, be sure to choose a good quality padding that is able to provide sufficient support and has a lifespan equal to the carpet you select.
If you find that your existing padding is worn out but your old carpet still looks like new, you might be able to just replace the old padding to give your old carpet several more years of added life. This is not a common thing to do and you should consult with your professional carpet cleaner to see if this might be a viable option for you.
Are You Getting Ready to Buy New Carpet?
When it’s finally time for you to start looking for the perfect new carpet, there are many important factors that you must consider to determine what grade of carpet can meet your needs, goals, lifestyle and budget. You should learn how a carpet is constructed including fiber type, face-weight, pile density and tuft twist to name a few. Choosing the wrong grade of carpet or padding can void the manufacturer’s warranty and be a very costly mistake.
The price of new carpet has increased dramatically over the past decade and there are plenty of common carpet scams and pitfalls you need to learn how to avoid. Visit my website for more free carpet buying information and check out my Preferred Carpet Dealer Directory to see which carpet dealers I recommend near you. Get a free coupon for up to $100 off and learn how to buy new carpet like a pro! In my Carpet Buying Guide, I reveal over 100 years of combined family carpet buying knowledge and experience to help you choose new carpet wisely, avoid common carpet scams and how to negotiate your absolute best carpet deal.
Ask your Professional Carpet Cleaner for a free complimentary copy of my Complete Carpet Buying Guide now available on CD to read or print right from your home computer! It’s jam-packed with money-saving information and honest carpet buying advice not available anywhere else at any price! Visit my website at http://www.AbcCarpets.com to learn more!
Alan J. Fletcher – Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate
Carpet Condition Test – Should You Clean or Replace your Carpet?