Like a nosy neighbor or overbearing mother in-law, carpets can overstay their welcome.
But knowing when it’s time to rip up and replace is more of an art than a science. Signs of wear and tear appear gradually and often subtly, and the lines between “broken in” and “broken down” can get a bit blurry. And no two rooms are the same. Carpet in a guest bedroom, for example, will likely outlast carpet in a heavily trafficked playroom. And homes with kids and pets will see more carpet wear (and more quickly).
Here are five tell-tale signs that your carpet may be past its prime:
1. When Cleaning Becomes A Wasted Effort
When blotting, sweeping and even hot water-extraction cleaning are no longer doing the trick, the carpet fiber fails to come back after vacuuming, or if you find yourself moving furniture or rugs to hide set-in stains, it’s time to replace. “After regular cleanings, old carpet starts to ‘ugly out’ by fuzzing and showing discoloration from soiling or direct sunlight,” explains Chris Fox, Specialty Flooring Sales Manager, STAINMASTER® brand.
STAINMASTER® brand ambassador and mom to Instagram-famous golden retrievers Charlie, Bodie and Riggs Tarynn Brown (learn more about them here) recalls moving into their Chicago-area home and trying, unsuccessfully, to keep her carpet clean. “It was so matted down that the vacuum literally couldn’t pick up the dog hair… the fur had basically become part of the fiber,” she said. “I ran the vacuum nearly every day and wondered why it was always empty.”
When home décor blogger Erin Marshall and her family bought their home in the Atlanta suburbs in 2011, they were immediately reminded that everything, carpet included, has a finite shelf life. “The house was built in 1996, and I’m pretty sure the carpet was original when we moved in… which was definitely a telltale sign it was time to replace it,” the STAINMASTER® brand ambassador says with a laugh. “I’m not sure we ever knew its true color based on dirt and wear.”
2.When Your Style Or Tastes Change
Let’s face it: your grandmom’s ‘70s shag carpet or even your mom’s ‘90s Berber haven’t aged well. You want a look that complements your home’s design aesthetic and transcends trends. “You may have a carpet that has worn beautifully for many years, but eventually want to make a décor change and lighten things up,” said Marianne Fifner, Strategic Account Manager STAINMASTER® brand. “During the pandemic, people are turning their dollars into home projects since they’re spending less on things like trips and clothes. Flooring is the fifth wall, and carpet is a smart, cost-effective investment in the look and feel of the home.” Carpet is a versatile, stylish way to complement any home’s interior design style.
3. When Fraying Becomes An Eyesore
“When carpet is nearing the end of its life, the fiber tips can sometimes untwist, leaving the carpet looking fuzzy and worn,” Fox says. “And that doesn’t look good at all.” Fraying is more common in hallways and stairways, where wear patterns emerge in areas of concentrated foot traffic and the carpet stops bouncing back over time.
The secret ingredient in many STAINMASTER® carpets, Nylon 6,6, resists fraying compared to other materials. It’s soft and shows color beautifully, but is also known for its durability and resiliency. “It’s the toughest material out there,” Fox said, adding that Nylon 6,6 is also used in parachutes and airbags.
4. When Odors Persist
For families with pets and kids, flooring can take quite a beating. And, unfortunately, messy lives can lead to stinky carpet. Spills, accidents and daily wear and tear can produce lingering smells, especially once liquid culprits penetrate the subfloor.
“That’s when people start to have odor problems they can’t seem to resolve,” Fox said. STAINMASTER® carpet cushion keeps odor-causing agents on the surface, making them easy to clean and remove. As a result, when paired with the STAINMASTER® carpet cushion, STAINMASTER® carpet helps keep things odor free.
5. When You’re Planning To Welcome A New Furbaby
Pandemic pets became a thing in 2020, with cooped-up families looking for extra companionship during lockdown. Unfortunately, dogs can wreak havoc on carpet. Fortunately, STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet guards against everything your pups dish out, with built-in stain protection, fade and odor resistance*, and exceptional durability and comfort.
“You can actually have dogs and light-colored carpet,” says Brown, who calls STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet a lifesaver. “It’s taken a beating from my boys, but shows no signs of fraying or wear. Their hair stays on top of the carpet surface and easily releases while vacuuming. And the padding system underneath the carpet is amazingly comfortable… it feels like you’re walking on a cloud.”
Marshall is another STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet convert. Her two rambunctious pups – Theo (an 11-year-old Schnauzer/Shih Tzu mix) and Buddy (a 7-year-old Lab/Pit Bull mix) – essentially destroyed her previous carpet.
“Our house cleaning budget doubled because of Buddy’s hair, so I’m excited to not have to deal with that anymore,” she said. “And for our carpet to stay looking and smelling fresh longer.”
Learn more about STAINMASTER® carpet and STAINMASTER® PetProtect® carpet.