Remodeling your home with new flooring is a big decision, and you want to enjoy it for as long as possible. For many customers, longevity is a primary concern. After making a substantial investment, the last thing you want to worry about is when you’ll have to do it all over again.
Carpet, especially in the form of an area rug, is one of the most popular home flooring options, highly regarded for its comfort and laid-back, yet luxurious aesthetic. However, due to its softer texture, many homeowners find themselves asking, “how long will a carpet last?”
In this article, we’ll break down how the number of years you can expect from your carpet and some steps you can take to extend its lifespan.
Factors that Contribute to Carpet Lifespan
Since there are a huge number of factors that contribute to carpet wear, the average lifespan is broad, between 5 and 15 years. Your carpet’s lifespan is highly dependent on the use that you put it through, as well as how well you take care of it.
Instead of “wearing out,” carpet will usually “ugly out” first. Typically, there needs to be at least a 10% loss of fiber within five or ten years for the warranty to cover a carpet wearing out. Technically, most synthetic fibers will not wear out but will mat or soil. Matting is caused by heavy foot traffic, improper carpet care, and improper cushioning. Soiling, unlike staining, is not necessarily caused by spilling something but is often caused by dirt and grime. To ensure your carpet will not “ugly out,” it is best to consider the Fiber Type, Density, Pile Height, Foot Traffic, and Maintenance when making your choice.
Above all, the quality and workmanship that went into your carpet will also determine its longevity. By investing in high-quality carpets, you’ll be assured that you’re receiving a product that’s built to last.
Carpet Fibers Used
The material used in the construction of your carpet plays a major role in your carpet’s longevity. Typically, there are four main types of fibers used:
- Nylon: Nylon is used in up to 90% of residential carpet installations, and is primarily chosen for its impressive durability. Nylon can last upwards of 15 years, making it one of the longest-lasting types of carpet.
- Olefin: Olefin, or polypropylene, often considered to be synthetic wool, is another durable carpet fiber used in many commercial applications. It has a slightly shorter lifespan but is also more affordable.
- Polyester: Polyester is often chosen for its ability to hold vibrant carpeting colors and patterns, but its softness makes it susceptible to matting.
- Wool: Natural wool is a premium material used in many higher-end carpets. It is expensive, and durable and if properly cared for, it can have a long lifespan.
The physical construction of the carpet can also have a tremendous impact on its expected lifespan. Two specifications are particularly important: density and twists per inch. In general, the greater these values, the higher quality the carpet will be.
When a carpet has a higher density, tufts are grouped closer together, preventing signs of wear from occurring as frequently. Additionally, a carpet with a higher number of twists per inch will better resist excessive wear and breakdown. For best results, choose a carpet with 3.5-6 twists every inch.
Pile height refers to the length of the individual carpet fibers, as well as how they are cut. With high-pile carpet, the fibers are much softer and looser, allowing for greater comfort and play. Low-pile carpets are cut closer to the carpet padding, meaning they’re more rigid and coarse.
Generally, the softer and longer a carpet fiber is, the more prone it will be to damage, and the shorter the lifespan it will have. For example, high-pile Berber carpets are exceptional for the soft feel they provide underfoot, but they won’t last nearly as long as a high-density low-pile carpet.
Carpet padding can also affect the life of your carpet; the thicker and firmer the padding, the less give and wear your carpet will experience. But how long does carpet padding last? Carpet padding can last up to 25 years. However, the most popular bonded foam-based carpet padding lasts only around 10 years. Eventually, particularly in high-traffic areas, carpet padding can degrade just like the carpet above. Be certain to choose carpet padding that has a declared life that is slightly longer than that of the carpet.
Amount of Use
For obvious reasons, the frequency in which your carpet gets used impacts how long it will be good for. Foot traffic may seem like a minor factor, but over time can greatly impact your carpet’s appearance. This is especially a concern in high-traffic areas that see repetitive wear every day.
The indicators of wear start small, normally near entranceways and hallways. Over the years, they’ll eventually compound to cause more noticeable damage that needs replacing.
Routine preventative maintenance is the key to extending your carpet’s lifespan. If the carpet is ignored, all of the dirt and grime that builds up every day will simply stay in the carpet, eventually leading to permanent staining that can be tough to remove. In this instance, the carpet will likely need replacing to remain visually acceptable.
A carpet that is well cared for and cleaned regularly is far more likely to reach its maximum lifespan.