Most homes have at least one carpeted room, with many featuring carpet in high-traffic areas like the living room and bedrooms. If you're like most homeowners, you probably don't think about replacing your carpet until it's visibly dirty or torn or if you’re getting ready to sell. However, several signs can indicate it's time for a new carpet installation. So, if you're wondering whether or not it's time for a new rug, keep reading!

Rips, Tears, and Missing Pieces

A rip, tear, or missing piece of carpet may not be that big of a deal if the affected area is out-of-sight. However, when it’s visible to anyone in the room or passing through, it’s usually time to replace the carpet. Rips and tears can be issues when kids and pets are in the homes. Pets can snag and pull at carpet tears, unraveling fibers and worsening the problem. Repairing any damage they’ve caused is one of the unique parts of selling a home that’s had pets, but they’re not the only ones that can cause the carpet to tear.

However, in some cases, it might be possible to remove a small piece from a closet (if the closet has the same carpeting) and patch the place. This is often a temporary solution, but it can be helpful until time and budget allow for a full carpet replacement.

Stubborn Stains

Carpet stains happen, from pet messes to splotches of salsa from when everyone went wild during that game-changing touchdown. Stains typically can be removed if treated fairly quickly after occurring. But sometimes, the stain goes unnoticed, and it sets in. Other stains are just stubborn. Even dirt and grime from walking across carpet with shoes can create deep, set-in stains. When a carpet has visible, stubborn stains, it’s an indicator that it’s time to replace the carpet.

Bad Smells Won’t Go Away

Odors can become deeply embedded within the fibers of a carpet, penetrating all the way down to the pad. When this happens, it can be near impossible to eliminate the odor. Over time, this can lead to the bad smell lingering permanently in the room. While hundreds of stain and odor-removing products are on the market, some bad smells can become permanent. The only way to clear the air is to remove the carpet.

If looking for home remedies to neutralize the smell before removing the carpet, consider these:

  • Sprinkle baking powder over the affected area, allow to sit overnight, and then vacuum.
  • Spritz the affected area with white vinegar, allow to dry. Repeat process, and then vacuum.
  • Create a 1:1 mixture of Borax and baking soda. Sprinkle on affected area, allow to sit overnight, and then vacuum.

Always keep kids and pets away from carpeted areas that are being treated for smells.

Pad Has Broken Down

Under the carpet is a layer of padding, known as 'underlay' or 'underlayment', which is traditionally made from PU foam, rubber, or felt. Carpet underlay offers multiple benefits, including increased comfort underfoot, reduced noise transmission, warmer and better-insulated rooms, and even acting as a protective barrier, keeping dust and dirt down.

But most importantly, underlay helps extend the lifespan of the carpeting because it absorbs the pressure and shock from daily wear and tear. Over time, it can and will break down, especially in a room that sees high usage. When the underlay has broken down, the carpet is more susceptible to rips, tears, and other damage. Once the carpet pad breaks down, it’s time to think about replacing the carpet.

Water Damage

It takes more than a spilled glass of water or two to damage a carpet. The top causes of water damage in a home include but are not limited to:

  • Window leaks
  • Overflow from a dishwasher, washing machine, bathtub/shower, or sink
  • Burst pipes
  • Broken sump pump

Any time a carpet becomes saturated, it’s at risk of developing mold. Mold can develop in as few as 24 hours. This is why removing as much water from the carpet as possible is critical, and then drying it thoroughly sooner rather than later. In addition, a water-saturated pad can be difficult to fix. Once it’s water-damaged, it is more likely to break down.

Water-damaged carpets can smell, retain stains, and become a moldy mess—often under the fibers where it can’t be seen. Water damage of any significance usually means it’s time to replace the carpet, and consider replacing windows and other parts of your home that could cause more water damage in the future.

Aggravates Allergies

Older carpets that have seen years of foot traffic will no longer appear fluffy, and, in spots, the pattern may wear away. The carpet fibers are breaking down. The older the carpet and the more traffic it sees, the faster the pad breaks down. The breakdown of fibers and padding can release allergens in the air. Still sneezing or have itchy eyes even after daily vacuuming and professional carpet cleaning? It’s probably time for a new carpet.

Keep Your Carpets in Good Shape

New carpets may seem like a luxury, but in reality, it’s often a necessity. Living with odors, potential mold issues, and allergens from old and damaged carpet can affect the overall health of a home, its people, and even the pets that share the space. Consider replacing the carpet as not only an aesthetic upgrade, but one with multiple benefits.