Your floor is starting to look like they have seen better days. But the question is, do you replace them, or do they just need a little bit of polish and maintenance?
Not all flooring is built the same. Different flooring materials show individual signs of wearing down and replacement needs. And sometimes, the replacement decision simply comes from wanting to spice up the look. But how much damage makes replacement a more economical choice for your flooring? Keep reading to find out when to replace flooring for different flooring options.
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When to replace carpet flooring
The average life expectancy of carpet varies significantly with the build quality and fiber. A good quality carpet will last about ten years if properly cared for. Here are a few signs that it is time to replace your carpet flooring –
Stains on carpet
This one is pretty obvious. But it’s time for a replacement if your carpet has enough stains that you cannot even hide with creative furniture and rug placements anymore. And in this case, we are talking about the stubborn stains that even professional cleaners cannot remove. Stains are not just eyesores but can also be caused by mold and mildew, which is a health hazard.
If you have a pet, a mishap on the carpet is not as rare as you think. However, if you fail to remove dog urine from the carpet effectively, it can penetrate deep into the carpet fiber and even the subfloor — leaving a lingering odor. Frequent wet spills on the carpet can cause mold growth, resulting in a musty smell. If the stink persists after a professional cleaning, it’s time for new carpeting.
Wear and tear
Does your carpet looks beat up? Has the fiber started to matt down or fray? Are there rips in high-traffic areas?
Your carpet takes down a significant amount of beating every day, especially on the main walkways. With polyester carpets, once the fiber starts to matt down and lose its form, there is no saving them. However, nylon carpeting can be rejuvenated by professional cleaning. Once the tears are beyond repair or covering, it’s a signal that the carpet needs replacing.
This is a major one, and it sometimes takes years of suffering to find the main culprit. If you and your family members are frequently experiencing allergies, your carpet can be the driving reason behind it. Even with regular cleaning, carpet fibers hold on to dust specks as they age. The spills and moisture build up over the years make it susceptible to mold and mildew growth.
Stretchy and loose carpet
Older carpets develop bubble, becomes stretchy in places, and even comes loose off the wall. Although it is possible to repair the problem areas, replacement becomes the more viable option at some point. Old carpets also feel uncomfortable to walk on. Loose carpet on stairways is a health hazard you don’t want in your home.
How Do You Know When to Replace Hardwood Floors
Hardwood is one of the most durable and long-lasting floors that can last for nearly a century, depending on the wood species. But here, the fine print is your hardwood will only outlast your home if taken care of properly. They require a rigorous maintenance routine to enjoy them to their fullest, including a foolproof cleaning routine and clockwise refinishing.
Here are a few signs that you need to replace your hardwood floors –
Wood is very susceptible to water damage. In fact, it is the biggest downside of hardwood floors. Even though the finish on the floor can repel water to a certain degree, it cannot protect the wood from puddles of water. If wood is exposed to water frequently or lacks a protective seal, the water can cause it to warp or even rot in extreme cases. Once the rot sets in, there is not much left to do but replace the flooring altogether.
Refinished too many times
An excellent property of hardwood floor is you can refinish it instead of replacing it. Typically, hardwood requires refinishing every seven to 10 years. Refinishing wood involves sanding it down to remove any surface damage and applying a new coat of sealant. The sanding process takes away from the thickness of the floorboard — limiting the total number of times you can refinish your hardwood (around ten times on average). And once you reach your limit, you have no other option but to replace it.
Cracking and cupping of the floorboards
Wood is a hygroscopic material. Meaning wood tends to absorb moisture from the air. On the contrary, wood will give off/release water and contract or shrink in size in low humid conditions. Low humidity leads to cracking, gapping between planks, and splintering. At the same time, excessive moisture can cause the hardwood floor to warp or buckle. If the indoor humidity level is not maintained to the tolerated level, it can damage the hardwood beyond repair.
Creaking or moving floorboards
Do you have to tippytoe around your hardwood to prevent them from squeaking or creaking? Squeaking floorboards usually mean the wood is rubbing against each other or the subfloor. It is a sign of structural damage. Humidity variation with seasonal changes can also cause the hardwood planks to move. Although there are a few ways to fix squeaky floors, replacement is the most reasonable option once the structural damage sets in.
Scratches and marks on hardwood are unavoidable and sometimes add to its definition. However, if you have stains over a large area, then it becomes a problem. Also, if you notice stains that you cannot remove even by scrubbing, it means the stain has set in into the grain of the wood. Large chips and gouges are also concerning for hardwood health. Deep scratches also make hardwood more vulnerable to water damage as it allows water to seep in.
How Often Should You Replace Vinyl and Laminate Floors
Deciding when to replace laminate or vinyl flooring is pretty simple, as they show clear signs of irreversible damage. Vinyl and laminate both have a minimum life expectancy of 10 years which can be extended to 15-20 years for vinyl and 20-30 years for laminate.
Water damage is most common with laminate, often indicated by warping, which can lead to splitting, cracking, buckling, and discoloration. Additionally, direct water damage can cause bubbling around the edges of the planks. While vinyl has high water-resisting qualities, trapped moisture in the subfloor can damage the underside of the vinyl. It also has a breaking point and cannot handle heavy stress and weight.
However, peeling is the main indication for a replacement for laminate and vinyl. If your floor is peeling, it indicates that the adhesive is not functioning anymore. Other than general wear and tear, humidity, wet subfloor, and liquid spills can cause peeling.
When Should You Replace Ceramic Tiles
Ceramic tiles are the most durable flooring and can last a lifetime. You can replace the broken tiles and redo the grout — and you will end up with healthy ceramic tiles. Whether you are considering replacing a single tile, a small section, or the entire floor, here are some signs you should replace your ceramic tiles –
Single tiles can crack for a number of reasons, including sharp blows, dropping heavy objects, or even from the weight of heavy furniture. In such cases, you don’t need to replace the entire floor, just the cracked or broken tiles. However, if an entire section of tiles cracks for no external reason, it could indicate foundation issues. You need to assess the situation further and consider replacing the tiles.
Loose and tenting tiles
Your tiles may “tent” or come up a little after installation due to adhesive, joint, or structural problems. Improper installation can also cause the tiles to come loose, which is a significant safety concern. If you notice movement in your tiles, you may need to replace or redo the affected area.
Going out of style
Another big reason you might consider replacing your ceramic tiles is that they simply don’t go with your desired aesthetic. Even though they are built to last a hundred years, only a few can keep up with the style changes. Although you don’t want to hop on every trend for your floors, refreshing your look every so often is something to indulge in.
How Long Will Natural Stone Floorings Last?
The National Association of Home Builders reports marble as one of the few materials that can last over 100 years. The other natural stones also have a similar lifespan and usually outlast buildings. That being said, the practical longevity of your natural stone floors depends on installation, cleaning rituals, and how much stress it is exposed to.
Natural stone floors require strict maintenance and care. Also, you need to seal them to prevent staining. There are no hard and fast indicators for replacing natural floors. If your floors aren’t cared for properly, they might become too dingy and dull for you to keep them any longer.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace Floors?
The cost to replace floors varies significantly with the material, the size of the area, and labor cost. HomeAdvisor states the range of cost to replace floors can be as wide as $200 to $10,000. The cost of material starts at $0.50 and can go upwards of $14 per square foot. The labor can cost anywhere between $1 and $15 per square foot, depending on your location and material. You can also save up on installation costs with these DIY-friendly flooring options. Another exclusive cost for replacing flooring is the removal and disposal fee, which costs an additional $1 to $6 per square foot.
If you realize it is time to replace the flooring, it is also a perfect opportunity to consider a radiant floor heating system. Radiant heat is the best available heating system in the market. It is 20-25% more energy-efficient than a forced-air heating system — and floor renovation is the perfect opportunity to make this addition to your home.