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Extending Carpet Life

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Below are a few of the best ways to extend carpet life. Doing so can save you a lot of money over the years, but it also means that you'll have nice carpeting to look at, walk on and sit on for a longer time. But first let's look at how long carpet normally lasts.

The quality of the product you start with obviously affects the life expectancy of carpet. Where, and for what purpose, you use the carpeting matters as well. For example, landlords often buy the cheapest apartment-grade carpet they can get, and plan to replace it every three to five years.

On the other hand, if you pay more for a high-quality carpet you can expect it to last fifteen years under normal usage. Add five years to that if you follow the recommendations below.

In general, when buying new, look for the highest "face weight" "pile density," and "tuft twist" you can get for your budget, and go with nylon. A polyester carpet with a face-weight of 24 ounces, a pile density of 1500, and a tuft twist of 4, will start looking bad after a year or two, and need replacement within a few years. But if you get nylon, a face-weight of 66, pile density of 3,000, and a tuft twist of 7, you have carpeting that can last more than 20 years.

Vacuum Regularly

Dirt in carpet fibers acts like little knives, cutting the fibers. Regular vacuuming reduces this damage.

Remove Shoes

If you have a policy of removing shoes when you enter your home, your carpet will last a lot longer. The shoes themselves can be harder on the rug than stocking feet or slippers, but shoes also bring in dirt that does damage, and traces of asphalt and other substances that can discolor carpeting.

Use Rugs

Use entrance rugs or mats to catch the dirt from shoes when people enter your home. This is especially important if you choose not to remove shoes in the home.

Use Chair Pads

If you have an office chair in a carpeted room, buy a pad for it to roll on. Nothing will wear break down those fibers faster than rolling around on them an office chair.

Rearrange Furniture

If you are always walking in the same pattern, you will wear out the traffic areas of the carpet sooner, and so need to replace the whole carpeting. By moving things around once in a while, and so changing where you walk, you will spread out the wear and tear and get a few extra years of life from your carpet.

Eat at the Table

Food particles can stain carpet and can damage the fibers too, so avoid eating messy meals or snack while sitting on the carpet.

Clean That Carpet

Regular cleaning by a professional with a truck-mount hot-water extraction machine (often incorrectly referred to as steam cleaning) will definitely extend carpet life.

On the other hand, if your primary goal is to make save money, then you have to balance the cost of the cleanings with the savings from a longer life expectancy for the carpet. After all, having the cleaner come every three months might make the carpeting last longer, but the cost would outweigh the savings you get from replacing the carpet less often.

Carpet cleaners--even those who are great at their jobs--look out for their own interests just like everyone else. Some will even tell you that you need to clean your carpets every six months. This could be true if you have three kids and a dog, but once annually is more reasonable for most people's homes. If you follow the suggestions above (especially if you remove shoes in the house, use entry mats, and vacuum regularly), you might comfortably go for a couple years without a professional cleaning.

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