When your kitchen floor is torn up for a whole week, the room that is most often used in your home is out of commission, that’s stressful. But, sometimes we let our old flooring go too long without being replaced.
When is it time to replace flooring? Here are some ways to gauge whether your flooring really needs to be changed.
Carpet- The Allergen Collector
Carpet, while inexpensive and comfortable to walk and sit on, has a shelf-life. Every day, the people who come into your home are tracking dirt from outside, and not just dirt from the yard. Shoes carry dirt from the bus station platform, the public bathroom at the junior high school, the cafeteria, and other grimy, bacteria-ridden places.
Also, carpet collects dander, dust mites, and hair and skin particles, making it a veritable smorgasbord of allergens. Vacuuming frequently and having a carpet cleaner come in occasionally can help with this, but carpet should be replaced every five years. If you want a real visual of the dust and particles that your carpet is collecting, watch old carpet get removed. There are literally drifts of fine dust particles under your carpet pad.
So, if your carpet is more than five years old, consider having it changed. Or better yet, try hard flooring. With sweeping and mopping, almost every possible allergen is removed and you won’t have to worry about asthma or allergy issues from your flooring. Also, if you take care of tile or stone or wood floors, they will last you four times as long, or longer.
Tile-When it Breaks, it’s Time
Tile is incredibly sturdy. It doesn’t stain easily and can be cleaned quickly. The problem with tile is when it breaks or when the grout starts to get dingy and cracks. Over time, you may start to notice that an edge of
your tile has cracked or that the grout is splitting. This is often because the subfloor is shifting underneath the tile. Once this starts happening, the tile will continue to shift and may become a trip hazard. To make matters worse, dirt and moisture starts to build up under the cracked tile and grout, often becoming moldy and developing an odor. When this happens, it’s time to replace your tile.
Also, because tile does last so long, usually you don’t need to replace it until the style trends change. Many will replace tile floors simply because they have outlasted home décor trends. If your floor is avocado green with brown grout, it’s from the 70’s and it will certainly affect the value of your home. It’s time to put something more modern in.
Wood Flooring- Water is the Enemy
Wood flooring, believe it or not, can last a very long time. Old historic homes often have their original wood floors intact, a demonstration of how durable these floors are. The biggest enemy to wood is water. If water sits long enough on hardwood, it will warp. And usually it will warp beyond saving. This is an obvious time when your flooring needs to be replaced.
But there are other situations as well. The finish on your hardwood will eventually start to fade, and that wood will be exposed to the elements. It will start to turn gray and will be hard to clean. Eventually that unprotected wood will crack and even break. If this happens you may be able to just refinish your wood floors. A good sanding, staining and sealing will give your wood floors new life.
Lastly, termites have been known to attack wood floors. In this case, the entire floor should be totally replaced and the subfloor should be treated with pesticide to ensure the little critters are really gone.
Sometimes it’s obvious when your floors need an upgrade. But sometimes we wait too long, which can be a detriment to our health. Allergens and mold, when inhaled, can inhibit the immune system and cause serious respiratory problems. Also, in the case of wood floors, early intervention can save the floor from irreparable damage. So know when it’s time to make the switch.