Carpet wear is a serious issue. It’s a potentially huge expense, both in maintenance and replacement values. The costs are only part of the problem, though. Worn carpets can be OHS liabilities, particularly if someone trips on them and is injured.
Facts about carpet wear
Carpet wear is actually predictable. The very high usage areas are the natural recipients of damage. Depending on the type, carpets can respond well and be cheap to maintain, or they can respond badly and be horror stories of costs and cleaning issues.
The most common carpet wear issues include:
- Most wear is actually caused by the buildup of materials in the carpet. In particular, dust acts as a cutting agent, breaking fibres and literally cutting the carpet into pieces.
- Foot traffic impacts the carpet over time, reducing its resilience and hardening its surface. Additionally, it adds to the cutting effect of dust and other materials in the carpet.
- Heavy usage and carrying materials over carpets has a similar effect to foot traffic. Not only does it harden and compress the carpet, it also speeds up the damage done by the materials in the fibres.
- Spills on any type of carpet add fluids which can enter the carpet and change its consistency. This has the potential to cause real damage. Any carpet spill can also add chemicals, like wine acids or alcohol, which break down fibres. Even human skin shedding adds chemicals to the carpets, including oils and acids.
- Aging is a major factor. Unless a carpet is well maintained, it has a life expectancy of about 10 years. After that time, deterioration is usually noticeable and rapid.
Carpet wear is manageable. With knowledge and care, carpets can remain safe, beautiful and effective. Here are a few useful tips:
- Regular professional cleaning: Using a professional carpet cleaner on a regular basis is fundamental to carpet maintenance. Simply, most domestic cleaning options can’t approach the degree of cleaning required to remove materials from carpets.
- Resealing carpets: Carpet fibres are effectively protected by resealing, which prevents chemical agents and dust from doing the sort of damage that destroys carpets. It also makes carpets a lot easier to clean.
- Carpet tiling high wear areas: Modern carpet tiles come with their own backing and can be replaced almost instantly. They don’t require the same level of maintenance, and cost less over their lifetimes, making them perfect for high wear areas.
- Floor protection mats in high use, work and dining areas: These big mats protect carpets from furniture cutting into them, as well as providing instant solutions for high wear environments. They are also very effective in managing the effects of kids or pets on defenceless carpets.
Deciding on your carpet care options
In practice, a combination of all of the above is best practice. Consider what’s viable and what’s most cost-effective. The life of a carpet can be extended considerably with care, which can save a lot of money on maintenance and replacement.