With most items in your office, it’s fairly clear when it’s in need of replacing: chairs with no padding, desks with a broken leg, outdated technology that is no longer supported by the manufacturer.
But with carpet, it’s not so obvious. Unless it’s visibly worn through, it’s common to assume your carpet is fine, when in fact it’s suffered serious surface appearance deterioration which is noticeable to visitors to your organization, but not employees like yourself who see it everyday.
So today I’m looking at four signs that indicate it’s time to replace your office carpet.
1) Stains and Soiling
Widespread staining and soiling, that your maintenance team has been unable to remove through cleaning, is the most obvious indicator that your carpet needs replacing. If cleaning doesn’t remove the soiling, then the carpet will look dirty to you - and everyone who visits your organization. This looks unprofessional and can damage your company’s reputation.
The likelihood of staining can be reduced with a thorough (and regular) maintenance schedule. Even if you’ve specified or purchased stain resistant carpet, the treatment only works if the item spilled on the carpet is cleaned up in a timely manner. The carpet’s chemistry resists the penetration of the soiling agent for some time, but not forever. If the carpet is not cleaned soon after a major incident it will still set: even with stain resistance.
2) Wear and Tear
These days, carpet is so durable that it will normally look outdated before it actually wears out. However, in high-traffic areas, especially if your existing flooring didn’t have a high enough TARR rating to cope with such high levels of foot traffic, you may find that your carpet starts to look worn.
It’s up to you to assess whether your carpet looks ‘worn out’, and this can be difficult if you see it each and every day. One way to help you look at it more objectively would be to take a photograph of the office when it’s newly installed (and all your furniture is in place), and then compare the look of your office with the photograph every six months, to see how the carpet is aging and wearing over time.
One of the most common reasons for replacing office carpet is because the existing carpet is out of style or doesn’t fit the organization anymore. For example, if organizations have had a custom design in their brand colors, it’s common for them to go for a flooring refit if they have rebranded, to bring the look of their whole office up-to-date.
Other organizations like to look incredibly on-trend, and use their flooring as a way to bring color and design impact into their office space. In this case, ultra-modern looks go out of date more quickly than more neutral, timeless designs, and so will need to redesign their office much more regularly than organizations that are more conservative with their design preferences.
Alternatively, because carpet is so durable and maintains its appearance for so long, some organizations with a good maintenance schedule can keep their flooring looking great for 15 years or more, by which time design trends will have dramatically changed.
4) Moisture Damage
The final indicator for when it’s time to replace your carpet is the most obvious: when it’s been damaged. One of the biggest causes of damage to carpet (other than foot traffic) is moisture. For example, if there’s been a water leak in your building, or your area has been affected by flooding, moisture can wreak havoc with your carpet. With rising water tables, moisture is an increasingly common problem.
Once the water has been removed, your carpet has dried out and been cleaned, you might look at your carpet and think it’s no worse for wear. But often the carpet won’t have dried out quick enough and water will have created damp conditions that are perfect for the growth of mold and mildew. Even if your carpet looks OK after it gets wet, your best option is to replace it, to protect against mold and the associated health risks.