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What is the Life Expectancy of Commercial Carpet?

Posted on Aug 24, 2017, by Michael Eckert

The life expectancy of commercial carpet is affected by several factors, from how it's used to the type of carpet you've selected. Shorter replacement cycles can hit your maintenance budget hard, and it's likely that a slightly more expensive carpet with a longer lifecycle will be better value for your money over its lifetime compared with a cheaper, less durable option.

Today we're sharing four factors that affect carpet longevity, and revealing how long you can expect different carpet types to last in a commercial environment.

What Impacts Commercial Carpet Longevity?

Foot Traffic

The levels of foot and rolling traffic in your commercial space affects how quickly your carpet wears out. Put simply, carpet fibers get crushed, bent or otherwise distorted when compressed by foot traffic, so commercial environments with higher levels of foot traffic will require a more durable carpet than quieter areas that experience less foot traffic - such as small, private offices.

Wear rating classification systems, such as TARR, provide an objective measure of a carpet's resilience to fiber and appearance degradation caused by frequent use, and give an indication of how durable your chosen carpet will be.

Color and Pattern

The design of your commercial carpet has an important role to play in terms of carpet longevity. Darker, highly patterned carpets are much better at disguising dirt and staining, compared with plain, light colored carpet. This means it will maintain its appearance for longer, rather than highlighting stains and dirt, and requiring more frequent replacement.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The efficacy of your cleaning and maintenance program also impacts commercial carpet longevity. A well-maintained carpet can last upwards of 15 years - it's more likely to go out of style sooner than it wears out - but only if it's looked after.

For busiest areas, daily vacuuming is required, while areas with less foot traffic may only require vacuuming 2-3 times a week. In addition to daily vacuuming, regular deep cleans are recommended, to keep your carpet in top condition. Dry carpet cleaning is the best option for deep cleaning carpets, as it's most effective and least disruptive. Learn more about the benefits of dry carpet cleaning.

As well as keeping your carpet clean and free of dirt and stains, clever maintenance is another way to extend the life of your carpet: if you've selected modular carpet tiles, it's likely that you'll be able to spot-replace any tiles that get badly stained, worn or otherwise damaged, with new ones from your attic stock. This will keep your flooring looking like new for longer, without necessitating a full replacement.

Carpet Backing

Modular carpet tiles have several different types of carpet backing, and this has the most significant impact on the life expectancy of commercial carpet, as some types can help lessen the impact of foot traffic on the carpet fibers.

Hardback carpet tiles offer no protection: pressure from foot traffic is directly absorbed by the carpet fibers. In contrast, cushion backing helps protect the carpet fibers by absorbing the impact from foot traffic, as the cushioning compresses rather than the fibers. In some cases, this can extend the life expectancy of carpet tiles by 40-50% compared with hardback tiles.

Comparing the Life Expectancy of Different Carpet Types

The primary factor in determining the life expectancy of different commercial carpet types is the carpet backing. Here's how they measure up:

  • PVC hardback carpet tiles
    These have an average replacement cycle of 7 years. This is a fairly standard life expectancy for modular carpet.

  • Non-PVC hardback carpet tiles
    These have a shorter life expectancy than PVC hardback. You can expect a life expectancy of only 5 years, as the backing is thinner than PVC hardback products, meaning the carpet fibers absorb the greatest amount of impact from foot traffic.

  • Carpet tiles with closed cell cushion backing
    Cushion backing helps prolong the life expectancy of commercial carpet. With closed cell cushion backing you can expect a replacement cycle somewhere between hardback and cushion backing, as the cushioning helps protect the carpet fibers against wear and tear.

  • Carpet tiles with open cell cushion backing
    Milliken's backing uses open cell cushion backing - the same as can be found in high-performance athletic shoes. Open cell cushioning re-inflates after compression, protecting carpet fibers more effectively and for longer than closed cell cushioning. It offers the best in carpet durability, and extends the life expectancy of your carpet tiles to at least 12 years.

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Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert