Although proper maintenance can drastically extend the life of your carpet, there comes a time when every carpet needs to be replaced. Some of the signs are obvious, but others are a lot more subtle. Things like age, wear levels, tears, stains, smells and increased allergies can be indicators that it’s time to invest in a new carpet. Ultimately, it comes down to the type of carpet, the amount of traffic it endures and how often it’s maintained. While most manufacturers estimate you’ll need a full replacement every 10 years, here are five telltale signs that it’s time to consider replacing your carpet.


One of the first signs that your carpet is in need of replacement is when the pile begins to stay matted down in the most frequently trafficked areas. Polyester carpet fibers have a reputation of matting and losing their form. Once it falls down and loses its tuft, it doesn’t return to normal, even with professional cleaning. Carpet fibers often become matted and frayed within just three to five years, so if your carpet is starting to look a little beat-up then it’s probably time to replace it. Nylon carpeting is typically more resilient than polyester and responds well to carpet cleaning, even when matted down.


Some carpet stains can be easily cleaned. Other unsightly stains can be hidden using furniture, rugs or other clever methods. However, its not always possible to hide areas of your carpet that have severe stains. Even if your current carpet was given a stain-resistant finish when it was installed, this treatment gradually fades away over time, leaving your carpet vulnerable to stains. If your carpet is stained beyond saving, it might be worth your time to start shopping for fresh carpeting. With carpet tiles, it’s easier to replace just the affected area and could save you money in the long run.


If there’s a foul smell coming from your carpet that no amount of deep cleaning or air freshener can mask, it might be time to replace it. Allergens, dirt and food stains can make a carpet smell funky after years of buildup. Additionally, the residue from various spills over the years can penetrate deep into the carpet fibers, the carpet pad or the subfloor and may even indicate mold and mildew growth—which can be a significantly bigger problem if left unaddressed. If you notice a musty smell, that could mean you have a water or mold problem. In that case, carpet replacement may be necessary after a mold remediation specialist takes a look.

Worn-Out Padding

Carpet padding provides a cushion and resilience level and makes your carpet comfortable to walk on. Additionally, it provides a noise buffer as well as insulation for the floor. However, the padding underneath your carpet can degrade and age just like the carpet above. It can flatten, get dirty and get dirt and grime ground into it, ruining the carpet, as well. If you start noticing wrinkles, unevenness or a crinkling sound under your feet when you walk on certain areas of your carpet, that’s a good indication the padding may need to be replaced. If often makes sense to replace the carpet at the same time as the padding.

Increased Allergy Symptoms

Carpet fibers are magnets for dust, dirt, mites, pollen and lots of other discomfort-causing substances. Sometimes, no matter how often or meticulously you clean your carpet, allergens such as these will find their way in there. While regular cleaning is important to maintaining good hygiene and health, a carpet—especially an older one—can only be cleaned so many times before it starts to wear and even the most thorough of cleanings can leave allergens behind. If you notice an increase in allergies, it’s a good idea to question how long the current carpet has been there and if it’s time to replace it.