While some flooring materials can realistically last a lifetime, it doesn’t mean the styles will last that long.  Not to mention, maintaining some floors prolongs their life expectancy only so much.  Though how do you know when you need to replace them?  I’ll explain that and also tell you the best time to replace your floors.

How to Know When Your Flooring Needs to be Replaced


patch of carpet

Photo by Marina Leonova on Pexels.com

On average carpets last ~ 10 years.  But there are low quality ones out there that last fewer than 10 years.  And there are higher quality carpets that will last longer than 10 years.  Some can even last up to 20+ years.  However both qualities depend on if there are pets and a lot of traffic in the home (and on the carpet).

Here are some hints your carpet needs to be replaced:

  • Fade spots

Sometimes carpets can fade when exposed to direct sunlight, especially near windows.  So if your carpet’s fade spots are bothering you, the only thing you can do is replace it.

  • Odors

Smells are difficult to get out of carpeting, especially if allowed to soak into the padding.  If you’ve had any kind of plumbing leak near your carpet and are noticing bad odors, you might need to replace your carpet.  And if you’ve had your carpet cleaned and it still smells bad once it’s completely dry, it definitely needs to be replaced.  That’s because the odor you’re noticing is most likely mold and mildew.

  • Stains

Before you decide to get rid of your carpet, try hiring a carpet cleaning service.  Often times they can do wonders for our floors.  However if there are stubborn, set in stains, then your floor needs to be replaced.

  • Tears

Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your carpet is destined for the landfill if it has tears, snags, or holes in it.  First, call a carpet repairman to see if they can salvage it.  But if they can’t, then it’s time to replace your carpet.


finished tiled floor

Tile can last anywhere from as little as 20 years to a lifetime, depending on the kind of tile and the care it’s seen.  Additionally, tile can be replaced, and grout can be cleaned and sealed.  Also, tile is impervious to water, which makes it a great selection in bathrooms and kitchens.  However styles don’t last forever.  What was in demand 10 years ago can look dated now.  Below are other signs your tile might need to be replaced.

  • Cracks

Both ceramic and porcelain tile are susceptible to cracks, especially when something heavy falls on them.  However they can crack with temperature changes over time, expanding and contracting.

  • Loose tiles

Loose or tented tiles, where they come up a little bit, can be dangerous, since people can trip on them.  And in the case of tenting, usually the culprit is insubstantial use of movement joints.  But for loose tiles, the cause can be temperature changes or even using the wrong adhesive.  Or not using enough.

  • Grout issues

Though grout can be cleaned, if it hasn’t been done on a weekly basis, or professionally cleaned at least once a year, then you likely don’t know what your grout even looks like.

On the other hand, if there’s a moisture issue on the floor, a whole host of problems can affect the grout.  From mold to cracking, the grout will begin to fail.  Or if it was mixed incorrectly, it can turn to powder.


hardwood floor

Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

Hardwood flooring can last ~ 30 years with proper care.  Although that number could be higher or lower based on the type of wood, the thickness, how often you entertain, and whether you have pets and children.  Furthermore, when wear and tear show up on hardwood floors, you can have them refinished.  Or do it yourself.  But the results are the same:  your floors look brand new again.  However there are definitely times when that won’t be the case.  Here are some indications when you can’t just refinish them.

  • Maxed out on refinishing them

If you’ve had your wood floors 20-25 years and have already refinished them ~ 6 times, your floors are at the end of their life.  And that’s because wood floors can only be refinished at a maximum of 4-6 times.  Though if your planks are thinner, then their lifespan is much shorter.

  • Water damage

Unlike tile, wood floors do not do well with water.  That’s why you don’t see bathrooms with wood floors.  Or at least not many bathrooms with wood floors.  Engineered wood performs a little better with water.  However both will sustain damage if there’s a moisture leak or something spills and doesn’t get cleaned up in time, etc.

Signs of water damage include worn out stain or discolored wood.  Also, the wood can warp and splinter.

  • Nail pops

Yes, you can see nail pops in/on your hardwood floors the same way you can in your drywall.  Except it’s a lot more dangerous, especially if you walk around barefoot.  But if you’re seeing them all over your floors, replace your wood floors.  It’s an issue with the way they were installed.

  • Movement

If your boards squeak or move when you sand them, then it’s probably beyond repair at this point.  When refinishing your floor is noticeably more challenging to do, due to the movement of the planks, have them replaced.


laminate floors

Laminate floors can generally last around 15-25 years.  But again, as with all of the other flooring choices I’ve covered, it can be longer or shorter relative to proper maintenance, amount of traffic, and length of time moisture remains on it.  But if properly installed, it’s stain, moisture, fade, and burn resistant.  And you can get it to look like wood or tile.  However you can’t sand it and refinish it when it starts to look worn down.

Here are some signs your laminate floors might need to be replaced.

  • Gaps

Gaps are where space has been created between the planks or boards.  And it normally happens because the laminate hasn’t been acclimated to the temperature before installation.  At this point there’s nothing that can fix the gaps besides replacing your laminate floors.

  • Scratches

Flooring stores will tell you that laminate floors are scratch resistant, however no type of flooring out there is totally scratch resistant.  Which is why you can find laminate repair kits, often from the manufacturers.

  • Delamination

Delamination on laminate floors is where the top layer is peeling back.  This is most often due to moisture damage.  Or cleaning your laminate floors with the wrong material.

  • Warping

Buckling and warping of the planks can occur if you live in a humid area.  Also, as with peeling, if there’s water damage, it can lead to warping and buckling as well.

Best Time to Replace Your Floors

Sycamore tree losing its leaves in fall

Now that I’ve gone over how to know they need to be replaced, I’ll cover the best time to replace your floors.  Typically the best time to buy, if you DIY, is late in the year.  Around the holidays, due to down time, or in May, when people are doing a lot of home projects, you see a lot of sales.  But usually it’s the previous seasons flooring that’s discounted in May.

Fall is usually the worst time to purchase flooring, because summer is over, school is back in session, and people have moved into homes.

However buying flooring is different than replacing your floors.  Although you do have to buy flooring to replace them.  So when is the best time to replace your floors?  Fall or spring are the best times to replace or install flooring.  Below are some reasons why fall and spring are the optimal times to have your flooring replaced.

  • Ventilation

With any type of flooring, you need to be able to open your windows and doors.  This is due to chemicals that are released from the wood, carpet, and laminate, particularly.  Which means it’s dangerous to your health if you don’t leave them open.  Laminate flooring, (and the adhesive), contains formaldehyde, while hardwood floors comprise polyurethane, and carpeting includes some risky VOCs.

  • Humidity

Temperatures are more moderate in fall and spring.  Also, spring and fall allow for the fastest, most complete acclimation, with minimal issues.  And this is because homes will have humidity that’s not very high or very low during these seasons.

If you don’t have your floors installed during these times, and your floors didn’t acclimate, they will either swell or shrink, depending on the humidity.

Best Way to Buy and Replace Your Floors

calendar of December with light flare across it

I know I said fall is the worst time to buy flooring, but it’s one of the best times to install or replace it.  One of the suggestions I came across was if you found flooring that you like, when it goes on sale (end of year), then you can have it installed in the spring.  Or you can wait till May to find something, and shoot for next fall to have your floor replaced.  On the other hand, you can also try to DIY, depending on the type of floor, where it’s at, etc.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why you might need to replace your floors, because nothing lasts forever.  Though we don’t always need a reason to replace something if we just don’t like it or if we want a change.  That said, the best times to replace your floors are fall and spring because of ventilation and humidity.

If you’re interested in a free quote to replace your floors, whether it’s your whole house or just a room, then give us a call, we’d love to help!

Thanks for stopping by, and please don’t hesitate to ask a question or leave a comment!