Investing in real estate can be lucrative, especially as your portfolio grows. As that investment portfolio grows, you’ll start to find a variety of costs that you may not have considered, and those can start to add up. One of those inevitable costs is the wear and tear of certain aspects of the property, like carpet.
But when should you clean a carpet and when should you replace it? While it will often come down to the situation, this is a good start when considering what to do next with your rental property carpet.
What is the Lifespan of a Rental Carpet?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development says that carpets should be replaced in a rental every seven years. However, most experienced rental property owners say five years is the max lifespan of most rental-grade carpets. Some high-end carpets come with a lifetime warranty, but even those can get worn down in a rental.
What Are Signs the Carpet Needs to Be Replaced?
There are some obvious signs that a carpet is past due for replacement, like bald patches or noticeable stains that don’t come up with cleaning, but other signs tell you that the carpet is toward the end of its life. Watch out for these signs:
- The color beginning to dull or not match other carpet areas
- Carpet fibers being matted or not standing up in some areas
- Lingering odors that don’t disappear with cleaning.
Can You Extend Your Carpet’s Life?
There is no doubt that carpets in rentals can take a beating, but there are a few ways that you can get some extra life out of them.
Consider providing a vacuum to tenants, so you know they have the tools to clean the carpet regularly.
Invest in a Yearly Deep Cleaning
Have the carpets deep cleaned with a professional-grade carpet cleaner between each tenant. Or, if you have a long-term tenant, work out a time with them to have the carpets cleaned once a year.
Create an Entryway
No matter the type of property, a great way to preserve the carpet is by not letting it stretch to the front door. Create a small space inside the door with another material like tile or laminate to remove shoes and wipe feet. This prevents excess dirt from being tracked in and stuck in the carpet.
Stain Treat the Carpet
You would like to think your tenants will quickly clean up any spills, but that isn’t always the case. Have the carpet treated with a stain-resistant carpet protector to help prevent those spills from setting.
Are There Any Tricks to Getting a Better Clean?
If you are cleaning the carpet between tenants and want to put some life back into your carpets, try these hacks for a better clean.
The Ice Cube Trick
When your tenants leave, you may notice the carpet still has indents from their furniture. Place an ice cube in each indent and let it melt, then dab up any excess water. Place another cloth over the indent, then place an iron over the towel until the area is nearly dry. The indented fibers will bounce back soft and better than ever.
Use the Right Cleaning Solution
Not all cleaning solutions are made the same. You don’t want to overuse chemicals on your carpet because that could lead it to age faster. You do want to use the right solution for the specific carpet. For example, if your previous tenants had pets, make sure to use a pet odor-removing cleaner instead of assuming that a general cleaner will get the job done.
Baking Soda is a Secret Weapon
Baking soda is a joint non-chemical cleaning agent with many helpful uses around the house, including freshening the carpet. Before you clean the carpet, spread baking soda around and let it sit for about an hour before vacuuming it up. The baking soda will absorb odors and take them with it when it is vacuumed up.
Use the Right Post-Cleaning Solution
Always ensure that you use a post-cleaning solution to protect the carpets. You want one that isn’t only stain-resistant but also restores the carpet pile and resists color fading.
Should I Consider Other Flooring Options?
There are some benefits to other flooring options, like laminate and tile, but there are also drawbacks. Laminate is often a better idea for landlords because it is durable, waterproof, and stain resistant. However, this type of flooring is much more expensive than carpet and more difficult to replace. In addition, you are forcing your renters to buy rugs to cover areas where they want carpeting.
How Do I Tell When It’s Time to Replace the Carpet?
It comes down to your senses.
If the carpet looks frayed, dull, and excessively stained, it is probably best to tear it out and start anew. Similarly, if you have had the carpet professionally cleaned and it still has an unpleasant odor, you may need to remove the carpet and the pad underneath to clear the smell away – especially if the previous tenant had pets.
Ultimately, you want what’s best for your tenants, so it will likely be a relatively easy decision for you to make once you’ve assess the situation.