How to Choose the Right Commercial Carpet for Your Facility

There isn’t anyone out there who thinks about carpet as much as we do—including facility managers.

While that’s understandable, how do managers choose a new commercial carpet when it’s time to replace it?  

With very little research: They could choose the cheapest option. They could choose the carpet company’s “best” option (i.e., the most expensive). Or, they could read this article to learn which commercial carpet they should buy according to their needs.

We think reading this article could save you time, headache, and money. Consider these life-expectancy guidelines when choosing the right carpet for your facility. 

How long do you want your commercial carpet to last? 

Is the correct answer to this question “as long as possible?” Not always. 

If you don’t own the building, for example, you may want to talk to the facility owner to discuss carpet replacement as part of your lease agreement. Otherwise, you may not want to pay top dollar for a carpet that lasts several years. This is especially true if you plan to use the building for a short time and move on to the next. The next company using the building will appreciate your purchase, but you won’t be getting the biggest bang for your buck.

If you do own the building, and have the budget available, it’s in your best interest to invest in the carpet that will last the longest. 

How Long Different Types of Commercial Carpet Last

So, let’s take a look at commercial carpet types based on how long they last. 

Up to 5 Years

This category is obviously budget-focused. Nearly every commercial carpet will last zero to five years unless its yarn system is polyolefin or olefin. When using a cheaper yarn system such as polyolefin or olefin, the carpet pile tends to crush in high traffic areas in as little as 12 months.

Cheaper carpets are usually latex-backed, which often have issues with stains reappearing after cleaning. These carpets also have issues with delamination and unraveling at the seams as they age, especially if cleaned heavily with wet extraction cleaning. That’s why if you’re going the cheaper route with your carpet, it’s important to choose darker colors and busy patterns to help hide stains and wear.

Certainly, a good carpet maintenance program can help make the most of budget-friendly carpet. However, it’s important to understand the projected lifespan of cheaper carpets so you can manage your expectations around its performance and how often it will need to be replaced.

5 to 10 Years

For carpets in this lifespan range, loop constructions have the best chance at achieving a maximum lifespan over cut/loop or cut pile construction. To help maximize the lifespan of this quality of carpet, we recommend using cut/loop construction in medium traffic areas and cut pile construction in low-traffic areas to reduce the chance of premature wear.

This graphic will help you understand the different types of carpet construction.

Carpets in this category will still come with latex backing. That means, just as we mentioned before, it’s possible for stains to reappear after cleaning. Plus, this type of carpet will deteriorate more quickly (e.g., delaminate, zipper, and ravel) than higher-quality options. That’s why darker carpets with contrasting patterns are still a good choice in this type of carpet.

10 to 15 Years

Once you reach this quality of carpet, you’ll start to have a few more options available to you.

For instance, lower quality carpets only come on rolls. But better quality carpet is also available in carpet tiles. You’ll also have the option to add cushion to the backing, which can improve the longevity of the carpet while also making it more comfortable to stand or walk on.

Typically, carpet at this quality level also comes with a reappearing stain warranty. However, you must be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning guidelines or that will void the warranty. The good news is that low-moisture carpet cleaning (like what we use at DPM Care) is consistent with most carpet manufacturer guidelines, so you won’t run into that issue with services like ours.

To keep your carpet lasting at least a decade, steer clear of latex backing as well as cut pile construction. Instead, we recommend choosing a urethane, vinyl, or thermoplastic carpet backing. 

For construction, we recommend choosing cut/loop, level loop, or textured loop. If you really like the look of cut/loop or tip-sheared construction, we recommend minimizing the amount of cut to less than 10 percent of the face styling. Because cut pile carpet crushes quicker, reducing the amount of it in your carpet construction will help you achieve better performance.

15 Years or More

The factors we mentioned in the 10-to-15-year category still apply here. The difference now comes down to yarn systems and construction. 

The fiber shape, anti-soil treatment, and a cationic chemical base, like the Antron and Duracolor yarns provide performance features to achieve 15 – 20 years of product life. Fiber systems like Antron and Duracolor clean easier and do not re-soil as quickly, which will keep cleaning costs down.  

Carpets in this category also come with cushioned backings, which will help take the stress off the yarn (pile crush) from daily foot traffic. This is one of the reasons carpets with cushioned backings last longer.

Even in this category of carpet, you will still face pile crush as the carpets age. However, certain types of construction will wear better. Level loop construction, for example, tends to hide pile crush better than carpets with texture (such as varied high/low loops).  

The carpet industry uses the TARR rating system to help customers determine how the carpet construction will perform. For longer-lasting carpet, you need a TARR rating that has a Severe rating.     

Make the Most of Your Carpet’s Lifespan

DPM Care has more than 22 years of experience helping facilities achieve their carpet’s life expectancy. Our experts are available to answer questions about which carpets fit your needs and how proper cleaning will extend their life. Whatever you choose, we can help you keep your facility’s carpet at its best.

Contact DPM Care today to learn more about your commercial carpet and choosing the option that’s right for your business.