1. There are multiple cracks in your tile
Cracks don’t look good, and there’s often an underlying problem. All of the following cause visible cracks throughout tile floors:
- Foundation problems
- Thin set giving out
- Heavy objects
Foundation issues cause ceramic and porcelain tile to break or have multiple open cracks. That isn’t going to look pretty. You’ll always want to have your home evaluated by a professional if you notice this along with other warning signs of foundation problems. After you find the solution for your home, you’ll likely want to buy new floors.
Word to the wise: don’t buy ceramic or porcelain tile if you’ve had foundation problems.
They’re about as rigid as flooring gets, and you’ll find yourself with the exact same issues (broken/cracked tile) somewhere down the line. It’s better for your bank account to invest in vinyl flooring. Though vinyl can still crack from foundation issues, it’s much less susceptible because of its flexibility. It’s also more likely to move as your foundation moves and shifts.
3. Your floors talk as you walk
Hear a lot of creaky sounds from your floors as you walk from room to room? Yeah, that shouldn’t be there.
If it’s your tile, the thin set (the glue that binds your tile to your home’s concrete slab) is probably cracking. Hardwood typically creaks as it gets older because it expands or contracts with your home’s moisture and foundation; it could also indicate the binding method (glue, nail down, staple down) is loose. Eliminate the noise with a new floor installation. You wouldn’t avoid fixing your car if it was squeaking, would you?
4. You’re selling an older, outdated home
According to the 2013 American Housing survey, nearly 41 percent of U.S. homes were built between 1950 and 1979, with the median year built at 1974. Selling your home can be a lengthy undertaking that’s exacerbated by its age. Sometimes the price isn’t right and low-cost fix-me-ups won’t cut it.
New flooring will, though. Replace any type of old vinyl flooring with tile or contemporary vinyl. If your tile has small squares with huge grout lines, swap it out for larger tiles and smaller grout lines.
And then there’s the flipside to #4: you’re buying a home that’s older and needs work, but at a lower price. That happens, too. To make that investment truly worthwhile, you’ll need to update the flooring in rooms that need it the most: rooms with visibly dated ceramic and porcelain tile, or vinyl. Tile usually doesn’t last as long as hardwood floors, and vinyl shows its age all too well. Older hardwood floors are also more likely to fit in with contemporary design styles than older tile and vinyl.
6. You can’t find a match when you’re replacing a piece of flooring
You don’t always have to replace your floors when there’s something wrong. If there’s one or two pieces that are cracked, you can swap them out without buying new floors.
Easy fix, right? Not always.
Manufacturers discontinue flooring styles on a regular basis, especially if that style isn’t selling well, so it’s not uncommon for the flooring you need to be unavailable. If your flooring style is still available three years after it’s been installed, you’re lucky. That is why we encourage you to buy an extra box of tile just in case.
Your next move is to find different flooring that matches the one in your home. That’s difficult, especially with hardwood floors. When you can’t find a good match, it’s probably time to buy new flooring.
7. You want to add value to your home
Want your home to really be worth something? Keep your floors up-to-date. For the thrifty spender, new appliances and paint jobs do add quick value, but new floors will provide the most impactful upgrade.
The bedroom above looked good before we replaced its carpet with wood look tile (thanks to our client’s exceptional decorating taste), but it didn’t stand out. After? It’s exquisite and eye-catching, and most of all, it looks valuable.
If your carpet has permanent stains, it’s already too old. How do we know that? Advances in modern manufacturing technology have made carpet virtually stain-resistant. Mohawk’s Smartstrand Silk and Forever Clean carpet, for example, build stain protection into the carpet’s fibers, and that protection lasts a lifetime – it never wears off as you clean the carpet. As a result, these fibers have no dye sites for spills to adhere. In layman’s terms: stains don’t stick. So, if your carpet was purchased recently, you wouldn’t be stuck with permanent stains. New carpet will make for easier cleaning and a more attractive home.
Air condition leaks, plumbing problems, and, in rare cases, flooding can all cause water damage to your floors. Hardwood floors, laminate and carpet are affected the most by exposure to water and moisture, so you’ll need to replace them when they incur water damage. Vinyl can be susceptible if it’s not laid with the proper glue, as can tile if it’s not installed properly.
Looks aren’t the only problem with water damage to flooring.
When carpet is exposed to water or moist environments, mildew and other types of mold can form, aggravating allergies and producing foul odors and spots. Hardwood and laminate will rot.
10. Your parents’ parents had the same floors
OK, so that’s not likely, given how quickly manufacturers discontinue flooring styles. But you get our point: outdated floors have to go. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how often you should remodel – it’s largely a matter of preference, unless you’re selling your house or fixing an immediate concern. We prefer floors that aren’t older than 15 years. If your floors are pushing 20+, tear them out for a long-overdue fresh start.
11. It’s too hard on your feet and knees
Believe it or not, flooring can affect your well-being. Certain flooring types – namely tile – can cause foot pain if you stand on them for long periods of time, says a Huffington Post piece by Dr. Steven Rosenberg, a podiatrist.
And if you’re not careful, it can spread up your legs and into your lower back, too.
As Rosenberg explains: “Once your feet begin to bother you, the rest of your body starts talking to you. Standing on hard floor surfaces can cause body fatigue or foot, leg and low back pain.” We’re not doctors, but we’re pretty sure that’s bad news. If your tile or hard surface flooring is causing feet and knee pain, switch it out for a softer option such as vinyl or carpet. Health first, style second.
It’s not often that grout becomes immune to cleaning techniques. When it does, it’s usually one of the following reasons:
- You’ve never cleaned it
- High foot traffic
- Old age
The solution? Don’t let your grout get to that point.
As we said back in our blog post on how to clean your floors, you’ll want to use a tile and stone cleaner to scrub your grout. Just don’t use bleach – it can change your grout color.
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