DO YOU HAVE WET CARPETS?
Do You Need to Replace Water Damaged Carpets?
If you are like many homeowners who have experienced a flood in their home, you may be dealing with some wet carpet. Seeing once valued carpet, wet, smelling and in dire condition has many ask the obvious, “should water damaged carpet be restored or replaced?” More than half of all residential water damage affects carpet as it is highly popular US floor covering.
In this article we will explore the options and hopefully disseminate additional information that may help you make the right choice when you have carpet water damage. When you understand the risks vs benefits of trying to restore wet carpet, your final decision will be based upon knowledge and not presumption.
In a perfect world where limitless financial resources are at ones disposal, it is always best to replace wet carpets. If you have made an insurance claim for water damage, you should communicate the importance of getting new carpet with the professionals restoring your property.
8 Times When Water Damaged Carpet Must be Replaced
There are times when the answer to, should water damaged carpets be restored? is an unequivocal NO! There are conditions that exist where the carpet becomes so infinitely beyond the scope of restoration that it must be replaced. Things to consider is the amount of time carpet has been wet, the source of the water, the magnitude of the odor and the overall appearance. Below we will explore each of these considerations as they are instrumental in making the right decision.
1. When the Type of Water Comes From a Contaminated Source
There is a deference in taking a shower in fresh water as apposed to ground water. This same logic exist when it comes to wet carpeting in your home. If the carpet has fresh water damage and it has not been wet for over 2 days, there remains a chance it can be restored. If however, the sewer backed up, the toilet overflowed, the sump pump failed or flood waters from steams and rivers has soaked the carpet, you are dealing with “living water”.
There exist microorganisms, germs, bacterial, harsh chemicals, fertilizers and in the case of sewage; viruses! This water has made the carpet pathogenic (causing illness to humans) and any attempt to restore wet carpet, a dangerous and futile exercise.
2. When the Water Saturation in Carpet Covers a Large Area
If a slow leak from a water supply line created a small area of wet carpet, there is hope. When the amount is abundant affecting the entire room or several rooms than each layer of carpet is water-logged and so is your pad, subfloor and tack-less strip. Drying this mess is going to be more difficult and in most cases the technique required to dry carpet involves cutting, detachment and pad removal.
In this case the required service to restore the wet carpet is pad replacement, re-stretching the carpet, additional cutting and new seam tape which never looks as good as the original installation. You are better off replacing the carpet and pad even though it is more expensive. By the time you go through the complete restoration service, you almost spend as much and the results drastically compromise the original install integrity and appearance.
3. If the Carpets Have Languished in Water For Days
Sometimes by the time wet carpets are discovered they have been saturated several days. Basement flooding can go unnoticed for days if occupants don’t regularly frequent the basement. Often water damage can occur when people are away for several days and come home to the unthinkable.
Professional restoration companies follow the guidelines of the IICRC (Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration Certification) which recommends replacement when carpets have been wet for 48 – 72 hours. Dwell time causes irreversible conditions to manifest from appearance compromise to unsanitary considerations. If germs, mildew and mold growth begin to develop, you have an unnatural eco system thriving in your carpet. In this case the sensible choice is replacement when wondering, “should water damaged carpet be restored?”
4. If the Carpet Smells Pungent
Lingering Odors from a water damaged carpet can be impossible to fully remove and are a compelling reason to consider replacement. Even if you can dry wet carpets in a timely manner, the cleaning and sanitization process fails to remedy the permanent odor of padding. The pad will often retain an unpleasant smell that never fully dissipates. Permanent odors always make it best to replace water damaged carpet over restoration.
5. When Wet Carpets are to Difficult to Dry
Carpets that have been wet for days, have had several inches of standing water on them and are a part of a large area, are too difficult to dry affordably. After wet carpets are professionally extracted there still remains trapped moisture that requires air movement and dehumidification to fully restore wet carpet. This can be an expensive service that can take days and still requires steam cleaning and sanitizing and maybe even stretching. Ching, ching, ching!!! The better option is carpet replacement.
Professional restoration companies are skilled in removing the wet materials, sanitizing all remaining surfaces and structurally drying the property. This is the ideal environment for new carpet and certainly the best case scenario. Even when the insurance company recommends restoring carpet, the professional restorers can explain it is more cost efficient to remove and replace in the long-run.
6. If your Carpet is Old and Worn
Should water damaged carpet be restored when it is unsightly and old? Never if an insurance claim has been made. You should never settle for compromised and embarrassing looking carpet when the services are covered as an insurance loss. Most insurance carriers will concur that the expense of restoring old carpet is almost as much as replacement. They additionally understand that you may not be pleased with the results and demand new flooring.
7. Extensive Damages are Present
Often water saturated carpets undergo extreme damage from tremendous pressure water places of flooring during flooding. An example is when a finished basement with carpet has a drain backup. The water is coming up from beneath the carpet and this creates pressure that lifts the carpet, stretches’ it and often tears seams open. In this case the carpet is completely destroyed and requires replacement.
If water has stained the carpet from wet furniture legs, or metal objects have made rust stains and colors have bleed into carpet from other wet fabrics, the carpet is destroyed and needs replacement not restoration.
These type water damage scenarios produce extensive damage where carpet, padding and appearance are all compromised and restoration is no longer feasible. If for any reason the insurance claims adjuster suggest under these conditions, water damaged carpet should be restored, don’t comply. You may have a new adjuster attempting to make a name for themselves, so hold your ground and demand to speak to a supervisor.
If you have chosen the use a professional restoration firm, they will have no problem advocating for new carpet as they are well versed in industry standards. They should be well capable of helping you answer, should water damaged carpet be restored or replaced.
8. Potential Future Damage May Manifest
When a hot water heater burst or ruptures the water that migrates throughout a carpeted room may not immediately show rust water staining. The water however, always carries a slight rust color that may not be noticed for weeks. If the insurance carrier demands you should restore the water damaged carpet, they need to be informed about the unique damage water from a water heater brings.
Action Extraction property restoration in Michigan removes carpet in every situation when the source of water came from a water heater. They understand the water damage on carpet is not always immediately seen. This is why they will on day 1 make a compelling case for new carpet knowing rust staining can take weeks to show up. There are rust deposits in all water heaters and those do not stay contained when water heaters rupture. They get carried wherever the water travels, and will stain the carpet in due time.
Common Sources for Water Damaged Carpet
Water damage in a home or business is a common insurance loss and can do extensive damage to building materials. When faced with water-damaged carpet, the question arises: should water damaged carpet be restored or is replacement the best option. We sincerely hope this article is helping to answer that question, but lets look at some of the ways carpet gets wet.
- Broken, frozen or burst water pipes.
- Floor drain backups of sewage or ground water.
- Toilet, sink and tub overflows.
- Roof leaks from bad or missing shingles and faulty gutters.
- Septic tank backups.
- Malfunctioning appliances such as dish washers and washing machines.
- Storm damage and community flooding.
- Sprinkler systems that have a broken water supply line.
- Foundation leaks in basement walls and floors.
Should You Consider Restoration over Replacement
As previously stated it is best to replace in most situations, but there are times restoration works affectively.
- When it is a glue-down carpet without pad. If the water is not suspicious having come from a floor drain, sewer system or sump well, water extraction with sanitizing and drying can be a consideration. Professional water extraction is recommended as shop-vacs and conventional extractors only remove little of the overall presence of water. Applying a safe and effective disinfectant followed by a fan to dry wet carpet and you may be all set.
- If the water is in a small contained area. If you caught the intrusion quickly enough than you may only have a small footprint to manage. This makes for an ideal situation for restoring wet carpet. If you have wet padding, you may need to detach the carpet from the walls and place a low profile air mover underneath the carpet but on the top surface of the pad. If the pad has a plastic sheath that is commonly called spill guard, you will have to physically remove all wet pad and then dry the carpet.
These are the only conditions for a yes answer to the question, should water damaged carpet be restored? Carpet can be a haven for all types of germs and you may even get mold in carpet from water damage along with organic compounds that make restoration the wrong option.
Should you Restore Water Damaged Carpet On Your Own?
If the conditions above are met and you are willing to give a noble effort as a do-it-yourselfer, than success can be achieved. It is important to remember though that although a water damaged carpet may look like a simple task to fully dry, there are variables to consider first.
Did water come into direct contact with drywall, wood base or wood cabinetry? If so you have much more to navigate through than just wet carpet. Cellulose materials such as those just mentioned are a food source for mold and must be restored quickly if mold is to be averted. If you have multiple materials that are wet the DIY approach may cost more in the long-run especially if mold growth and structural compromise occurs.
Do you Need Professional Service for Water Damaged Carpet?
Sometimes it is just better to get professional help for water damage when faced with a big mess of water damaged carpet. The decision to restore or replace carpet when an entire room is wet requires careful consideration. Although restoration can be a viable option in less severe cases, more extreme situations will create irreversible damage and compromised aesthetics. In such cases the idea of replacement is the smarted thought.
Extensively damaged carpets can have mold growth, lingering odors and present health risk if left remaining in the home. Replacing water damaged carpet may be the best course of action to preserve air quality control. Maintaining healthy living conditions includes properly managing indoor air, which keeping a germ infected carpet will not promote.
It is always advisable to consult with water damage restoration professionals who can assess the damage and provide expert advice tailored to your specific situation.
The professionals at Action Extraction have serviced the Metro-Detroit are for over 30 years. Our experience and skilled technicians have restored and replaced water damaged carpets for thousands of home and business owners. We can help you and offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Call today for a free inspection of your property and we will help you answer the question, should water damaged carpet be restored or replaced?