Carpet Water Damage

Quick Summary

Restoring water damaged carpet can vary from an easy DIY fix to an overwhelming task. But before you begin the cleaning process, it's crucial to determine the cause, the extent of the damage and whether your insurance company will cover the costs of repair.

About Carpet Water Damage

While carpeting can make any place feel warm and inviting it’s also highly absorbent and can put your home or office at risk for carpet water damage. A minor spill here or there may not be catastrophic, but a burst pipe or a flood in your home can cause severe carpet water damage.

It’s essential not to let water sit and absorb into your carpet. Using a dehumidifier and dry vacuum can make the carpet cleaning process significantly easier.

If your carpeting has been exposed to water for over 72 hours, you might want to consider replacing it.

Mold spores and mildew can begin growing and spreading, causing health implications such as respiratory illnesses.

What Causes Carpet Water Damage?

Carpet in your home can get wet and become damaged for a variety of reasons. Even clean water can cause significant water damage to your carpets, so it’s important to try to prevent plumbing leaks from occurring in the first place.

Additionally, fires and natural disasters such as storms can cause carpet water damage. Ensuring your home’s foundation is structurally sound will be key to averting water damage and carpet destruction.

Plumbing Leaks

Many people have experienced a plumbing leak at least once in their lifetime. Whether the leak was caused by a faulty air conditioner, radiator or a broken pipe, it’s vital first to find the leak’s source to prevent further damage.

Pipes burst for several reasons, including worn out and rusted pipes, freezing pipes in cold weather and more. And because carpeting and carpet padding can absorb water so quickly, it’s important to avoid ignoring strange sounds in the wall or ceiling. Monitor your water bill and listen for water noises or whistling coming from your pipes.

Foundation and Structural Leaks and Damage

Foundation and structural leaks often occur after a major storm, floodwaters, heavy rainfall or simply, over time. If you think you might have a leak, keep an eye out for stains on the ceilings, roof or drywall. This can be a telltale sign of a structural leak or water damage to your home’s foundation. Homeowners might see water seepage in small cracks, basement or crawlspace walls. Additionally, missing shingles or a sagging roof might suggest a structural leak and water damage.

Signs of Carpet Water Damage

Wet carpet and carpet water damage can be challenging to deal with. You might not know where the water came from, and determining the severity of the water damage can be impossible without removing the carpet.

Keep an eye out for discolored and buckled carpets. Also, musty smells that you can’t get rid of might indicate water damage. Rugs and carpet pads in the basement, subfloor and near washing machines are common places for water damage.

Discoloration and Fading

You might think your carpets don’t have any mold growth or mildew, but patterned carpets are excellent at hiding water damage. If you notice any green, black or white circular patterns on your carpeting, you might need to look into mold remediation.

Carpets with water damage may also fade, discolor and grow mold spores. Regularly inspect carpet near your kitchen, bathrooms, by your baseboards or near appliances such as washing machines for mold damage.

Soggy Carpet

Stepping on something wet, such as a wet carpet, is not a pleasant feeling, and it can suggest water damage. If you hear any squishy sounds when you walk or sounds of water, you might have carpet water damage, or worse, mold and mildew growth.

You might spot water damage to the lower walls and baseboards, as well. Investigate the affected area and look for the source of the water.

Musty Odor

A musty odor is usually an unmistakable sign of water damage somewhere in your home or office. Homeowners will often notice a damp and mildew scent after being away from their home for a while.

Even clean water can create a stale and moldy smell on the wet carpet if it isn’t dried quickly.

Wrinkling or Puckering Carpet

Wrinkling or puckering carpet is also a revealing way to tell there may be water damage underneath your rug. This happens when the adhesive of the carpet has been damaged and is no longer secured.

If you notice any buckling, try to peel back the wet carpet and search for any dampness. Your sub-flooring might also be warped or wet, strongly indicating water damage.

Repairing Carpet Water Damage

Repairing carpet water damage yourself can be tricky, especially if the damage is extensive. If the carpeting damage is minimal, you may be able to preserve the carpet and use a carpet cleaner to treat the affected area by yourself.

Alternatively, you might want to use a restoration services company that can help you with water removal, steam cleaning, subfloor water damage and mold removal, as needed.

DIY Carpet Water Damage Repair

If you think the carpet water damage is nominal, you might be able to do the carpet cleaning yourself.

Follow these steps to repair water damaged carpet yourself:

  1. Before you begin, find the source of the water or leak. Ensure the leak is contained and not creating additional water damage.
  2. Next, remove the carpet and prepare it for drying. Baking soda is useful in water extraction.
  3. Remove the moisture from the wet carpet as soon as possible. Using dehumidifiers and dry vacuums can help speed up the drying process. Open windows and turn on fans.
  4. In most cases, you’ll need to replace the carpet padding next because it’s susceptible to mold growth.
  5. Using a bleach and water mix, sanitize all surfaces that have come into contact with any floodwaters, black water or even clean water.
  6. Steam clean and sanitize the carpet before relaying.

Be sure to wear proper safety equipment, such as masks, gloves and disposable clothing.

Professional Carpet Water Damage Repair

If your carpet is unsalvageable, or there is excessive mold growth in the subflooring, it’s necessary to hire a professional.

Hiring a carpet restoration company might be in your best interests if:

  • The damage is extensive
  • The carpets need to be replaced, such as when black water is involved
  • The water has been sitting for an extended period of time
  • The damage has been done to a rental property

Professional carpet water damage companies will ensure all excess water has been adequately removed and will monitor humidity levels after flood damage. Many homeowners believe they have suitably dried wet carpet, only to find mold growth and mildew a few weeks later.

Hiring a professional is also beneficial because it saves homeowners from needing to rent carpet cleaning equipment. Professionals will use industrial dehumidifiers, carpet-drying fans, dry vacuums and industrial air movers to speed up the drying process and prevent carpet mold damage.

Carpet Water Damage Repair Costs

Repairing carpet water damage can vary significantly in price depending on the situation. Water damage that has caused mold growth and requires mold remediation will cost more than a leaky pipe that burst and has been dried quickly.

In most situations, carpet padding needs to be replaced, but the cost to replace the padding is significantly less than to replace all of the carpets.

Additionally, the cost of carpet cleaning is dependent on the type of water. Cleaning up black water, for example, averages around $7 per square foot. Cleaning up gray water averages around $4.50 per square foot, while it only costs about $3.75 per square foot to dry clean water.

Does Insurance Cover Carpet Water Damage?

Regardless of cost or cause, always remember to document the damage for insurance claims. Your insurance company will likely cover the cost of damages caused by natural disasters, such as hurricanes. But you need a separate flood insurance policy to cover damage done by floodwaters.

Insurance companies often won’t cover damages caused by broken or leaky bathroom fixtures. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy regularly to ensure you’re fully protected.

Find Water Damage Restoration Professionals Near You

Restoring carpet water damage might seem daunting, but local water damage restoration experts and resources are available to help you. Flooded carpets should not be left unattended but rather should be immediately dried and properly cleaned.

The longer carpets are wet, the more opportunity mold and mildew have to grow, creating an even costlier and extensive water damage repair situation.

Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

8 References
  1. Southington Carpet Cleaners. (2019). Do You need to Replace Carpets After Water Damage?
  2. Alpharetta Water Damage Restoration. (2019). How to Detect, Remove, and Prevent Carpet Mold After Water Damage.
  3. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors®. (2020). Carpet Mold: Identification, Prevention and Removal.
  4. Sol Carpet Repair. (2017). 3 Signs Your Carpet Is Heading Towards Water Damage.,wet%20patches%20on%20the%20floor
  5. Carpet To Go. (2017). 7 Tips For Drying Wet Carpet And Preventing Mold Growth.
  6. Angie’s List. (2015). 6 Steps to Prevent Carpet Mold After Water Damage
  7. Aer Industries. (2017). How to Dry Carpet and Prevent Mold After Water Damage: 5 Steps.
  8. Home Advisor. (2020). How Much Does It Cost To Repair & Cleanup Water Damage?
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