Should Carpet Be Replaced After Water Damage?

by Allied / Monday, 01 March 2021 / Published in Flood Restoration

Water damage can occur in any home, and carpets often incur most of the damage. But how do you know if you can clean and restore your carpet or if replacement is necessary? This article will give you an idea of your available options. 

Factors To Consider Before Carpet Replacement  

There are no two ways about it: replacing carpeting can be quite expensive. Before you commit to this course of action, it would be wise to consider the following factors that affect your carpet’s condition: 

Extent of Water Exposure

Firstly, find out how much water your carpet was exposed to. Was it thoroughly soaked, or was the water limited to a few spots? 

In general, the more water your carpet was exposed to, the more likely you will have to replace it. If the exposure was limited to a few small areas, cleaning might be sufficient to get it back to its former condition. 

Length of Exposure

Next, figure out how long your carpet was sitting in water. If you managed to catch the problem shortly after it occurred, replacement might not be necessary. 

FEMA suggests having your carpet cleaned within 48 hours after it was exposed to water. Mold and mildew usually grow from 24 to 48 hours after initial exposure. Within this timeframe, professional carpet specialists could probably halt mold and mildew growth

If you cannot have your carpet cleaned within that period or if it has been sitting in water for 72 hours or more, replacement will probably be necessary. Although you can still have your carpet cleaned past that period, it can be difficult and costly to remove all traces of mold. 

Water Source

An often-overlooked factor when determining whether a carpet needs replacement is the water source. In most cases, the water your carpet has been sitting in is clean and relatively harmless. The water may have come from a burst pipe, for example, or a left open faucet. 

But, if the water comes from some other source such as your toilet, a sewer, or a backed-up runoff drain, replacement may be the best course of action. With these water sources, there is too much risk of mold exposure that can cause serious illness. 

How do you determine if the water your carpet was exposed to is too risky? In general, treat any water that you wouldn’t drink as suspicious. If the water is from the mains line that you usually get drinking water from, your carpet can probably be cleaned safely. Otherwise, it would be best to get a new one. 

Secondary Factors That Affect Carpet Replacement 

After careful consideration of the factors outlined above, you might decide that it is safe to keep your carpet. You then have several alternatives to replacement to get your carpet back into service. 

The first option is to dry your carpet thoroughly. This course of action might be sufficient if the water your carpet was exposed to is safe and you are reasonably sure that it doesn’t contain any harmful substances or microorganisms. 

Drying may also work if the water exposure was minimal and large areas of the carpet were untouched by water. Even so, you will have to make sure to dry your carpet thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew formation. 

The next option is to disinfect your carpet with a commercial cleaning solution. Again, you should consider this option only if the water is safe and water exposure was minimal. 

Finally, consider having your carpet cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning service. This option is better suited for situations wherein exposure to suspicious water was minimal, and reusing your carpet won’t expose you or your family to any harmful substances or microorganisms. 

When To Replace Your Carpet After Water Damage

In some cases, you may have to replace your carpet anyway, even if it hasn’t been exposed to contaminated water. This is the case if your carpet is old and threadbare or moldy from previous water exposure. 

You may also damage your carpet irreparably when removing it to determine the extent of water damage. If your carpet rips or comes off in sections, your only alternative would be to replace the entire thing. Get in touch with a professional water damage restoration company to help evaluate the extent of the damages.