Restore Or Replace- Which Is Better For Water-Damaged Carpet?

February 20, 2023

Carpets are a key part of the aesthetics of a classy interior. They act as a source of insulation as well as decoration, making them very handy aspects of any room’s design. This is especially true if you blend your carpet with your house's overall theme.

For all the value they add to your home, they do face a lot of issues.

One common problem that carpets have is water damage. Whenever your plumbing has leaks or your home is not designed to seal water well, moisture can easily accumulate on surfaces and form drips. These seep into any porous material in your home.

That includes your fancy carpet.

If it gets water-damaged, not only will it look stained and smell bad. It can also turn into a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mold, which can adversely affect your and your family’s health.

The last thing you want to see is your kids rolling around on a carpet that hasn’t been properly cleaned and dried.

Professionals from companies like Summit Facility Services and similar ones in your area can handle that for you. But some owners default to throwing waterlogged carpets away.

Is that always a good idea? Should you restore or replace a water-damaged carpet? Here are some things you should consider before you make a choice.

Common Reasons That Cause Carpet Water Damage

Most carpets get damaged from the following sources:

  • Clean Water: Your carpet may get damaged by clean water from malfunctioning appliances, bursting pipes, floods from rainwater, a big spill, or broken water lines.
  • Black Water: It's contaminated water from overflowing toilets, septic tanks, and bathrooms. The worst part is that it may carry along urine and fecal matter. This makes it a big health hazard.
  • Gray Water: This is slightly contaminated water that may come from a toilet overflow or spills from a dishwasher.

Most water damage can be seen right away. But in some cases, like small leaks, the effects go unnoticed until it’s too late.

A general rule for most homeowners is to check if any water has been seeping into their carpets regularly. Go to every room with one and inspect the surroundings and the surface directly below. Look for stains and foul smells.

If you identify a leak or any kind of moisture buildup, talk to a contractor to get it fixed immediately. Your carpets won’t be the only thing affected by these issues, after all.

Should You Replace Or Restore A Water-Damaged Carpet?

Considering the factors above, how should you deal with a waterlogged carpet?

You can always restore it if the damage is not that great. Otherwise, getting a new one is just as good. But how can you tell that? Here are some things you should think about before going either way.

1. How Long The Damage Took Place

The first thing you need to check is how long the carpet has been damaged.

If it has gone on for at least two days, there’s probably too much damage already. It’s worse for carpets that have padding inside them. The moisture they hold allows mold to grow and spread in about three days.

Most mold remediation services recommend replacing carpets that have been wet for a long time because it'll be challenging to clear the mold spores.

Here’s a rule of thumb: the longer the water damage took place, the further gone that carpet is. It’s better to just buy a new one than risk a costly clean-up that can’t get the whole problem out. You can try checking out the catalog where you last bought one for a replacement. Or, get yourself something different.

Obviously, you also have to deal with the leak or moisture buildup. Contact your plumber or another appropriate contractor to solve the issue and save your new carpets from the same problems.

2. The Amount Of Water Causing The Damage

Next, you need to consider the amount of water your carpet has absorbed. If the carpet isn't soaked and just a few spots are affected, you don't have to do away with it. You can clean the area, then give it a long, thorough drying before using it again.

How long that takes depends on the material. You can refer to the washing label for guidance.

On the other hand, if it's completely drenched with dirty water, cleaning it will be a hassle. This goes double for padded ones. If it has been soaked for more than 24 hours, you should dispose of it and get a new one.

3. The Water Source

As mentioned in a previous section, water damage can be caused by a variety of sources. This also dictates how much of a risk it would be to continue using a carpet. The dirtier the source, the sooner you should get a replacement.

If the water damage has been caused by clean or rainwater, you can easily have it restored within two days. This type of water clearly doesn’t have a lot of contaminants. So, you can hand it over to a carpet cleaning crew and safely reuse it.

What if the damage comes from water from faulty appliances like washing machines, dishwashers, or bathwater? Most of the time, there’s no need for replacement with gray water. If you hire a professional carpet cleaning service provider to treat it within the first two days, it’s as good as new.

Black water is an obvious dealbreaker. Any water from broken sewer lines, floods, and backflows is chock-full of metals, chemicals, bacteria, and pathogens. These cause the most significant water damage to carpets. A carpet soaked in it can't be restored even if you try getting the best carpet cleaning professionals.

If you somehow continue using it, you put the health of your household at risk. Again, carpets stained with black water become breeding grounds for harmful molds and microorganisms. Save yourself and your family the trouble by getting a replacement.

4. The Extent Of The Damage

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t tell how bad water damage on a carpet gets just from the surface.

To know if you should get a replacement or not, you need to inspect the carpet closely. Pull it up and check what the padding and subfloor look like. If both of them are intact and in good shape, that shows the water damage is not that great. You can send it to your trusted carpet cleaning crew and get it back good as new.

On the flip side, if the padding and subfloor are significantly damaged, you should consider getting a new carpet. There’s no point in sending it to be cleaned, either, since the whole thing will just fall apart under high-pressure washing.

5. The Presence Of Weird Smells

This deserves its own point due to how practical it is as a metric. If you've already had a carpet cleaned but still get an unpleasant odor, the job may not have been thorough enough. You can have the crew check it again to see if there’s anything they missed. Funny smells are a sign of contamination. So, it should disappear after a good cleaning.

Otherwise, it just means that the carpet can’t be salvaged. In that case, just get a new one from your favorite catalog.

These factors can act as a guide to help you decide whether to replace or restore your carpet. With their help, you can make the most out of this key feature of your interior design. If you’re not sure, you can just ask local carpet cleaning experts for advice.

These professionals have the experience and tools to check the extent of the damage and provide the appropriate solutions. They can save you time, money, effort, and headaches when you work with them as soon as possible. Make sure to call them and make inquiries first.

Take Care Of Your Carpet

After going through all of these points, you should have a thorough understanding of what to do when faced with carpet water damage. But it’s not enough to have that in mind. In the first place, smart homeowners would do their best to keep their carpets safe from water damage. These already get a lot of wear and tear from regular foot traffic and handling. That makes damage from leaks the cherry on top of a wasted purchase.

Always inspect your home for moisture buildup, holes, cracks, leaks, and drips. As mentioned many times in this article, water damage doesn’t only affect your carpets. By getting water problems sooner than later, you save not only your prized decorations but your health, your property value, the integrity of your home, and your expenses on water and other utilities.

As for carpet cleaners, research all of your options. Work with companies that have a good track record, have the right certifications, offer great service packages, and offer support day in and day out. You can always go through reviews to get a good idea of their customer service and quality of work.

Here’s to keeping your carpets for the long haul.


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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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