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What To Do with Flooded or Wet Carpet

If you have experienced flooding and are calling in cleaning professionals, there is plenty you can do in advance of their arrival to help save your carpet. Professional carpet cleaning and clean-up and restoration companies have the tools and know-how that make contacting them a wise decision, but if you are the handy type and are looking for some tips…read on!

We’ll start with a general outline of the process.  Please keep in mind that these are general guidelines to assist you in understanding the process and that your situation could vary from any point.  We recommend consulting with the professionals at FloorShow or with any service company regarding questions or guidance you may need.

Please also note that this process is for carpets installed over a separate cushion. Should you have carpet installed with an attached cushion, it will be virtually impossible to remove all the moisture from the carpet/cushion, and in all likelihood the carpet will need to be removed and, if you choose, replaced.


The Process 

  1. Remove water.
  2. Detach carpet from tack strip.
  3. Remove all wet cushion.
  4. Dry carpet.
  5. Evaluate the dried carpet's condition.
  6. Replace the cushion.
  7. Reinstall the carpet.

 The Specifics

  1. Using a wet vac, remove as much water as soon as possible. Responding quickly and thoroughly to the problem reduces the amount of damage to the carpet.
  2. Separate the carpet from the tack strip. Starting in one corner of the room, clench the backing of the carpet with pliers or channellock and pull toward you to release the carpet from the backing (be careful not to pull the fiber tufts from the backing). If your situation precludes your being able to remove all furniture and you must move the furniture from side to side, be certain to place aluminum foil under the furniture legs to avoid damage to the furniture and/or carpet
  3. Wet cushion acts like a sponge so needs to be removed and discarded. You can access the cushion by folding back the carpet to expose the cushion in each affected area of the room. Always remove a foot or two more cushion than what appears to be wet.
  4. After the cushion has been removed and all water extracted, you can attempt to salvage your carpet by raising the carpet off the floor (this can be done by laying the carpet over plastic buckets or pails, not metal) and using fans to expedite the drying process. A dehumidifier will also help draw moisture from the area.
  5. Evaluate your carpet: Most carpets sold since the early 1980s are entirely synthetic, so once dried they potentially can be salvaged. If permanent damage has occurred, it is likely due to a process referred to as delamination, where the primary and secondary backing of the carpet separate. If you notice this separation, it is likely your carpet cannot be salvaged. Be aware that even if your carpet appears to have dried in one piece, delamination may occur in the future. IMPORTANT NOTE: IF YOUR CARPET IS COVERED UNDER A MANUFACTURER'S WARRANTY, ONCE FLOODED, THAT WARRANTY IS NULL AND VOID. IF THIS IS THE CASE, YOU MAY WISH TO VISIT WITH YOUR INSURANCE CARRIER.
  6. Replace the cushion: When your carpet is completely dry, you can repeat the process of folding back the carpet in order to install new cushion.  Small amounts of cushion adhesive are typically used (over concrete) and seams are taped together. You can contact FloorShow or any flooring store for these supplies. 
  7. Reinstall the carpet: Reinstall the carpet by stretching it back to the tack strip.
  8. All carpets are different. Some carpet sizes may be distorted by the soaking and drying process and may need to be professionally stretched back into position. You can contact FloorShow or any professional flooring contractor who has the proper tools to fully stretch the carpet back in place. Other carpets may be guided back into position using a knee kicker tool, and still other carpets may simply just lay right back into place.
  9. All carpet should be hooked back onto the tack strip and the slight excess carpet tucked down under the baseboard. You can watch videos showing how to affix carpet to tack strip on YouTube.
  10. Depending upon the source of the water, it may be advisable to clean and sanitize your carpet, baseboards and walls.

These guidelines have been posted to provide general information when facing flooded and wet basement situations. Due to the many variables in these situations, we recommend seeking professional guidance when additional questions arise. FloorShow nor their assigns make any guarantee of success nor will be held liable for any damage, injury or liability that results from following these general guidelines.