Water and carpet are never a good pair. If you’re lucky, you can save your wet carpets by drying the area as quickly as possible. However, there are many instances where drying isn’t enough. Once you’ve dealt with your foundation issues, it may be best to replace your carpeting.
To learn more about carpet life and typical replacement concerns, we asked the Dallas flooring specialists at Peek’s Floor Co. They suggest that you ask yourself the following basic questions as you decide about what’s best for your home and budget.
Was the water a one-time problem?
If water damage was only a one-time occurrence, then you may be in luck. Clean water spillage doesn’t have to mean the end of your carpet if you fix it on time. Everything must be thoroughly dried out. The underlay may need to be replaced, but the carpet may be saved. If you refer to the Guide to Aging Carpet below, you may decide that replacement is still necessary, but it will be your choice rather than a necessity.
A sewage leak, on the other hand, would dictate the removal of the underlay and carpeting. A good cleaning may not be enough to remove dangerous bacteria.
Have water leaks been an ongoing problem?
If water leaks have been an ongoing problem, it’s more likely that you will need to replace the carpet, regardless of its appearance. This is especially true if the water leak has been so severe as to trigger a foundation problem.
Even with clean water, damp floors are a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Often times, you cannot see the problem. It may be hidden from sight. It may be in the walls or the subfloor.
A good inspection can determine if your home is free of these contaminants. If it isn’t, the mold or mildew will spread. As it does, it may become more costly to replace your carpets because the subfloor and walls may be involved. Acting quickly to stop the damage and replace the damaged carpet is a smart move.
A Guide to Aging Carpet
If carpet came with a “best-used-by” date, it would be somewhere between five and 15 years. Poorer quality carpet is generally ready for replacement quicker than higher quality carpet. The family den and other frequented areas are more likely to need replacement compared to seldom-used bedrooms. That said, keep in mind that water damage will speed up damage in any room it touches. Here are some guidelines to help you assess your current carpet.
The padding under the carpet is there to add softness and to provide a tighter fit. If it has been damaged or has simply gotten too old, it will be lumpy with spots and will have wrinkles. Walking on them in bare feet, you may notice that parts of the carpet feel harder than other spots. These are all signs that the padding needs to be replaced. At this point, it will be economical to replace the carpet as well.
If your carpet has frayed edges or rips, the damage is irreparable. Threadbare areas are more common signs of wear and tear. You can recognize thinning by looking for spots where the backing material is evident. Horizontal threads often begin to show along the normal path where people walk. This includes, but is not limited to, hallways and stairs. It may be the area where the kids run through the living room or the area under the dining room table.
You can assess your carpet by looking at the spots where the original beauty and plushness have been preserved. You may notice that the protected areas have remained tall and plump while the rest of the carpet has become matted. Olefin and polyester fibers flatten more readily because the loops are cut. However, the looped pile of Berber carpets will eventually become matted as well.
Even the best carpets fade over time. This is especially true in a room where sunlight falls unevenly. Moving the furniture may reveal how much the carpet has changed color. Cleaning materials may also play a role since they are not uniformly applied to the entire carpet. Darker colors are the most susceptible to obvious fading, but even beige carpeting can have lighter and darker areas.
Cleaners can’t remove every stain. Some areas stubborn as they are obvious. The resulting spots mar the look of an otherwise handsome room. Odors may result from pets or food spills. if professional cleaning won’t get rid of these problems, it’s best to replace the carpet.
Word of Caution
Before replacing any carpets, make sure that the underlying problem has been solved. You don’t want to throw good money after bad, as the saying goes. This means that plumbing or structural issues that led to water damage should be totally resolved. Foundation problems should be addressed. Mold inspections and mold remediation should be completed.
Getting a Good Deal
To find the right carpeting, make sure you choose leading brands that have a good reputation. Be sure to ask if your carpet installation will include free removal of old carpeting and padding. It should also include all materials, such as the metal strips that separate rooms and the wrap-around for stairs. To learn more about carpet styles and colors, you can use this handy carpet shopping guide.