dcsimg
Visit our

Water Damage FAQs

By Michael Hilton

The following are responses to questions received from site visitors pertaining to Flood damage.

Water intrusion is categorized into three categories: 1) sanitary, 2) unsanitary, and 3) black water. The decision to retain the carpet is based upon the type of flooding that exists and the length of time required returning to a dry state following intervention. In all flooding instances, the carpet cushion (carpet padding) should be replaced.

Following is a brief description of each flooding situation:

Sanitary flooding includes sink overflows, toilet overflows without contamination, broken pipes, etc. This includes all potable or drinkable water intrusion.

Unsanitary flooding occurs when the water contains some degree of contamination such as a washing machine or dishwasher overflow, water bed puncture, toilet overflow with urine present, or other water sources that may have some degree of biological contamination.

Black water includes any water containing raw sewage and any water coming in contact with the ground.

General recommendations for each of these types of water intrusion are as follows:

  1. Traffic on wet carpet should be kept to a minimum to avoid damage to the synthetic latex backing.
  2. Quickly remove any furnishings that may stain or damage the carpet.
  3. A professional restorer should be immediately contacted to assess the type of flooding that has occurred and restoration efforts should begin immediately.
  4. Extraction of excess water should begin immediately and carpet should be returned to a dry state within 12 hours of intervention. Sanitary flooding may progress to unsanitary conditions over time as a result of failure to accomplish expedient drying.
  5. Carpet flooded by sanitary water intrusion can reclaimed providing carpet is restored to a dry state within 12 hours. Unsanitary flood conditions may be restored in most instances but carpet must be treated with an antimicrobial agent to eliminate biopollutants. Restoration of carpet flooded by black water should never be attempted.

With these guidelines in mind, the following should be considered:

  1. Carpet warranty issues are best left to manufacturers, but most manufacturers nullify warranties on all flood-damaged carpet. Stain protectants (treatments) may be destroyed (neutralized) by cationic anti-microbial agents.
  2. There is no evidence to suggest that exposure to high moisture levels should shorten carpet life in any way. The majority of manufacturers routinely recommend wet cleaning. More critical is the manner in which the carpet is handled during restoration ( see recommendations # 1-2 above).
  3. Synthetic latex is a water emulsion process. Latex is weakened when wet, but regains strength when dry.
  4. Currently, no factors have been established for excessive moisture levels
  5. Synthetic latex as a water emulsion process is water soluble, but typically, latex integrity is uncompromised by excessive moisture when handled in a proper manner during restoration.
  6. Seawater is classified as black water and carpet replacement is suggested under CRI and EPA guidelines. Rainwater may range from sanitary to unsanitary and appropriate restoration efforts should be followed.
  7. Many disinfectants (sanitizers) used in restoring flood damaged carpet are cationic (positive polarity/positively-charged). Cationic solutions have a high propensity for resoiling. In some instances, where flood damage has occurred and disinfectants have been used, accelerated soiling may occur following carpet restoration.

Carpet Installation Procedures

  1. While CRI 105 recommendations suggest a stretch of 1 to 1½%, the standard also states the carpet installation should be stretched drum-tight. In most cases, traffic and environmental influences will allow a properly stretched carpet installation to stretch during the life of the carpet installation. Each carpet installation may vary, but an additional 1½-% may be obtainable for most carpet installations following initial carpet installation and subsequent use. This additional stretch should not negatively affect carpet performance.
  2. Tackless strip, in a proper carpet installation, might create stretch grooves on carpet backing but restretching a reinstallation does not necessarily double the amount of stress on carpet backing. In most carpet installations, the pressure created by restretching only will equal the stretch of the initial carpet installation. In situations in which carpet backing has been damaged by excessive stretch, tackless strip should be repositioned to accommodate theses grooved areas.
  3. There is no evidence to indicate that excessive traffic alone will damage backing materials. carpet cushion (carpet padding) should be inspected for failure in heavy traffic areas before carpet cushion disposal. Lamination of the backing materials should be inspected prior to reinstallation.
  4. Equal stretch can be obtained from aged carpet backing although some areas may stretch more easily than other areas.
  5. The CRI 104/105does not differentiate between the installation of new materials or previously installed materials.
  6. In all instances, regardless of stretch percentages, the carpet installation should be stretched "drum-tight".

Inspectors: The carpet industry as a whole, neither endorses nor discourages any carpet inspection certification criteria. Evaluations should be based on an individual inspector, experience, and individual expertise. Certification does not guarantee expertise nor does the lack of certification signify inexperience.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

Other Helpful Links
Water Damage Restoration Links
Water Damage FAQs
Water Damage Restorer Listing Form
Colorado Water Damage Restorers
Maryland Water Damage Restorers
THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.