Should carpet be replaced after water damage?

Moshe Amos

Flooding, leaks and underfloor burst pipes are some of the ways your carpet may get wet. Water damage is a serious issue that many New York residents deal with. It may be due to old infrastructure and pipes, a result of living in apartment buildings and suffering from a neighbors damage, storms and other weather related issues or simply bad luck but when disaster strikes most people are unprepared.  While it’s clear that water extraction must take place if your space is flooded, and all dampness needs to be dried out, what can and can’t be salvaged and the potential unseen dangers are murky.

Replacing carpets can be a costly expense and clients often ask whether it is really important to strip the carpet if there is a leak or dampness. Understanding what lies under the carpet, the health and safety hazards involved in mold growth from water damage and the potential increase of damage to your property are factors you will want to weigh in when deciding whether or not to replace water damaged carpet.

Is Water Damage Visible?

While you may think this is a funny question to ask, the truth is that the majority of the real damage that water and moisture cause is not easily seen. Of course, damaged books, toys, mattresses and even furniture are clearly visible following flooding but the damage that water seeping into flooring, carpets and walls does is usually more harmful to your health and safety.

Water travels via the easiest route – often this means it can travel far and build up and cause damage far from the original source. A leak in a bath upstairs can result in water damage in the floor, ceiling but also potentially in a different part of the house depending on the easiest route the water finds, so ensuring you actually find both the source and all the damage caused is important.

What are Water Damage Health and Safety Hazards to be concerned about?

Beyond the damage to your home which is usually fixable albeit at a price, water damage and mold can affect one’s health permanently. For those already suffering from asthma and other breathing issues, mold and dampness can exaggerate the existing condition, increase wheezing, attacks and general overall health. For others who may never have suffered from asthma, COPD or other respiratory illnesses, prolonged exposure to mold and breathing it in can cause them to develop temporary or permanent issues. Other related health issues including rashes and skin conditions can also be caused by mold. If water is actually left sitting, mosquitoes and other flies and bugs are likely to be attracted and be an additional nuisance and possible health hazard.

Carpet Water Damage

Water damage carpet cleaning

Mold in carpet from water damage

It doesn’t take more than a little moisture, warmth and dark space to breed mold quickly, carpet is an ideal home for mold to grow. Homeowners who experience even a small amount of water seeping into their homes either from flooding or a broken pipe should be concerned about mold especially when that moisture gets trapped under an insulted material such as carpet.

How to treat water damaged carpet

The faster you start cleaning up after water damage, the more likely you are to stop mold from growing under your carpet. Calling in mold remediation experts or water damage specialists is usually recommended to ensure the dampness is fully dried out and any damage that has taken place is dealt with before it spreads. If you are attempting to treat the water damaged carpet yourself

  1. Extract all water possible. Get hold of water extraction machine to remove as much of the water as possible.
  2. Ventilate the room. Open all windows to distribute fresh air and speed drying. Use floor flans to increase circulations and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air and carpet.
  3. Treat the smell. Carpet smells after water damage, use vinegar or baking soda to remove the odor and freshen up the carpet.

How to get rid of carpet odor from water damage

Once you have dried out the carpet, use a combination of one cup vinegar to two cups warm water and gently spray the areas that smell. Be sure not to over spray and create new moisture! Sprinkling baking soda once the carpet is dry and then vacuuming or using a carpet spray freshener can also help to eliminate the moist carpet smell coming from the carpet fibers.

While all carpet smells following water damage and dampness, lingering water damage smells could indicate the continued growth of mold or mildew, which thrives in damp conditions. If you the carpet odor continues after you have dried and treated the carpet, don’t wait for mold to appear or for your family to start wheezing, call in a mold remediation specialist immediately.

Water Damage Restoration Insurance

You may be surprised to discover what is or is not covered by your home insurance following water damage. Certain types of water damage are covered, and ensuring you get the maximum coverage from your water damage restoration insurance is usually dependent on having someone professional asses the complete damage and help with submitting the claim. Because damage may be hidden or not visible, an expert will be able to detail the visible and hidden damages which need to be repaired, restored or replaced.


Moshe Amos

Moshe has more over 15 years as a licensed contractor in the New York City area. 

As a New York State-licensed Mold Assessor, he is especially knowledgeable about mold assessment and remediation.


Fire & Water Damage ‧ Mold Remediation ‧ Asbestos & Lead ‧ All Abatement ‧ Total Renovation