Drying Carpeting After a Flooded Basement: 7 Steps to Extracting Water and Dry Carpeting in the Basement After a Flood
A flood can cause extensive water damage, especially in basements. If you have wet carpeting after a basement flood, it’s important to begin cleanup as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage to the carpeting. Additionally, the longer you wait, the more likely that mold will grow on, in, or even under the carpeting or carpet padding. Flood waters should always be considered category 3 or black water because they are likely to contain harmful bacteria that may cause severe discomfort or sickness in humans and pets. While it is possible to salvage your wet carpeting in the basement after a flood, it’s important to begin restoration as quickly as possible.
7 Steps to Dry Carpeting in the Basement After a Flood
1. Turn Off the Electricity
The combination of water and electricity can be deadly, so use caution when inspecting a flooded basement. Most electrical outlets are installed between 12 and 18 inches (30 and 46 centimeters) above finished flooring, but placement may vary in older homes.
Safely check the water level while on your basement stairs to ensure you don’t get electrocuted during cleanup. If water is covering electrical outlets, contact a water damage restoration professional for professional cleanup services.
Regardless of the depth of the floodwaters, take precautions to prevent an electrical accident. Wear rubber boots and walk carefully through the water until you can confirm there is no possibility for electrocution.
2. Find the Source of the Damage
Before you can begin cleanup, you need to ensure there isn’t a potential for more damage. Location the source of the flood waters and make sure water isn’t still coming in. While you can pump out standing water, avoid beginning cleanup and restoration if there are still heavy rains or flood warnings in effect for your area.
3. Save Your Stuff and Move Your Furniture
You can’t begin to dry wet carpeting in the basement until you’ve removed your personal items and furniture. You can begin clearing away items as soon as you ensure there is no risk of electrocution, even if flood waters are still entering your home.
Carefully remove furniture, wiping away excess water. Furniture made from particle board or other composite materials are likely to soak up water and may be difficult to salvage. Items made with hardwood, plastic, or metal are easier to salvage.
For personal items, move them to another room and lay them out to dry. This includes electronics, photo albums, clothing, books, and any other item you wish to save. Dispose of items that are too saturated with floodwaters to be saved, such as newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes.
4. Extract the Water
Once you are sure the flood has stopped, you can begin removing the water. For floods with a larger area or when water is deeper than an inch, a pump is most effective at removing water. You can rent a pump at more equipment rental companies.
Once the majority of the standing water is gone, use a wet/dry vacuum or shop vac to suck up the remaining water. Work systematically to remove as much water as possible, emptying your vacuum as necessary. You may need to go over your carpeting several times. The goal is to remove as much water as possible, leaving the carpeting just damp to the touch.
5. Use Fans and Dehumidifiers to Dry Wet Carpeting
Use fans to circulate air and promote drying. While most household fans can dry out carpeting after a flood, they aren’t as efficient as commercial air movers. The goal is to dry wet carpeting as fast as possible to prevent mold, so you might consider renting fans from an equipment rental company.
While you may think heat will help dry your carpeting, cranking up the heat isn’t that effective. A better alternative is to use a dehumidifier, which will pull excess moisture out of the air. The less moisture in the air, the faster your carpeting will dry.
Review our article on drying wet carpeting for tips on saving your carpeting after a flood or another type of water damage.
6. Check the Carpet Padding
Check underneath your carpeting to see if there is carpet padding. Most carpet pads are made of rebond, a pressed foam material, but some older homes may have other types of fiber pads or even wool padding. Once this material gets wet, it is likely to begin to fall apart.
While it may be best to dispose of your carpet padding, you can dry it similarly to carpeting. The most efficient way to dry carpeting padding is to peel back the carpeting and continue using fans. This will also help speed up the carpet drying as well since it’s no longer wicking water from the padding.
7. Clean and Sanitize
Once your carpeting is dry, take preventative measures to limit future issues. Floodwaters contain bacteria and mold that can cause odors or cause future damage. After drying wet carpet in the basement, you should shampoo or steam clean your carpeting.
While you can use a solution of bleach and water to clean hard surfaces, such as concrete flooring underneath your carpeting, bleach is not effective at killing mold in carpeting or drywall. Plus, using bleach on your carpet is likely to cause stains.
How to Prevent Needing to Dry Carpeting After a Flood Again
If your basement has flooded once, it is likely that it can happen again. Once you’ve dried out your basement carpet, think about how to prevent future basement floods. Identify the source of the floodwaters and take steps to resolve the issue again.
Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts help channel rainwater away from your foundation, preventing water from entering through cracks. Clean your gutters and downspouts at least once, if not twice, a year to keep them flowing smoothly. Adding downspout extensions will help move water away from your home as well.
Check that your landscaping isn’t holding water too close to your foundation. Plants should be at least 18 inches (46 centimeters) away from your home. Soil should slope away from your home to allow rainwater and snowmelt to run away. If necessary, add soil around your foundation.
Check foundation walls and flooring for cracks that may allow water in. Patch small cracks with a polyethylene masonry caulk. For larger cracks, use hydraulic cement, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, check the caulking around windows to ensure water is not getting in.
If you have a sump pump, properly maintain it to prevent it from causing a backup or basement flood. For those that don’t have a sump pump, consider having one installed if you regularly have water in your basement.
During especially severe storms with heavy rainfall, municipal sewers are unlikely to handle the volume of water. This can result in a backup of rainwater or even sewage in your home through open floor drains. There are a number of options for preventing backups through drains.
Review our preventing water from coming into your basement article for 14 ways water enters your home and what steps to take to prevent floods and basement water damage.
Things to Know About Drying Carpet After a Flood
Drying wet carpeting in the basement can be difficult. While consumer-grade equipment does work, it may take a significantly longer time to effectively dry out carpeting in a flooded basement.
The longer it takes to dry carpet after a flood, the less likely you’ll be able to save the carpeting. Replacement might be the only option, which can be significantly more expensive than cleaning your existing carpeting.
Since floodwaters are grossly unsanitary, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-hours. Once mold begins to grow, it will thrive as long as the area remains damp. Even after drying, the mold will remain in the carpeting and is likely to return if there is another water issue.
Need Help? We Professionally Dry Wet Carpet
Whether your wet carpet is in the basement or any other room in your home, we dry out wet carpeting quickly. Our water damage restoration specialists have the necessary equipment to quickly dry wet carpet in a basement. They handle water extraction, moisture removal, and all the disinfection needed to protect your family and restore your belongings.
With our network of local contractors across the country, Restoration Local can save your carpeting and prevent mold. Our listings include independent companies as well as major franchises including 911 Restoration and ServiceMaster Restore. Find a water damage restoration contractor in your area now.
If you need immediate assistance, call 1-888-443-3110 to talk with a local on-call contractor. Our on-call contractors offer 24-hour service, 30-minute emergency response, and a free estimate on all restoration services. After they assess the damage, they will be ready to begin drying wet carpet immediately.