Should Basement Carpet Be Replaced After Water Damage?

Has your basement carpet suffered from water damage either from a broken pipe or a recent flood, and you want to know whether you should restore or replace it? The deciding factors include the damage to your carpet, duration of the water damage, and water source. We've researched to establish when exactly water-damaged carpeting should be replaced.

As a rule of thumb, you should replace the carpet if: 

  • The water damage is extensive, but if it’s just minimal, it might be worth restoring, so assess the extent of the damage first. 
  • The carpet has been soaked up for more than 72 hours, by then mold and mildew would have taken their root on your carpet and started breeding. This puts your family's health at risk.   
  • The water source is flood or sewage, this incident requires a full replacement and restoring it is not an option. Carpets that get exposed to wastewater have already been contaminated with harmful bacteria and fungi that could have long-term health effects. 

Fixing and replacing a water-damaged carpet can be stressful, but it is important not to delay taking action. Read more to learn why you shouldn’t let wet carpet sit and the possible ways to dry it thoroughly. 

Worker with measuring tape installing new carpet indoors. Should Basement Carpet Be Replaced After Water Damage

What Happens if Water Gets Under the Carpet?

Water leaks may find their way to your carpet and seep into the bottom of it. When that happens, it can be difficult to treat. The possible risks include:

Worker with removing old carpet in a living room

Dry Rot

Too much moisture results in fiber deterioration. This does not usually show any sign, so it can go unnoticed until the later stage where the carpet simply falls apart and there is no fixing it. Some early signs of dry rot to spot are discoloration and cracks.

Mold and Mildew Growth

When mold and mildew land in a damp area, they begin to grow, because that is their ideal environment. Made of thick fabrics that can easily absorb and trap moisture, carpet makes the perfect hideout for mold. 

Unpleasant Odor in Your Home

Molds produce microbial volatile organic compounds or a variety of chemicals as they metabolite which are responsible for the strong musty and mildew smell all over your house. It can be difficult to get rid of. 

Will a Dehumidifier Dry Out Wet Carpet?

One device you can use to dry out wet carpets is a dehumidifier. This removes moisture from the air by ejecting the dry air through an inlet, allowing water from the carpet to evaporate. The cycle goes on until all moisture has been sucked up from the air.

A standard dehumidifier can dry out a 25 square meter carpet within 12 hours. You can choose a model that best suits your needs, each holds a different capacity. If no dehumidifier is available, you can use other drying tools such as:

Large wet-dry vacuum

This sucks up both solid and liquid particles and disposes of them to separate chambers. You can use it to extract moisture from the carpet. If you don’t own one, check out for rent wet-dry vacuum cleaners at the local hardware.  

When you’re done with water extraction, lift the carpet to see if the padding got wet. If it is, you may need to tear out and replace the portion that got wet as it takes a long time to dry out. It also develops a foul odor that transfers to your carpet. 

Use a box heater

A box heater can help draw out water from the carpet. The logic behind this is that warm air holds more moisture than cold air does. You just have to take precautions when using it. Make sure to place the cord away from the damp surface to prevent injuries. 

This is a water damage clean-up in a residential home.

How Long Does It Take to Dry a Carpet? 

This mainly depends on the size of your carpet, how saturated it is, and the drying tools available. A small spill will take approximately one to two hours, but a fully-soaked carpet can take up to a week to dry up. The type of fabric is another factor. Generally, nylon dries faster than cotton.

Drying a carpet can be a lot of work. Don't hesitate to seek the help of professionals, if you believe you can't do it yourself. The water damage restoration and cleaning carpet services can thoroughly assess your carpet to determine the best possible solution. 

Most of them use pro-grade water extraction machines and treat the carpet afterward to prevent unwanted bacteria from growing. They also use an advanced drying system to dry up carpets of any size in just a few hours.

Water Soaked Carpet Pad

Is Wet Carpet a Health Risk?

As we've mentioned previously, a wet carpet makes the perfect breeding ground for mold. Within 24 hours of exposure to water, mold can propagate and spread across your carpet. As they metabolite, they emit mycotoxins which pose several health problems that include: 

  • Asthma
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Allergy
  • Nausea 
  • Headache
  • Weak immune system

Do not wait until mold develops on your carpet, dry it out immediately!

How Do You Know if the Carpet is Moldy?

As mold gets into the inner foundation of the fiber, it creates a ring of discoloration, so look out for black, green, and brown circular patterns on the carpet. It feels stiff when you knock on it, but be careful not to bend it as by that time mold has already eaten up the fiber that it can break up easily. 

A pungent musty odor is another indication of mold presence on your carpet. But don’t try to bring your nose closer to smell it because you might inhale the spores. Try to feel the area instead, if there’s moisture, pull back the carpet and check for marks or stains of mold.

Man removing carpet during home renovations. Should Basement Carpet Be Replaced After Water Damage


Water spills and floods can leave you with a water-damaged carpet. It is a hassle indeed, but fixing it is the least homeowners can do; otherwise, it can lead to further damage. You can follow some of our tips above and do it yourself or seek the help of a professional for immediate remediation.

Do you have other basement flooring questions? Check out our related posts:

What is the Best Flooring for a Basement Bathroom?

Are Epoxy Floors Cold: The Pros & Cons

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