Why Does Carpet Hold So Much Water (And What Water Damage Can Occur?)

In reality, it is not the carpet that is retaining the water when flooding or plumbing problems wreak havoc on your home. The soft cushion or padding beneath the carpet is what is actually holding on to the water, and where eventually the bacteria, mildew, and mold grow.

Why Does the Carpet Padding Hold More Than the Carpet Itself?

Here is something to keep in mind: water prefers to travel, and does not like to stay in one area. This moving liquid will automatically transfer its body toward a drier material.

Carpet may feel extremely sturdy underneath your feet, but it does not hold a great amount or offer much resistence to water passing through its fibers. The cushioned carpet padding creates a comfortable surface beneath the carpeting to easily walk on. It dually acts as a sponge when the carpet gets wet.

Carpeting is essentially like a strainer or sieve to water. Generally, a carpet cannot hold more than a couple of ounces of water per square footage before it is soaked. Any additional water will filter directly through the carpeting onto the pad after these first few ounces.

If there is water spilled at the center of a carpeted room, the liquid will saturate the fibers of the carpet, across the pad to the walls. Depending on the amount of water, the liquid will move to the edges of the room in a matter of minutes or hours. You may touch the carpet at the corner of the room, and it will not even have a feeling of dampness. However, the pad is actually saturated.

Removing Carpet and Padding After Water Damage

To properly dry wet carpeting, it is recommended to remove both the carpet and padding to expose the sub floor for treatment. It is also important to mention that ordinarily, soiled carpet pads that have been in water for more than 48 hours should be discarded and replaced. Carpet cushioning entrap and absorb water so effectively (almost like a kitchen sponge), they become a habitat for fungi and mold. This can caused wooden floors to deteriorate.

Some water restoration technicians also recommend discarding your carpet after water damage. Why? Because of something called carpet delamination. This is due to long term water saturation of the carpet. The final decision will hinge on what caused the damage and the amount of time the carpeting has been wet.

Category 1: This water damage includes clean water situations such as toilet supply line, a refrigerator ice maker, etc. If your carpet has not been saturated for more than 48 hours, then the water can be extracted. Also, both the carpet AND pad are safe for keeping.

Category 2: Gray water such as shower runoff and washing machine waste water is included in this group. The carpet padding should be thrown away, however, the water from the carpet can be extracted.

Category 3: A black water situation is serious. This is contaminated water including raw sewage, rising ground water, or plumbing problems. It is strongly suggested to rid of both padding and carpet when you have black water damage because of the unsanitary conditions.

Have you got water damage due to flooding or toilet backflow, and need the assistance of one of Accutech’s experienced technicians? As one Sarasota’s premier water mitigation services, we are expertly trained in all aspects of water removal, and guarantee that we will completely dry out your home, and ensure that bacteria and mold have no time to grow. Contact us now for more information about our services, or to set up a consultation.