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Storm aftermath: saturated carpet, cleaning services overwhelmed, mildew -- HELP!

Storm aftermath: saturated carpet, cleaning services overwhelmed, mildew -- HELP!


  #1  
Old 04-18-07, 12:47 PM
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Storm aftermath: saturated carpet, cleaning services overwhelmed, mildew -- HELP!

The carpeting in my basement family room has been saturated since Monday morning.

I have calls in to five cleaning services. I am on the list for two of them, I left messages at two, and the fifth says forget it, just take up the carpeting.

It is wall-to-wall Berber carpeting. I have a Bissell carpet cleaning machine that I have been using to suck water out of the carpet in the approximately two to three hours a day I have before and after work. The water just stopped coming into the house last night.

I am running a dehumidifier, I have another dehumidifier in my laundry room that I can now use because the floor in there is dry -- and I am running two pedestal fans 24 x 7. It is cold outside so I can't even open the windows.

And the mildew smell is getting ferocious.

I am at the end of my rope. I don't know what to do. I am trying to amass as many packing cartons as I can so I can pack up the many, many books, records, and DVDs that are on the bookcases in that room so that furniture can be moved.

Should I start trying to take it up myself by hacking it up with a utility blade? Should I call a flooring contractor to do it when I buy a new floor? Should I wait to contact a flooring contractor until I've pulled it all up? What can I do in the meantime? I can not take time off work to use my little carpet machine to try to dry it out and the few hours I have are accomplishing nothing.

I don't know what kind of flooring to put down. I don't know what's under this carpet. I don't know what kind of shape the floor underneath is in. I'm in paralysis mode because I don't know what to do.

Can anyone at least give me a step-by-step methodology as to where to even START? I am just assuming that the cleaning services are either ignoring me or so overwhelmed that it could be weeks before they get to me, so I am assuming I'm on my own.
 
  #2  
Old 04-18-07, 01:12 PM
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Three days wet! probably can't save the carpet now. Even if you could get all the water up it will still take another day or two to get it dry. Id replace it. Carpet company will remove it. but it is still going to have to be dried. Go to home store and buy a shop vac. This will speed things up.
 
  #3  
Old 04-18-07, 03:14 PM
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Are you insured?
I would call a pro in if you own the house.
Rot and mold are the dangers.
I worked for a company called "Winmar" and we did a lot of floods.
Its the mold that is the problem if not done properly.
 
  #4  
Old 04-18-07, 03:47 PM
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I'll defer to a carpet expert here to advise you on whether the carpet can be salvaged, but in addition to running fans and dehumidifiers you should be running heaters as well.

As I said, I'm no carpet expert, but if it were me I wouldn't wait for a contractor. I wouldn't cut the carpet instead I would pull the baseboard and remove the carpet from the tack strips. Take the carpet outside to air, lay it out on sleepers in the garage if it's still raining. Trash the pad. The important thing is to get the basement dry before moisture starts working on more than the carpet.
 
  #5  
Old 04-18-07, 03:52 PM
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If you can not get professional help the only choice you have is to remove the carpet as soon as possible.
Because it will be quite heavy with water you will have to cut it up.

Fans will be more of a benefit than dehumidifiers to move the air around to speed up drying along with opening windows to allow moisture to escape.
It is important to dry this up as soon as possible as your home could quickly become quite unhealthy from mold growth.

Do you have a finished basement with drywall and insulation?
If so then after you remove the carpet you will have to open up the walls and pull out the insulation.

If you are insured for this just take lots of pictures.
 
  #6  
Old 04-18-07, 04:02 PM
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Carpet and cushion that remains wet 24-48 hours have already begun to have mold and mildew problems. Thus, you have the odor problem. Homeowner's insurance should have already sent out their adjuster to assess the damage and to let you know if it is covered. They usually arrange for a company to come in to do the clean up and disinfect the affected surfaces.

The carpet and cushion are likely a loss at this point because of the mold and mildew. It will have to go. You will not be able to get the concrete dried out with wet carpet and cushion on top. Cleanup experts recommend that after 48 hours that if carpet, upholstery, and other absorpent materials remain wet that they should be discarded.

Depending on depth of water in the basement, water may have entered to wall cavity and saturated the insulation and mold and mildew may be present in areas that you can not see. These areas will need to be addressed as well.

Once you have everything dried out and clean and disinfected, then you can think about what type of floor covering you should get. Right now, the important thing is to get the place dried out and eliminate the mold and mildew.
 
  #7  
Old 04-18-07, 04:10 PM
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I haven't called the insurance company because I do not have flood insurance (I'm not in a flood plain) and I'm afraid my homeowners' insurance company drop me if I even ask a question. I read in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago that they can do this. I figure if we're looking at a couple thousand dollars (which is probably the case I'll just eat the cost rather than risk being dropped, or worse, being put into a massive database.

I am not being paranoid, this really exists. Here is more info:

http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/insurance/homes-history1.asp

What happens is that an inquiry is still counted as a loss on the property, even if the insurer doesn't pay out a claim. It's called a zero-payout claim. And it can make it hard to get insurance on the property if you have to sell.

So I just don't think it pays to risk losing my homeowners insurance.

There was never any standing water in the room because the carpet absorbed it all. There WAS standing water in the adjoining laundry room, but not more than about 1/2" at the lowest point -- and we got most of that out as it came in.
 
  #8  
Old 04-18-07, 06:18 PM
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OK, I have lifted one edge of the carpet and it turns out that there is linoleum or some kind of tile underneath -- probably mid-1970's vintage.

The carpet has foam pad under it.

I have a flooring guy coming out Friday who says his guys can pick up the old carpet....but do I need to try to do it myself before then? What if I just take the pad out? It is wall-to-wall carpeting, so there are tack strips along the wall and the pad is stapled to the floor. So it's going to be a royal mess. The mildew smell is bad. The "finishing" on the walls is fake wood paneling, and since the room is always cold, I doubt they put insulation behind it. The previous owners did everything on the cheap. I don't think that's an issue because there was never more water in the room than the carpet and pad could absorb.

If you all think I should get started taking it out, I can go down with my utility knife and pull it out a little at a time starting this weekend. I can't do it before then, and neither can my husband, because we both work full time and are too busy at work to take time off for this. It's hard when companies that do this won't get back to you and you work full time and you have a mess like this to clean up with no help from the people whose business it is to help.
 
  #9  
Old 04-18-07, 07:12 PM
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And the mildew smell is getting ferocious.

I would have to say that it is time to take that floor out a piece at a time.
When we did floods, not once do I remember saving a carpet.
Insurance or no insurance, its your call.
If the mildew is that strong then I would worry about the house and your own health.
I would buy good utility knives and recruit some teen labour from the neighbor hood and take whatever stinks out to a big pile outside.
Large floor drying fans can be rented at a rental store.
Its cool outside but that will slow the mildew growth.
I don't actually know the health concerns with carrying the stuff outside.
When I worked with Winmar Property Damage Specialists we just grinned and bared it. You might want to get more information on that.
 

Last edited by frankiee; 04-18-07 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Spelling error
  #10  
Old 04-18-07, 08:06 PM
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My personal opinion that it is quite urgent that the carpet be removed and basement dried as soon as possible.
The longer you wait the greater the risk of the mold becoming more virulent.
You would do well to purchase an N-95 rated mask or better to avoid sentitivities to the mold.

It also might be worthwhile taking a day off work to clean this up.
 
  #11  
Old 04-28-07, 07:18 AM
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Just an update: We removed all the carpet and the 1/2" foam (!!!) pad underneath and were delighted to see industrial tile underneath -- until those started curling at the edges as they dried. So we are pulling those up now as well. The flooring guy recommended two options -- glued-down industrial carpet (which a friend has and he says that when he gets water, a wet-vac takes care of it) or fiberglass sheet flooring that isn't affixed to anything and you just roll it up when it gets wet. The fiberglass was hideous and I can't see something not adhered or even anchored by base trim not curling up over time, so we're going with the carpet and keeping our fingers crossed.

Ironically, the reason we didn't have standing water was largely thanks to the carpet pad, which sucked up tons of water.
 
  #12  
Old 04-28-07, 07:38 AM
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If going back to carpet in a flood-prone basement, go with olefin. Olefin is chemical resistant (including bleach). Make sure it has a synthetic backing, not a fiber like jute. There are carpet cushions that have an anti-microbial built in for mildew resistance. At least, with an olefin carpet, in the event of a flood, it could be removed and cleaned and disinfected and reinstalled, even if you had to discard the cushion. Be alert to humidity level in basement. Run dehumidifiers to reduce humidity and fans to improve air circulation.
 
  #13  
Old 04-28-07, 10:49 AM
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Don't glue it down! Only place it should be glued is at the seams. If you have water you can pull it up at the walls and place a fan under it. No pad!
 
  #14  
Old 04-28-07, 06:50 PM
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Flooding Basement

We had 3" of rain and two leaks from water pressure outside the walls started getting the carpet wet. Ive pulled up the INDOOR/OUTDOOR type carpet and can see where its coming in from some very small holes. Its still leaking, even though its stopped raining. What can I use to stop these leaks so I can do all the things youve suggested to the previous posted member?
 
 

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