Vancouver, Washington gets approximately 45 inches of rain every year. This is significantly more than the US average of 39 inches of rain a year. When in an area with more rain than usual, you want to protect your home. And the floors in your home. Water damage can be devastating to floors, so be prepared before disaster strikes and use flooring options known to withstand rainy situations. However, if you choose an option traditionally subject to water damage, prepare yourself before you pay a lot of money in replacements.
General Rules for Flooring in Wet Areas
Living in a rainy area, your home should be ready for unexpected flooding. The bathrooms and basement require the most attention because these areas have the greatest potential for water damage.
In general, there are rules about what materials can withstand rain and which ones can’t. Organic materials and carpet usually have a little more difficulty in this area than synthetic materials. Hardwood and carpet are typically the worst options. Carpets take a very long time to dry out, and wood is prone to becoming deformed. Ceramic, porcelain, and vinyl provide the most stable floors. Engineered wood, laminate flooring, linoleum, and bamboo are considered moderately acceptable in areas prone to water exposure. Luckily, advancements have made it so that we don’t necessarily have to go by these rules anymore. More and more homeowners are opting for carpeted basements. However, if you do decide to carpet your basement, use these helpful tips.
Causes of Water Damage to Floors
Water damage can come from a variety of sources. Knowing where water damage will likely come from can help you prevent it. One of the biggest causes of water damage is faulty household appliances. The washer, the air conditioner, the toilet, and the ice maker can all create water damage when they fail. When you see your appliances leaking a little bit, update the appliance as quickly as possible to avoid serious problems. Another popular source of water damage is flooding from excessive rain. People in Washington are especially vulnerable. This rainfall can seep in through cracks in the walls and floors.
Carpeting Your Basement
There’s plenty to do before carpeting your basement. The first step in carpeting your basement involves inspecting your basement for problems and getting those problems fixed. If you inspect for water damage yourself, things to look for include:
- Standing water – Look for puddles of water on the ground inside and outside your home, especially by pipes.
- Discoloration – Water problems can create yellow or brown coloring in the walls and floors.
- Warping – Walls and floors will mutate when water has seeped into the materials of your home. Wood is particularly vulnerable to warping and expanding from water damage.
- Odor – Excessive water will create mold. Mold creates a distinct smell that can be a very telling sign of water damage.
After you’ve examined the basement for problems, it must be water-proofed. Even if there are no signs of trouble, you need to waterproof the basement anyway to be properly prepared. You don’t want to buy new carpeting only to have to replace it later due to flooding. You want to make sure that your walls have the proper insulation. Fill any visible cracks with hydraulic cement. Also, use a layer of masonry cement to the walls. There are many professional services available to do this for you if you don’t know how. It’s also beneficial to get a dehumidifier to keep moisture out of the air and keep the room as comfortable as possible. Ceiling fans also help eliminate water molecules.
Choosing the right investment to put into your carpet:
After the basement is waterproofed, you will choose the carpet like you would for any other room of your house. Pets and children may convince you to choose less expensive carpet because we all know that pets and children can cause stains and other damage. Also, consider the amount of foot traffic the room will get. A room with a lot of activity and guests may also require less expensive carpet than a room that won’t get much activity. Water damage isn’t the only thing that may require you to need new carpet.
High-pile v. low-pile carpet:
High-pile carpet means that the carpet is thick. Low-pile carpet means that the carpet is thin. The thinner the carpet, the quicker the carpet will dry in the case that it does get wet. Elect for a low-pile carpet.
Padded carpet v. no padding:
Basements generally run cooler than other areas of a home. This makes padding a tempting option. However, padding will retain water. This will create mold more quickly and create a need for new carpeting more quickly.
Wall-to-wall v. sectioned:
Always choose sectioned carpeting for your basement. The benefit is that if you run into a problem with one section of your basement getting wet, you won’t have to worry about replacing the entire carpet. You can simply replace the problem section. Many people even keep some extra sections of carpeting for when this happens.
Several companies now provide waterproof carpeting that can supposedly withstand any amount of water damage that comes its way. Two companies on the market today with these options include Shaw Lifeguard and Tigressa H20. What makes these carpets special is that water cannot seep through them. Even if they do encounter a flood, the water will remain on the surface. You won’t have to worry about pulling the carpet up to dry it. This also allows you to get padding underneath for more warmth. These options cost slightly more than regular carpeting, but the investment can be worth it for people who live in areas prone to rain and flooding.
When Your Carpet Gets Wet
Even when you plan accordingly, somethings are out of our control. When your carpet does get wet, there are plenty of ways to save your carpet if you attend to the problem immediately.
The most important part of cleaning wet carpet is attending to the carpet as soon as possible. After 72 hours, mold will start to grow if the carpet is not dried. Before attempting your clean-up, cut off the electricity. Water and electricity do not fix, and the first step in any DIY project is safety.
Rent a carpet cleaner, extractor, and a commercial dehumidifier. The dehumidifier is not nearly as important as the extractor. Use the extractor on the carpet to remove the water. Take your time, go over the carpet slowly, and go over the carpet multiple times. If you have padding under the carpet, the padding must be removed. After extracting as much water as possible, allow the carpet to dry. Keep the temperature at less than 75 degrees to prevent bacterial growth. If you are nervous about turning off the electricity yourself or drying the carpet yourself, hire a professional to help. They can get the job done right.
Carpeting is no longer a big no-no for basements anymore. Even in areas with a lot of rain, a properly waterproofed basement can house a carpet for a long time without it getting moldy. Make intelligent decisions to prepare yourself for when disaster does strike, and consider water-proof carpeting.