Water Damage

H2OWhether it’s a flood, leak or burst pipe, water damages can’t wait until the next morning. Clive and John opened up the gallery a few weeks ago, only to step onto very wet and damaged rugs.

So while Pierre is sitting behind the computer conjuring up some new and interesting designs for the gallery we thought it good to give all you rug lovers some tips for treating water soaked rugs.

Unsanitary water contains organisms that can infect carpets and rugs and cause health and safety problems. If however the water damage is from a clean water source and it was identified within 24 hours, then cleaning the carpet yourself is an option.

What happens when rugs get wet?

Colour run – Moisture trapped in and between yarn acts as a path for dye to “run” on. This causes the dye to move from one section of the rug to another allowing the colours to mix and blend.

Holes – The build-up of moisture weakens the warps and wefts used in the backing of the rug. Deterioration in the yarn strength can eventually lead to holes being formed.

Shrink or stretch – Some yarns tend to shrink or stretch when exposed to water. There are two kinds of shrinkage. Progressive shrinkage occurs when the fiber itself shrinks. Relaxation shrinkage is when the fabric shrinks. It is caused by the tension applied to yarns and fabrics during construction. Yarn is stretched on a loom when woven up into a rug. The tension is released when the fabric gets wet causing it to shrink to its natural size.

What can I do?

  1. Quickly remove any furniture that may be damaged or cause stains or damage to the carpet.
  2. Limit traffic over the wet carpet. Moisture can weaken the backing and walking on the rug can cause the backing to separate. When the backing dries, it regains most of its original strength.
  3. Place the rug in direct sunlight. Make sure that it is upside down with the pile showing downwards. This will ensure that the water runs away from the backing of the rug. Do not place the rug on a solid surface such as concrete or tiles. The solid surface will restrict the flow of water away from the rug.
  4. Make sure that you place your rug over a cylinder-like railing with a wide circumference to allow air to move through the rug. Again, make sure that the pile shows downwards. Do not hang it over chairs or tables as the rug will mold to the form of the furniture and will show creases afterwards.
  5. Use of a heater to further speed up evaporation. Place a heater about 1m away from the rug, or even better underneath the rug. Do not use a blower as this tends to make the rug yellow in colour.
  6. If you are not happy with the results then make sure that you bring in your rug for professional cleaning and restoration.
  7. Check the subfloor for moisture as well. If rainwater soaked from the top, it may not have soaked the sub floor. The type of subfloor under the carpet and the length of time it is wet will determine whether it will need to be replaced. Allow to dry completely before placing your beautiful rug back on the floor.