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Flooring and Carpeting/Indoor-Outdoor Carpeting in Basement

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Question
We occasionally get a little water in our basement if the ground is frozen and we get heavy rains - Exactly what happened last week in Wisconsin.  The indoor-outdoor carpeting that is on the floor was soaked.  I used a Bissell carpet cleaner to remove as much of the water from the carpet as I could.  Then I have had fans blowing for the past 4 days.  The carpet is drying out, but it STINKS! (And the smell is beginning to move upstairs)  What are my options?

-Keep drying the carpets and then somehow try to clean them?  How?

-Remove and discard the carpet?  How to I remove the glue from the concrete?

-If I remove the carpet and get the glue off, do you recommend these epoxy paints?

Many thanks -

Answer
Several points:

If the carpet did not dry within a day or so, the air was saturated in the basement and the fans are/were circulating air laden with moisture. Only a dehumidifier can help under those conditions.  

At this point, the odor indicates you have some mold growth beginning in the carpet.  While this can be addressed, it could become more expensive than the carpet is worth - and then there would be the next time. Removal of the carpet is indicated.

Removal of the adhesive depends on the type that was used.  If it was the type called multi-purpose, you will see ridged patterns left by the notched trowel used to spread it. This can probably be scraped off fairly easily, especially if it has been in place for several years (the stuff degrades slowly over the years and becomes less sticky).  

If a pressure sensitive adhesive was used, it was probably applied with a paint roller and you will see no trowel pattern; it will be sticky, similar to the glue on the back of a label on a bottle. This type will be more problematic.  

The simplest way to remove it is with a solution of ammonia and water - one part ammonia to 10 parts of water.  Obviously, plenty of ventilation will be necessary. If you have windows or a door available, a couple of box fans pulling the air out and fresh air entering from the opposite side of the room would work best.   

The ammonia will soften the adhesive, which can then be scraped off. You will need a "razor scraper" from a flooring installation supply store, or possibly Home Depot.  These have a stand-up handle and the blade is about 6" wide.  This will be a tedious process.

DO NOT use a citrus type adhesive remover, as the citrus oils penetrate the concrete and no paint will stick.

Hope this helps - good luck.  

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Carey Mitchell

Expertise

Any question regarding carpet, including specifications, maintenance, installation, regulation.

Experience

Retired after 44 years in carpet manufacture, technical and research. Served 33 years as Director of Technical Services for the world's largest carpet manufacturer.

Organizations
The Carpet and Rug Institute, Technical Chair - 12 years; American Society for Testing and Materials (40 years); American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (39 years); Society of Cleaning and Restoration (Board of Directors); US National Textile Research Consortium; Cleaning Industry Research Institute (Board of Directors and founder); Canadian General Standards Board Technical Advisory Committee; The Fiber Society; Alzheimer's Association of NW GA (Board of Directors); Trout Unlimited; Federation of Fly Fishermen

Publications
AATCC Review (Textile Chemist and Colorist Journal); Journal of the American Industrial Hygiene Association; International Journal of Flooring Sciences Cleaning Digest; Cleanfax Magazine; Floor Covering Weekly; Floor Covering News; Proceedings of the Technical Conference of the Polyurethane Association; Proceedings of the Symposium on the Science of Cleaning;

Education/Credentials
BS in Chemistry and Business Administration, University of North Georgia

Awards and Honors
Carpet and Rug Institute, Smrekar Award, 1998; Carpet Industry Leadership Award, 1994; Cleanfax Magazine Person of the Year, 1996; Cleaning Digest, person of the year, 1997; Institute of Inspections,Cleaning and Restoration Certifications award,1997; ISCT Lipscomb Award, 2004

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