Why Is My Carpet Damp?

4 January 2022

Keeping your home dry and warm is always a top priority, so when your carpet starts to feel wet, or you notice a definite smell of dampness in the air coming from your carpet it is time for action.

Problems arises though when you don’t know why your carpet is damp – or how to deal with a damp carpet so the issue goes away permanently. So, here you can find all the different reasons that your carpet might become damp – and the list of actions that you need to take in order to rectify that.

The Main Reasons Carpets Become Damp

The simplest answer to why carpets become damp is that there is a presence of moisture within them that wasn’t there before, but that’s not to say a spilled drink or rainwater runoff means that you have a carpet with damp.

Damp is a term used for a consistent or recurring presence of moisture. When the term is applied to a property it’s usually in relation to rising damp, or penetrating damp, which is normally found in a properties walls.

When a damp carpet is talked about it is usually in relation to the presence of a returning and consistent problem. There are a few reasons that a carpet might keep becoming damp but these are the most common.

Rising Damp

Leaving rising damp left untreated

Rising damp occurs when moisture makes its way into a properties walls and other construction materials via the process of capillary action. In cases concerning rising damp its incredibly common to find that a properties first line of defence against rising damp, the DPC (or damp proof course) has failed, or perhaps not even been installed.

If there is no DPC in place to stop capillary action drawing water up into your properties walls, you will find that damp begins to appear low in your properties walls, starting at your floor and rising to no higher than around 1 meter from ground level.

This is obviously not great, but sometimes you might not notice rising damp due to a skirting board or other furniture covering your walls, whilst the carpet itself gets damp and more moist the closer to the wall you get.

That’s because the rising damp has spread its moisture into adjoining floorboards, into the cavity below the floor or maybe even right into the carpet itself. As the weather gets worse and the heavier the rain falls, you will find that the level of moisture entering your walls and the dampness in your carpet gets worse, and that won’t stop until the rising damp has been treated by a rising damp specialist.

The replacing or installation of a DPC is the only way to prevent rising damp, and put a stop to moisture travelling into your property where it manifests as damp. After a surveyor has inspected your property and a qualified technician has taken the appropriate steps to successfully and completely install a DPC, only then should you look into fitting a new carpet.

This is because if you just replace or clean your carpet before the rising damp has been treated every time it rains your carpet will become damp once more, wasting the money you spent on a new carpet. Make sure before you take any other steps that your rising damp has been treated.

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp from damaged rainwater goods

Penetrating damp is the kind of damp that happens when there is a defect in a property that allows water ingress. This isn’t limited to walls either – the penetrating damp can be formed from a fault in your roof, in your windows, through the walls or even (and relevant to this article) through the floor itself.

For example, if you own a house with multiple stories, then it’s safe to assume that your first floor rooms are going to have carpet. Perhaps not in every room, but the odds are there is carpet in at least one. If the floor beneath that carpet has been subject to penetrating damp then it’s a very safe bet to assume that the penetrating damp can lead to a damp carpet.

It might be easier to understand with an example. Let’s say your guttering is leaking or is clogged, and as a result water now overflows and cascades down the side of your house instead of draining away safely.

Over time, the water travelling down the side of your property is going to soak into your masonry, eroding the pointing and making that particular part of the wall vulnerable to water ingress. This means heavy rain will allow water to seep in (either from the gutter, or just the rain hitting the wall itself), and damp to set in within and around the area that has been affected by the guttering’s failure.

Over time this penetrating damp can easily spread, and if that damp happens to be at a level that coincides with one of your properties floors then you can easily find yourself in a situation where the damp infests baseboards, or creates moisture in the cavity between the ceiling and the carpet above.

In these circumstances, you might find that along with your carpet being damp (especially at times when its raining) that you might also have damp skirting boards or walls around the area in which the penetrating damp has entered your home.

In this situation, it’s important to understand that the only way to stop your carpet from becoming (or remaining damp) is to have your property surveyed and treated by a property care expert.

Penetrating damp is a recurring problem that must be treated before any other work can take place. Simply replacing your carpet or having it deep cleaned will do nothing; the damp will consistently return until the cause of the penetrating damp has been rectified.

Leaking Pipes

A leaking pipe is one of the most common reasons that a carpet might be consistently and regularly getting damp. Pipes are a facet of a property that are always in use, and if they have fallen into disrepair then it may well mean you will have a damp related issue on your hands soon enough.

In cases where pipes have burst below the floor of a property, it may well be the case that a damp carpet is the least of your worries. A burst pipe can lead to penetrating damp, black mould, ruined timber and other fittings of all kinds.

However, the first indication you might have that there is a burst or broken pipe could well be a damp carpet. This might be a slight damp feeling on carpet fibres, or it could be a fully-fledged puddle, squelching every time you stand in it.

Either way, until your pipes have been fixed, that damp isn’t going to go anywhere. Make certain to contact a trained and accredited plumber who can fix your pipes as soon as possible. Once you have done that, you will have to get in touch with a property care specialist to see what kind of damage the broken pipe might have done, and what can be done to either repair the space beneath your floorboards (and the floorboards themselves). It may even be a case of having to replace the floorboards.

Water damage is serious, and even a low level of moisture can have a drastic effect if left over several months. At any rate, it’s worth having an expert inspect your underfloor area after a pipe leaking and causing a damp carpet.

Solving a Damp Carpet Problem

If you have noticed that your carpet is damp, and you would like some professional help to identify the source of the damp problem, then call our team of property care specialists. Call 0800 288 8660 or get in touch with us online so we can help you get your carpets back into top condition, and protect your property against further water damage.