Yesterday a neighbor called to ask for help — her home had water from a clogged toilet. She hoped to get the carpet cleaned that was wet.

I asked her several questions: was it feces or urine? How much water was on the floor? What was the flooring (laminate)? How much carpet was wet (4 x 6′ area)? What was under that floor (nothing, on a slab)?

We were able to determine that sanitizing and drying the area and then deodorizing and cleaning after the wet materials were dried would probably help in the short term. The laminate flooring, however, would be a wild card.

Perhaps she got it dried up quickly enough — but she might not know for a few days what it would do. I’ve heard laminate wood type flooring referred to as “cardboard” that swells when it gets wet. The professionals at John Andrew Flooring </a> find that usually such flooring will need to be replaced.

Especially in a toilet overflow, with feces, it would be impossible to be sure that all the moisture and contamination was out of the flooring and subfloor. I recommended she have that flooring removed and replaced. The carpet is able to be cleaned and deodorized in some cases like this, and the pad replaced and sanitizer on the subfloor — because she did act so quickly. If it had happened when she was not home, it might have required removing some subfloor also.

It’s always upsetting when plumbing problems cause water damage, but acting quickly can help cut down on the cost and length of time needed to dry out. Calling a plumber like Victory Plumbing is often the best thing to do when you have water problems.