carpet for finished basement

We've recently decided to go with carpet in our finished basement. A couple weeks ago we had record rains (in RI) and some water got into the basement and the puddle spread from the unfinished portion of the basement into about half of the finished portion, soaking half of the carpet/pad. We've ripped out the old carpet and are ready to put down new flooring. I've priced out acid staining the cement and got estimates of $8 sqft, which is a LOT more than we want to spend (we have 750sqft). We also would prefer some kind of carpeting anyhow (warmth). I THINK I got the sources of the water, (the fireplace cleanout appeard to bring in about 80% of the water, upon inspection the flue was wide open during the storm D'OH!!!), plus we're installing chimney caps as well, and a little came in from the seal between an old unused drywell pipe and the foundation. I cut back the old damaged seal and replaced with liberal amount of hydraulic cement. We've since gotten a couple sizable rain storms and no water came in. Of course there's no way to test the fixes, but fingers crossed , we got it. I've looked into indoor outdoor carpet but everywhere I've gone, I get weird looks from the salesperson about putting it in finished basement. Plus, when they do show indoor/outdoor it either looks like colored astroturf (ie platicy/shiney/rough) or like the very flat carpet one would find in an office. My friend insists his parents condo (which also took in water) had indoor outdoor that looks just like berber, and was simply towel dried and fine just days later. Does this exist? Does carpet NEED padding (I know it would be less comfortable)? I'm just a bit gun shy to put this money into new carpet in the off shot this would ever happen again. I'm trying to find a carpet solution that doesn't look like astroturf, is inexpensive, and would have a chance in the event of water (ie can be dried out with wet/dry vac, or something similar. Any suggestions?
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I have carpet in my basement, and it has gotten really wet a few times from plumbing problems. Each time I have simply dryed it with fans. It got water spotted, but nothing I couldn't live with in the basement.
Today (see the post above yours) I am ripping some of it out because I am changing the layout of my basement. The part I am ripping out is that which got the worst water damage. It is fine, as is the padding below it. I don't know what is is because I wasn't there 23 years ago, but carpeting and padding that can survive being wet certainly exists. (I was worried about mold, but one kid has asthma and the other allergies and neither is bothered.)
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I've got the perfect solution for you: Legato carpet panels by Milliken, available at Home Depot. They can be pulled up easily in an emergency to dry them, keep them dry or individually replace them. They have their own built-in carpet pad, no adhesive (just a post-it like tackiness), no tack strips, and they don't show any seams.
Google them.
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--On Thursday, October 27, 2005 7:38 AM -0700 grodenhiATgmailDOTcom

What we are doing is painting the concrete and using a remnant from the carpet store that we had bound, with padding underneath. That way we can roll it up and move it. Ours is 12x14, but I've seen them up to about 12x20.
Christine
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I've looked at and priced the Legato system, it's about 50-60% more than the basic wall-to-wall carpet we're pricing now. I'm ideally looking for a wall-to-wall that would be able to be dried from the surface (vac or heat) without having to pull carpet or pad. But the ability to pull and either dry/replace a Legato might be worth it. Have you ever seen it in real world use? How does it look after a few months/years? Just wondering. My room is a large L shape, with the foot of the L split between two rooms with a french door, so I think painting the fllor and putting down area rugs might look too unfinished. There is also a boxed in pole in the middle of one area. had this just simply been a square room, then the paint/area rug idea would be great. Whi
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grodenhiATgmailDOTcom wrote:

The nice thing about Legato is that you don't have to pay for delivery or installation. Plus, if a panel gets stained or damaged, you don't have to replace the whole carpet; just replace one panel or switch it with another panel under a bed or couch.
I have it in two rooms and it is beautiful and still looks brand new after two years. When I get around to redoing one of my basement rooms, I'll use it there too. The extra material cost is easily made up for in other ways.
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We have an area about 6'x7' outside the front door with indoor/outdoor from HD. I believe it was about $6/running foot, but don't recall. Roughly 4years old and put down to cover stained concrete. Got the wipe off mat on top of it. It is outdoors but sheltered in an open atrium so doesn't get wet from rain. It is low loop pile, taupe color. Doesn't seem to accumulate soil and I vacuum it once in a while. If I was carpeting a basement, it would be my choice. I would not put a pad down or use expensive carpet with chance of flooding. We had a minor flood when our washer hose broke and saturated about half of a good oriental rug. Rented a powerful wetvac, got all the water we could, then ran a fan. We did have the wet part of the rug suppoted off the floor for air circ, and it was dry within 24 hours. I don't care for Berber because if it snags, a long defect can show up from the pulled thread. The wetvac we used was like using a squeegee on the bare kitchen floor, and saved our new kitchen from water damage. The oriental was in dining room, with fairly new tile floor. I caulked around baseboards after tile was down to keep mop water from damaging baseboards and causing paint to peel - I am glad I had done that, as it helped to contain our "flood".
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I'm an engineer for the world's largest carpet manufacturer. I can tell you that if conventional carpet gets wet and stays wet for any length of time, the latex that binds the carpet together will A) lose its strength and B) mildew. If you have an installation where the carpet is likely to get wet, you would do well to select another type of flooring.
On the other hand, if you think you've eliminated the probability of the floor getting wet, you'll be happy with carpet. That said, if your carpet does get wet, you should rent a carpet cleaner, and run the cleaner (without adding any water or soap) to extract as much of the water as possible. After that, you need to do everything you can to air dry the carpet ASAP - fans, HVAC, space heaters, etc.
As far as Legato goes, it is sold by a competitor. We've looked at manufacturing similar products, but the margins are so bad (at least for the manufacturer) that we have avoided that market segment so far. However, if you like its appearance, Legato might be the product for you. I will add that one of the claimed advantages of carpet tiles (the ability to replace one tile if it gets ruined) really doesn't work that well in practice. As soon as the floor has any wear or dirt on it, a replacement tile will stand out.
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I THINK we have mitigated the problem, but never say never. We have currently set up a preliminary price quote measurement for a short synthetic carpet, that be be able to dried quicker in the event something happens again. I'm also considering to go with indoor/outdoor or industrial (like what you'd find in an office building) carpeting instead. This I believe has a rubber backing, no padding, and can be dried (via vac or heat) with far less risk to damage/mildew than standard carpet. While these alternatives would be less comfortable, I think they would hold up the best and be the least expensive (and still look somewhat decent). I may just be acting too cautiously as 80% of the water came in as a result of an open fireplace flue (dumb dumb dumb). The storm that created it was also one of those that caused tons of flooded basements where owners swear they'e never had water in 20 years (RI).
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Virtually all of today's carpet is synthetic with either Nylon, Polyester, or Polypropylene face fiber and woven polypropylene backings. It is the latex (which binds everything together) that degrades in moisture. Also, wet carpet can mildew, but that's just because the water provides a growth medium for mold.
Commercial carpet is no different. Most (not all) of the products that have built-in pad use latex as a binding agent.
If you're still worried about water, there are products out there with blown foam backings which don't have latex as a binder. A good dealer will be able to find you residential and/or commercial products with that kind of backing. The local big box store won't be much help, I'm afraid...
I'm also considering to go with

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What if I went with an industrial glue down carpet with no padding (like you'd see in an office or retail store)? I know this would not be as comfortable as padded carpet, but this is simply used as a game room, office, and home theater. From what I've read online this would hold up to water, especially if done over with a wet/dry vac afterwards. I also believe these have a rubber backing. I'm really looking to get something that will look better than cement, be cheaper than tile, and hold up in the off chance of water.
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I work in our commercial division. The carpet we make is essentially the same as residential carpet, except the pile is lower and denser and we use latex adhesive that has more adhesive and less filler. Get it wet and the latex still loses strength.
99% of the products don't have a rubber backing, but a good dealer will be able to source foam (what you're calling rubber) backed carpet for you. Again, specify that it can't have any latex adhesive if water is your concern. Personally, I hate using a glue down installation in a residential application. It makes a mess, and pretty much drives you towards a glue down installation the next time and the time after that and the time after that.
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Any kind of barrier on the carpet back, it seems to me, would block normal evaporation from the concrete floor. A foam backing or pad would absorb moisture and dry more slowly, no? Water seeping/running underneath a carpet with backing would not be removeable with wet vac.
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NOT glue down- that stuff rots, and leaves a black powdery residue that is hell to clean up when you or next owner tires of it. This place had that in furnace room that previous owner used as his gun room. (Guns in a damp basement- real bright.) I have been procrastinating the hours with a scraper and dust mask and shop vac getting the crap up.
What I would recommend are the commercial carpet squares, about 2x2 IIRC, with a tacky backing. Laid carefully on a clean surface, they do not move around, but are easy and quick to pull up if there is a flood or one gets damaged, or if you want to rotate them to hide traffic wear patterns. You can often buy used ones dirt cheap at auctions- 50 bucks for a pallet load pulled up at lease end for redecorating. Some damaged ones in the pile, sure, but cheap enough so you can buy a pile and cull the bad into the dumpster as you load them in your truck.
Other cheap alternative would be textured floor paint. (cheap being relative, of course.)
aem sends....
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Hmmmm. Most finished basements I've seen have a vert short un padded carpet down (much like you'd see in an office). These have received water several times over the years and the only thing the owners did was wet/dry vac and everyything appeared fine. I asked them what they used and same have said commercial and some have said indoor/outdoor. I've got to think indoor outdoor that looks like commercial (and not astroturf) exists. This MUST hold up to water, as it can and is used outdoors. While I know having any water is not ideal, if I pick a solution without a pad, it looks like I'll be able to salvage the flooring if this does happen again. The original carpet was never submergered in water, it was more like a puddle in the unfinished portion of the basement spead to the carpet in the finished part, which then absorbed it like a sponge. I never had puddles (the carpet was never submerger, more just soaked), don't know if that will damage less than submersion (although I guess soaked is soaked). This could all be moot as I'm fairly confident I got the source, I just want to take some steps now in the chance it happens again.
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