Repair & Care
Water Damaged Hardwood Floors
Damage often happens near entry ways or foyers. Hardwood floors for the most part have been affected by rain water that has been lashing at the front door for an extended period of time. It is not necessarily the door, but the threshold that may have failed to keep moisture out. Older building materials often break down allowing water to seep on or under the floor.
Before any flooring replacement is considered the area must dry out. This must include removal of the threshold to check for rotten wood or caulking seals that may have disintegrated. Also with the constant abuse thresholds receive, fasteners may begin to loosen with daily foot traffic. Once one loosens, the whole integrity of the threshold can be lost.
Other areas that receive complaints from damage often are plumbing lines that lead to water sources. Rain runoff from the property should also be considered along with other preventive tips you can find on our pages that deal with moisture control.
The Biggest Question Is Always, Can It Be Saved?
Much depends on the amount of that has affected the areas. Overnight or temporary standing water may allow floors to return to their original state as long as proper drying times are allowed. With excessive flooding, a call to water extraction professionals should be given high priority. Not only will these professionals remove water but install industrial fans that will speed up the drying out process. Dehumidifiers are also helpful and should be used below the subfloor in basements if applicable. This will help facilitate drying of the subfloor if the amount of is excessive.
The longer a water damaged floor is left unattended the increased likelihood of mold growth. With the increased awareness of mold related illnesses (some say the asbestos issue of the 21st century) today, it becomes imperative a mold detection expert be called in if you desire indoor air quality.
But Can My Floor Be Saved?
Only time will tell. One thing you do not want to do is have the floor refinished once you think it may be dry. This common mistake does not repair the problem, it often worsens it. It is also best to consult with an experienced floor finisher who can better asses your issue on a visit. Properly drying out a hardwood floor may take a few weeks to two months. The larger fans will not be needed for the duration however. The longer drying period is necessary to remove moisture from underneath the flooring. The moisture from underneath is the primary reason for the rippling effect you may see, or what is often termed cupping seen above.
For older homes or floors that look as they may have been subjected to long term damage a check of the subfloor from below may also be a good idea to look into. Damage to the subfloor would be dependent on several factors, but checking for mold growth should also be considered.