How to Restore Hardwood Floors After Water Damage
As in all water-related property damage, TIME is of the essence. Floors are at a greater risk for permanent water damage and mold growth if you don’t take care of water or moisture immediately. Hardwood flooring will absorb moisture quickly due to its density. Besides rapid response time, successful hardwood floor water damage repair depends on the type of flooring, wood, and finish, method of installation, amount of moisture, and replacement value.
For hardwood floor water damage restoration, consider hiring a professional disaster restoration company. They have the necessary knowledge and expertise and use specialized equipment for efficient drying. The specialized drying equipment is crucial in making sure floors are dried in time and to the correct moisture levels. However, if you want to repair hardwood floor water damage yourself, check out the tips below.
How to Repair Hardwood Floors
- Wear protective gear such as gloves, rubber boots, and a mask.
- Stop the flow of water!
- Turn off the power to the affected room until the water has been removed.
- Assess the damages before you begin the restoration to determine whether to clean up or replace the floor. Take photos, list damaged items, and show them to your insurance company.
- Remove any items (carpet, furniture, etc.) from the floor and take them to a dry area.
- Open windows and doors to allow moisture to evaporate more quickly.
- Start removing the excess water with a wet/dry vacuum cleaner or with mops. Anything to remove water is ideal. If the water level is deep, use a sump pump to drain the water. Asking someone to help you can finish the task faster and avoid further damage.
- Use dehumidifiers, heaters, and fans to speed up the drying process. Place them evenly spaced out in the flooded area. Direct the fans towards the floor’s surface or wet areas.
- Clean any debris from the floor with a non-abrasive brush and detergent while the heaters, fans, and dehumidifiers are running. Rinse the floor with clean water and continue to dry the floor.
- Using a sanitizer to eliminate any bacteria growth is recommended.
When dealing with a flooded hardwood floor, YOU must act quickly to save your floor from permanent damage and mold growth. Contact a professional flood remediation company, such as Pursuit Restoration, that can quickly mitigate the damage and implement the best course of action. Also, this could help learn how to avoid hardwood flooring water damage in the future.
What Type of Flooring is Installed?
Inspection is always crucial when starting to repair any hardwood floor that has water damage. Hardwood flooring comes in a variety of species, such as oak, pine, maple, and cherry. More and more exotic species are being used in flooring. Every type can expect different challenges in the drying process because of the varying levels of moisture absorption.
There are also varieties of flooring that look like wood but are not. These floors will sometimes have a laminate on the surface and a particle board substructure. When moisture gets beneath these floors, drying is nearly impossible. The inability to dry these surfaces is due to moisture being trapped under the laminate, which acts as a vapor barrier. For more help, call Pursuit Restoration to help you evaluate your flooring’s type and condition.
Professionals will also assess the initial installation method of the hardwood flooring. Original installation may be nailed, glued or installed in a floating method.
- When nailed floors have suffered from water damage, the nails may lift.
- If the floor has been glued onto the substrate, the moisture may release the glue.
- In the case of a floating type floor, it may not be true wood and may be a laminated product. Tongue and groove hardwood flooring may “cup” after absorbing moisture.
Patience in Drying Hardwood Floors
Once the technicians have determined the wood floor type and installation method, drying can begin. Using surface and/or subsurface drying methods and proper dehumidification, technicians can force airflow beneath the surface of the floor (in a positive or negative manner) to remove this moisture. It may also be necessary to access the floor from below for faster drying. Specialized equipment using drying mats can be placed to pull moisture from the ends of the hardwood floors. Hardwood typically has flutes that allow water or air flow to move in a parallel direction with the hardwood.
Effective drying of a hardwood floor is a slow process. It will sometimes take 7 to 10 days for the floor to release enough water to complete the forced drying process. Removing all the absorbed water from the floor can be costly, but very inexpensive compared to replacement.
The hardwood drying continues until the wood’s moisture levels reach the floor’s dry standard. At this point, nature will acclimate the floors to the atmospheric conditions they are installed in. Education in this process is key for a successful job. Let the restoration professionals at Pursuit Restoration help you dry your hardwood floor properly.
Repairing the Finish
Once the hardwood floor is dry, there may still be damage to the floor finish. Finishes, such as waxes and polyurethane, may inhibit the evaporation of the absorbed moisture. They will sometimes have to be removed in the drying process to allow for moisture removal.
If the hardwood floor cups slightly, the finish may check and crack due to the movement of the wood product. This is a normal part of the drying process. Once the floor is completely dry, the floor can be refinished once it has acclimated. The acclimation process can take up to a few months.
Hardwood floor drying is a specialty. Our restoration professionals have the knowledge to properly evaluate the many types of floors and have specialized equipment to repair hardwood floor water damage.