Hard Wood Floor Water Damage and Repair. What Pros Say
Hardwood floor damage is a very common issue in a home or business. The typical cause for the damage is water. The amount of water does not matter. It could be a minimal amount from a cup that drops, a slow leak through a crack, to a large leak caused by a burst pipe.
Hard Wood Floor Water Damage and Repair:
The first step you should always start with is removing the water as soon as possible. When the water is gone, dry the hardwood floor. Assess the damage, and make repairs if needed. Resurface the entire floor, so it looks cohesive and has the same color and texture.
As a professional, I understand that dealing with water damage can be intimidating. If you have hardwood floors that are water damaged, it advises you to act as soon as possible. The faster you remove the water and dry the floors, the sooner you can make your repairs. Water damage is more common than most people realize, and with the right knowledge and tools, you can repair the damage and make your floors look great.
- 1 Signs of Water Damage On Hardwood Floors
- 2 How Do I Know If My Hardwood Floor Is Water Damaged?
- 3 Can Water Damaged Hardwood Floors Be Sanded?
- 4 How Do You Fix Water Damaged Hardwood Floors?
Signs of Water Damage On Hardwood Floors
If you think your floor may have water damage, there are some signs to watch out for. Some of these signs are obvious, and others are hard to notice. You may see all or some of these problems if your hardwood floor is damaged by water.
● Bad Odors
Before you see the water damage on a hardwood floor, you may smell it. Although it can take some time for the damage to become apparent, you may notice a bad or musty odor in the room. This could mean that your floor is wet or has been and is now damaged. The odor often becomes stronger as the damage becomes more severe. If you do not notice anything wrong on the top of the floor, it could be damage to the bottom and subfloor.
Cupping occurs when the edges of the floor become higher than the center. The water in the room or the extra moisture makes the wooden boards swell and pushes them together. They are pressed against the wall as they swell and have no place to go but up. Cupping can occur with other signs of water damage as well.
Buckling happens when the floor planks spread apart or become higher in the center and lower around the edges. This is common if water has pooled in the center of the floor or if it has reached the subfloor and caused it to become weak or broken.
● Mold Growth
If you notice mold growing on your floors or in a room in your home, it could mean that there has been a water leak. This also means there’s a possibility your floors may be damaged as well. If you do see signs of mold growth, you should not try to repair the floor. Instead, you should call a qualified mold remediation team to remove it safely.
● Wet Spots
You may be walking through a room and stepping on a spot on the floor that feels soft and wet. It could gush water or even have a puddle near it. Some leaks occur under the floor and aren’t noticed until the water makes its way to the surface. When you press the flooring down, it makes it easier for the water to get through.
● Weak Spots
Weak spots can occur if water has leaked on your flooring or pooled in certain areas. You may have one large area where you feel the floor is weak, or you may feel several small weak spots. If your floor is weak, you will feel it give out as you try to walk on it. Even if the wood flooring feels hard, your subfloor could feel soft.
How Do I Know If My Hardwood Floor Is Water Damaged?
Sometimes it is easy to look at a hardwood floor and tell if it has water damage. Other times, the water dries up before you realize there has been a flood or leak. You might not even think to check it out. Here are some ways to know if your hardwood floor is water damaged.
● Look For Standing Water
If you find standing water in your home, there is always a chance the floor could be damaged. The sooner you remove the water, the less severe the damage will be. If you are trying to determine if your floors are damaged, you will want to clean up the water, dry the floor, and assess the areas for damage.
● Check For Leaks
If you suspect a leak in your home, you should check the pipes and appliances. If you find a leak, you will want to inspect the floor nearby. If the water has been leaking for a while, the wood flooring is probably damaged around it.
● Look For Staining
You may notice that your floor changes colors after a spill or flood. This standing could be a sign of water damage. If the staining is a light color, it may not be severe. If you notice dark or black stains on your wood floors, it could mean the water damage has become worse.
● Look For Physical Signs
If you are worried that your wood floor could have water damage, look for any physical signs. Check to see if your floor has soft spots or mold present. Look around for signs of cupping or buckling. If you see anything wrong with your floor, then it is likely water damaged.
Can Water Damaged Hardwood Floors Be Sanded?
In general, water-damaged hardwood floors can be sanded. But sanding isn’t always the best option. Before you opt to sand the hardwood floor, it’s a good idea to inspect them to determine the severity of the damage. If your floor is simply stained and needs to be sanded before it can be refinished, then sanding can be an excellent solution. If you notice some cupping, but it isn’t too severe, you may be able to sand down the edges to make the floor even.
Never attempt to sand the floor if it feels weak or soft to touch. This is a sign that the floor’s structure is damaged and will need to be replaced. Sanding is only an option for surface damage.
How Do You Fix Water Damaged Hardwood Floors?
Finding out your wood floor has been damaged by water can be stressful. You may not know where to turn or what to do. I usually advise homeowners to stay calm and use the following steps to deal with the problem:
● Step 1: Find The Leak
The most important thing to do is find the cause of the flooding or leak and take care of it. As long as the water continues to leak onto the floor, you won’t be able to assess the damage or make repairs.
● Step 2: Clean Up The Water
You will need to remove the water completely. You can do this with towels or a mop. If the floor is completely flooded, you may need to use a sump pump to remove large amounts of water quickly. Cleaning up the water also means cleaning the floor. Even if the leaking or flooded water doesn’t appear to be dirty, it could contain microbes and germs that could lead to mold or fungi growth and be a hazard to the health of your family.
● Step 3 Dry The Floor Thoroughly
Once the water has been removed, allow the floors to dry completely. You want to ventilate the room as much as possible to remove the moisture and reduce mold growth. Open the windows if possible and use a fan to keep the air circulating. If the floors are very wet, you might need to buy or rent commercial fans and drying equipment to help remove the moisture faster and prevent more damage.
● Step 4: Assess The Damage
Once the floors are clean and dry, take some time to check out the area and the flooring. Look for signs of damage and weak spots. You may find that only a small section of the floor has water damage. I always recommend checking for mold damage during this step too. You also have the option of having a professional handle this part as well. Mold can be dangerous, and if you aren’t sure how to remove it safely, you are better off leaving it to the professionals.
● Step 5: Make The Necessary Repairs
When you know what parts of your floor are damaged and how severe the damage is, you can start to make the repairs. You will want to cut out and remove the damaged wood floor panels and any damaged subfloor. It may be easier to replace large subfloor sections rather than cutting out small sections. The wood flooring should be easy to replace in panels or strips.
● Step 6: Resurface The Entire Floor
Whether you need to replace the entire floor or a small section, you will still want to resurface it all. This will ensure that the entire floor looks cohesive and is the same color and texture. It will prevent uneven spots, discoloration, and streaking and allow the new parts of the floor to blend with the old parts.
Finding your floor flooded or seeing signs of wood floor damage can be scary. Wood flooring is expensive, and if you have it in your home, you expect it to last a long time. The good news is, if you do find water damage, there is a good chance you will be able to repair it and have it look good as new in no time. If you suspect your floors may be water damaged, be sure to keep the above points in mind.