Water Damage On Baseboards. Tips From Professionals
Sometimes only certain parts of a room or home get damaged in a flood or leak. The baseboards may get stained or swell up if they absorb too much water. It’s usually easy to recognize water damage on baseboards, but they can be tricky to repair. If you aren’t sure if you want to replace them, repairing them is the only other option. If you are unable to repair them or if they are too damaged to be repaired, you may need to replace them instead.
Water Damage On Baseboards
If the damage is limited, first clean the baseboards. Sand parts that are swelling. If the baseboard is level, use a suitable primer. When the primer has been added and is dry, you can start painting. If the baseboard is used in a more moist area, use a suitable sealer.
This blog post will further show how to fix a water-damaged baseboard. I will also show how to cover up water stains on a baseboard and how to fix swollen baseboards.
- 1 Water Damage On Baseboards
- 2 How to Repair a Water Damaged Baseboard
- 3 How To Cover Up Water Stains On Baseboards
- 4 Brown Spots On Baseboards
- 5 Water Damage Baseboard Bathroom
- 5.1 ● Step 1: Remove The Old Baseboards
- 5.2 ● Step 2: Check For Mold
- 5.3 ● Step 3: Remove Nails
- 5.4 ● Step 4: Cut The New Baseboards To Size
- 5.5 ● Step 5: Install The New Baseboards
- 5.6 MDF Baseboard Water Damage
- 5.7 How To Fix Swollen Baseboards
- 5.8 ● Step 1: Fix the Leak and Dry the Baseboards
- 5.9 ● Step 2: Sand The Baseboard
- 5.10 ● Step 3: Paint Them
- 6 Baseboard Pulling From Wall Moisture
- 7 Water Coming From Baseboard When It Rains
- 8 Baseboard Swelling
Water Damage On Baseboards
If you notice that your baseboards are damaged and you are thinking about repairing them or replacing them, it’s always best to assess the damage and be sure you can handle the project on your own. If you need help or aren’t handy, it may be better to call a handyman or a professional to make the repairs for you. If you are confident that you can make the repairs on your own, be sure to consider these tips from professionals.
How to Repair a Water Damaged Baseboard
If your home has flooded or if there has been a leak, you may notice that your baseboards are damaged. You have the option of replacing them or repairing them. If the damage is large, replacing is probably the best option. If the damage is less extended, you can use the following steps to fix the baseboards:
● Step 1: Clean The Baseboards
The first step before starting with the repair is to clean off your baseboards. There may be dust, dirt, grime, or residue on them. Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe them down. If they need a deeper clean, you can use dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner.
● Step 2: Sand Them
If the boards show any signs of swelling, you will need to sand them down to make them even. Be sure to sand carefully, so you do not take off too much or affect the not swollen areas. You will also want to wipe down the baseboards one more time after you have sanded them, to remove the dust from the sanding process.
● Step 3: Apply Primer
If your baseboards are damaged, they may show signs of staining. You can cover the stains and make it easier for the paint to stick to the baseboards. You may need to apply more than one coat if there was significant staining or if a lot of sanding was required.
● Step 4: Paint
Paint or stain your baseboards the desired color. You should apply one coat at a time and let it dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.
● Step 5: Seal It
If you are repairing the baseboards in a room with a lot of moisture, such as a bathroom or laundry room, you may want to apply a water-repellent or sealant to help keep the water out of the baseboard so it will not swell or absorb moisture in the air.
How To Cover Up Water Stains On Baseboards
If you aren’t ready to replace your baseboards, or if only a small section is stained with water, you may prefer to cover them up. Follow these steps to get the best results.
● Step 1: Clean The Baseboards
Your baseboards may have dust and dirt sticking to them and will need to be wiped down. Use a damp cloth to wipe all baseboards’ areas and allow them to dry completely.
● Step 2: Primer
Using a primer will help prevent the stains from bleeding through after you paint. Make sure you apply the primer and allow it to dry completely. If you can still see the stains or if they are very dark, you can add a second layer of primer.
● Step 3: Paint
Paint the baseboards the desired color. The primer should make it easy to cover up the stains and hide them. If you can still see the stains faintly, you may need to add another coat or choose a dark color paint.
Brown Spots On Baseboards
If you see brown spots on your baseboards, it could be a sign of water damage. Many things can allow water to leak onto your baseboards and stain them. Some of those things include,
- Leaking windows
- Leaking roof
- Air conditioner leaks
- Busted pipes
- Leaking fish tanks
- Leaking sinks
- Overflowing toilets
Water Damage Baseboard Bathroom
If you notice the baseboards in your bathroom are water damaged, you can either fix or replace them. Generally, bathrooms hold a lot of moisture and are likely to leak. Follow these steps to replace them properly:
● Step 1: Remove The Old Baseboards
Remove the old baseboards from the bathroom. If you are planning to replace all the baseboards, you can remove them all. If you are going to replace only the damaged ones, you will need to find replacements that match them.
● Step 2: Check For Mold
While you have the baseboards removed, you should check for signs of mold. Mold can grow in bathrooms due to moisture and flooding. If you find mold, you will need to have a mold remediation expert remove it for you before you can continue your repairs.
● Step 3: Remove Nails
If any nails or staples are sticking out that held the old baseboards in place, you will need to remove them or pound them flat. This will make it easier to install the new baseboards.
● Step 4: Cut The New Baseboards To Size
Measure and cut your new baseboards. You want each piece to fit closely to the next without any gaps. If you are only replacing a small section of the baseboard, you may only need to cut out a small piece and measure to replace it properly.
● Step 5: Install The New Baseboards
Use a nail gun or a rubber mallet and small nails to install the new baseboards. Gently tap them into place. Please make sure they are straight and even when you finish. You can paint over the nails or putty them and then paint them to hide them better.
MDF Baseboard Water Damage
MDF baseboards are more vulnerable to water damage than solid wood baseboards. MDF is a type of particle board that can swell and breaks down when it gets wet. Signs for MDF baseboard water damage include,
- Broken baseboards
- Swollen baseboards
- Stains on the baseboards
- Loose baseboards
- Damp baseboards
How To Fix Swollen Baseboards
If you notice your baseboards are swollen and feel that you can repair them rather than replace them, be sure to follow these steps:
● Step 1: Fix the Leak and Dry the Baseboards
You can’t work on wet baseboards, so make sure the source of the leak or water damage is repaired. Next, use a towel or fan to dry the baseboards completely.
To speed up the drying process, you can use a dehumidifier. I always recommend renting a commercial dehumidifier, they can remove a lot more water per hour than a residential dehumidifier. A dehumidifier pulls in the moisture from the air and dries it out to release dry air back into the room. When used with a fan, this can be highly effective at drying out the drywall quickly.
● Step 2: Sand The Baseboard
Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand down the baseboards. Focus on the swollen part and work gently to bring the swollen portion to the same level as the rest of the baseboards. Be careful not to sand too hard or too much, as you could sand it down too far or sand the other baseboard parts that don’t need it. Be sure to sweep and wipe down the baseboards once you have finished sanding to remove the dust that may have spread while you were sanding.
● Step 3: Paint Them
Once you have sanded down the baseboards, you will need to paint them or stain them. You can touch up the paint or cover the entire baseboard to ensure the paint blends in well.
Baseboard Pulling From Wall Moisture
Most walls have moisture, and if there is a leak in your home or a lot of humidity, there may be excess water moisture in your walls. Your baseboards may pull this extra moisture from your walls. You can look for these signs
- Swollen baseboards
- Baseboards falling off the wall
- Wet spots on baseboards
- Stain on the baseboards
- Condensation on baseboards
- Water dripping from baseboards
If you see these signs, I recommend carefully checking for a leak. If the issue is due to high humidity only, try to do something about this. Generally, better ventilation will be beneficial. If the humidity is high during long periods, use a dehumidifier or air conditioning system.
Water Coming From Baseboard When It Rains
If you notice there is water coming from your baseboards when it rains, it means you have a leak somewhere. Check for a leak near the windows or at the bottom of the wall. If you don’t find any leaks on the ground or windows, your roof could be the culprit. Sometimes rainwater can leak down into the roof and behind the walls, and from there, it may run out through your baseboards. This can lead to more water damage to other parts of your home.
Any time you see water coming through your baseboards, you should immediately look for a leak in your home. But if the leak is small, it may take a short while to be visible. And if it does not rain for long, it can even be dry outside.
If you notice your baseboards swelling and are looking for a way to prevent it from happening again, there are a few different things you can do. Here are some of them:
- Windows: Make sure all windows are secure and sealed
- Appliances: Check appliances for signs of leaks
- Pipes: Check pipes and fixtures for leaks
- Clean up: Clean up water in the bathroom immediately
- Dry: Dry flooded areas quickly
- Moisture: Reduce moisture in your home. Improve ventilation, or use a dehumidifier or air conditioning system.