There is nothing more frustrating than noticing water damage on wood floors. People tend to install wood flooring in their homes due to their reliability, strength and longevity. However, the evil combatant to wood floors is water – and the damage it produces. But don’t fret, repairing water damage on wooden flooring is actually not as hard as it might seem. In fact, there are three simple steps that even the novice home owner can complete to begin the repair process.
1: Stop The Source Of The Water Leak & Remove Standing Water
If the wood floors were damaged by water, whether it was flood damage, broken water pipes inside your home or if the water heater broke, the first step in repairing the wood flooring after the leak is stopped or fixed is to remove any standing water, inspect the damage and create a plan of attack. In order to make sure the wood flooring is dried, you should use the following tools to help expedite the process:
- Open any windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter the structure and discourage the growth of any bacteria or microorganisms
- Make sure there are no electrical shock hazards that present itself if there is standing water, remove any unnecessary extension cords, etc., and remove any furniture and contents to expose the entire floor
- Use towels and/or a wet/dry shop-vac to initially soak up any standing water and prevent any secondary damage as required on your insurance policy
2: Inspect The Damage
Once you’ve extracted the initial standing water on your wood flooring, the next step in repair is to verify the extent of the wetness and diagnose what damage has been completed. The best way to complete this is to consider the rules of ‘Ups’.
- Determine the actual type of wood flooring- laminate, engineered, or solid wood.
- Determine the Category of the leak (Category 1, 2, or 3). This is a key step in determining if your flooring and any other materials can be salvaged based on the contamination level from the source of the leak.
- Determine the extent of the wetness using a combination of a thermal camera and a moisture meter. Although you may think all of the water has been removed, it is very likely that water has traveled underneath the floor and there is moisture that cannot be seen by the eye, which is why it is so important to use proper equipment to determine this (I think that sentence needs to be re-worded)
- Determine the drying type, often times engineered or solid wood flooring can be dried in place and can be saved. Wood is a very resilient product, and if treated correctly can be saved. Systems such as Injectidry used in conjunction with dehumidifiers can remove moisture from under the flooring are extremely successful in drying out the flooring and removing the cupping that is often visually seen. This process may take anywhere from 3-5 days, it is important that the floor be dried down to about 8-12% wood moisture content to make sure the flooring is dried and no microbial growth will occur.
- If you notice that your wood flooring has lifted ‘UP’ and has separated from the subfloor, you should be able to replace the specific areas that are damaged.
- If you notice stains inside your wood caused by water damage, you’ll want to have a professional wood floor repair expert come in to see how much work will be required. Traditionally the process to repair stained wood includes, sanding the wood to bare status, and then you’ll be in a position to re-stain the wood.
The key to remember here is that if the wood flooring looks to be ‘UP’ or separating itself from the base floor, you’ll most likely need to contact a professional to complete the task – if you’re not completely experienced in this profession.
3: Consider Contacting a Water Restoration Expert First
One way to ease the stress, save time and money is to contact a water restoration expert as soon as the water damage occurs. They will know the proper ways of drying the wood flooring, inspecting it for damage and provide affordable solutions to ensure the repairs are completed on time and within your budget. They will also put the safety of you and your family on their priority list.
Sometimes taking on DIY projects is a great way to stimulate your creative side and even to save a little bit of money. But when it comes to repairing water damage on wood floors, it’s always recommended to contact a professional that knows how to handle hardwood floors that have been exposed to water– if for no other reason than to know what your options are in your specific situation.