How to Save a Water-Damaged Wood Floor

June 22, 2021 2:36 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Water and wood are not a winning combination. When your home floods, your hardwood floors are bound to suffer. Sometimes a floor is too far gone to fix, but if the damage is less severe, you may be able to get away with hardwood flooring repair. Here are some tips you can use to save your water-damaged wood flooring.

Removing the water

The faster you can get the water off your floors, the better—wood’s cellulose fibers soak up water very quickly. Unfortunately, it’s a lot slower to dry. No matter how sturdy the floors and finish are, water can easily soak between joints, between seams, where the baseboards meet the floor and more.

On top of water damage, there’s one more problem you’ll have to watch out for: mold and mildew, which thrive in a combination of water and dirt. To prevent mold and mildew, you’ll need to remove both water and dirt from your floors.

First, use a shop vacuum to remove as much water as you can from the floors. The “wet mode” and a wide flooring attachment will make quicker work of this task. Squeegees can help “scoop” the water up as the shop vac sucks it up.

Cleaning, drying and fixing the floors

Next, you’ll need to clean the floor with soap and a mild disinfectant. Grab a stiff brush and scrub down all the wooden components, including the baseboards, posts and stairs. Do not pour the cleaning solution onto the floor. Dip your brush into it and then scrub the wood. The more dirt and organic material you remove, the less likely mold will grow.

After you scrub the floors down thoroughly, you can go back and treat any moldy areas that remain. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) or TSP substitutes can be mixed with water and applied to mold and mildew. Scrub the areas with the solution, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly.

Now it’s time to dry the floors. Open the doors and windows and use fans to increase circulation. Let it dry slowly and steadily to avoid cracking.

Once the floor is completely dry, you may find you have some concave or convex floorboards. This is called cupping, and minor cupping can be addressed with an orbital sander. If the boards lift up completely at the ends, you’ll need to nail them down.

Finally, after drying and sanding, you can recoat your hardwood floors to make them look new once more.

What if my flooring is ruined?

Sometimes you won’t be able to rescue your wood flooring from water damage. If that’s the case, you will need to rip up the flooring—sometimes architectural salvage yards will take the boards. Then you can either replace them with fresh hardwood flooring, or opt for a less expensive option, such as laminate or engineered hardwood.

If hardwood flooring repair isn’t in the cards, stop by The Wholesale House to check out new flooring materials. We’ll be happy to introduce you to your next new floor.

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