How to Restore Hardwood Floors That Have Suffered Water Damage
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak explains how to deal with water-damaged hardwood floors.
SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak has been providing water damage restoration and other restoration services to local residents and businesses for over twenty years. Centrally located in Ellis County, the team of specialists can typically respond to a disaster in thirty minutes or less. This fast response is especially important when solid hardwood flooring has suffered water damage.
Hardwood Floors: Beautiful Flooring That Needs Special Attention
The benefits of hardwood flooring are recognized and appreciated throughout the world of interior design and construction. Real hardwood floors are an elegant addition to any home or business, and the options are endless to suit any taste or décor. The solid feel, unique textures, and wide variety of stains make the product useful for virtually any setting. Whether the goal is to achieve a touch of elegance or convey a rustic ambiance, hardwood floors are a great option. Solid hardwood flooring is not only beautiful and durable, but it also adds real value to a home or place of business.
Special attention is required to keep solid hardwood flooring functional and beautiful. Even with the advent of scratch-resistant urethane sealants, hardwood floors need to be kept clean of grit and sand. Throw rugs and runners in high traffic areas keep the floors in pristine condition.
The chief enemy of hardwood flooring is water. Excessive amounts of water left puddled on the floor can cause serious damage. By immediately wiping up spills and by staying vigilant for water leaks and water damage, homeowners can prevent their flooring from being permanently damaged.
Main Causes of Water Damage to Hardwood Floors
Hardwood flooring is very popular in kitchens and adjacent rooms such as a laundry room, den, or great room. To maintain design continuity, hardwood flooring is an option sometimes selected for bathroom flooring.
However, a burst water supply line to the refrigerator, dishwasher or washing machine can spew seven to ten gallons of water per minute, dumping hundreds of gallons of water per hour onto the beautiful hardwood flooring. A slow leak from a water heater or leaky pipe may go unnoticed for days or even weeks, causing serious damage to the flooring.
The bathroom is the wettest room in a home. On a daily basis, water is sprinkled, splashed, and poured onto the flooring, and condensation from showers or baths collects on bathroom walls and floors. In addition, a toilet overflow on hardwood flooring can create a biohazard. In any case, watching out for water damage is vital to maintaining the beauty and usefulness of hardwood flooring.
Four Signs of Water-Damaged Hardwood Flooring
Since water is the number one enemy of hardwood flooring, homeowners need to be able to recognize the telltale signs of water damage to their floors.
#1. Discoloration and stains appear on the flooring.
Excessive and unchecked water and moisture will leave stains on the flooring. Over time, the moisture will damage the urethane coating and discolor the stain. Puddle-shaped stains on the floor indicate a high-spill zone or the presence of an intermittent leak.
#2. The flooring is soft and squishy underfoot.
Moisture can collect under the flooring and be absorbed by padding. If the padding is non-absorbent, the water can be absorbed by the flooring, causing the floor to swell. The water-logged material will feel soft underfoot and may even make noises when pressure is applied. If left unaddressed, the subflooring can warp and rot.
#3. A musty, moldy smell is detected.
A musty, moldy smell with no obvious source may indicate the presence of water or moisture under the hardwood flooring. The smell may indicate a mold infestation, dry rot, or stagnant water.
#4. Warping, bubbling, or peeling wood is a prominent sign of water damage.
When water or moisture saturates hardwood floors, a form of warping called cupping occurs on the individual boards. Cupping occurs when the unfinished underside of the flooring absorbs more water than the top finished portion. The water-logged underside expands more than the top, resulting in a cup-shaped warp.
The good news is that the flooring is not ruined unless the boards separate from the subfloor and pull up the fasteners used to secure the boards to the subfloor. At that point, the only solution is to tear out and replace the wood.
Do not sand the hardwood flooring while it is warped and cupped. Once the flooring is entirely dried out, the cupping will all but disappear. Sanding a floor before it is fully dried may result in crowning, which is the opposite effect of cupping.
What to Do When Hardwood Flooring Suffers Water Damage
Act fast to prevent advanced secondary water damage when a hardwood floor suffers water damage. If the spill is small and manageable, immediately mop up the excess water to prevent further seepage under the flooring where the unfinished portion of the boards can absorb the moisture and become warped.
Call in professionals who have the training, expertise, and equipment to quickly and thoroughly remove water and moisture from the flooring. SERVPRO technicians extract water from under hardwood flooring using special equipment and strong vacuums designed to remove excess water from the flooring. Industrial-grade fans and dehumidifiers complete the drying process. Within a day or two, the floor is completely dry, and life can return to normal. SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak can handle the entire project from start to finish, even if the floor needs to be removed and replaced. The staff at SERVPRO is accustomed to working with the insurance company in order to eliminate stress for the homeowner.