Water damage is one of the biggest fears of homeowners everywhere because of the risk it poses to nearly everything in the home. For example, when not handled properly, damaged wood floors can warp, develop mold, and drastically lower the value of your property
The good news is that there are ways to minimize the water damage to your wood floors.
If you do have a large spill, a leaky roof or, even a burst pipe in your home, there are ways to mitigate the harm done and maybe prevent a potential disaster from happening. Start by following these simple steps:
Find the Water Source
Obviously, before you can swoop in to save the day, you’ll need to find the source of the issue. It’s important to assess your water damage in order to plan your clean up. Look for leaking, burst pipes, weak spots in your roof, and repair the damage as much as you can before getting underway. After all, you won’t be able to do much to limit water damage while water is still rushing in.
Once you’ve found the culprit, it’s time for damage control.
Remove Wet Objects
Before tending to the floor, you’ll want to remove any and all wet objects from the area and transfer them to a safe place to dry out. Not only will this help save precious items such as furniture and rugs, it’ll limit the amount of water that saturates your floors. If left unattended, an item such as a soaked-through rug could cause potentially irreparable damage to your wood floors, so be sure to clear those objects as quickly as possible.
Dry Your Floors
Now it’s time to bring your attention to the wooden floors you’re trying to save. Using whatever you can, dry the floors as much as possible. If you have a wet-vac at your disposal this will do a thorough job, but any mix of towels and rags can be used as well.
If you still notice a few damp spots, don’t worry too much. You’ll be doing more drying down the road, so you don’t need to have completely dry flooring at this point. And of course, once you’ve used your rags and towels, set them aside somewhere safe and dry.
Clean Your Floors
You might be scratching your head right now and wondering, if you’re trying to prevent water damage, why would you add more water to your floors by cleaning them? Well, when dealing with water damage to wooden floors, water is not the only material that you have to watch out for.
Depending on the source, there’s likely to be silt, mud, or other general organic materials along with your unwanted moisture. Scrubbing your floors gets rid of these impurities and can prevent permanent damage to your flooring.
Dry As Much As You Can
Once you’ve cleared, dried, and cleaned your floors, you’ll need to dry your floors once again. This time, you’ll want to get them as dry as possible. Continue to wipe the floors with whatever you can. If you have a dehumidifier, you’ll want to bring that out as well.
Set up as many fans as you can and keep them running in the affected area. Open your windows to ensure ventilation throughout the home. The more moving air you can create, the faster the floors will dry, and the less likely you are to face any severe damage to the wood.
At this point, you’ve done just about all you can to prevent damage to your wood floors. All that’s left is to make sure there’s no damage that requires calling in the professionals.
Look For Mold
Outside of checking for obvious deformity in the floors themselves, the most important sign to look for is the presence of mold. If mold has set in, you’ll need to take care of it right away in order to prevent the mold from spreading and becoming a bigger issue. Check the area carefully for visible mold either on the wood or in the pores of the grain.
You’ll want to keep your fans and dehumidifiers running throughout this entire process—mold loves moisture, so anything you can do to make your floors as dry and inhospitable to spore growth as possible will save you headaches down the line.
Once you’ve determined you are mold free, then you’ve successfully saved your wood floors! Depending on the water source, you may want to bring someone in to ensure the flooding doesn’t reoccur. Remember, stay dry out there, but if you ever are in the unfortunate situation of facing a water damage issue in your own home, all is not lost. You can still save your floors with immediate action and if necessary, help from professionals.