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, water damaged hardwood 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.
How Long Does It Take for Water To Damage Wood Floors?
This really depends on where the water damage is located. The top of the boards is usually treated to help avoid this, particularly if you’re dealing with a small spill. However, a large volume of water will seep in between the boards and get underneath. The untreated areas of the boards will absorb water and expand.
Ideally, if you have a major water disaster such as a flood, leak, or burst pipe, you should call a professional water damage mitigation team within 24 hours.
How to Minimize and Repair 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 damage to your hardwood floor. This drying process will help you avoid water damaged flooring!
1. Find the Water Source
Before you can start drying anything out, you need to cut off the source. Look for leaking, burst pipes, weak spots in your roof, and repair the damage as much as you can before starting cleanup. After all, you won’t be able to do much to limit water damage while water is still rushing in.
2. Remove Wet Objects And Dry Floors
Next, you need to move any and all wet objects to a safe place to dry out. Not only will this help save items such as furniture and rugs, it’ll limit the amount of water that saturates your floors. If left unattended, a soaked rug could cause potentially irreparable damage to your wood floors.
Next, using whatever you have, remove as much standing water from the floors as possible. A wet-vac will work best, but laying down towels and rags will help quite a bit. The floor will be completely dried later, the main goal is to remove the standing water. This part does not have to be perfect.
3. Clean Your Floors
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 might be silt, mud, or other organic materials along with your unwanted moisture. Scrubbing your floors gets rid of these impurities and can prevent permanent damage to your flooring.
4. Dry As Much As You Can
Once you’ve cleared, dried, and cleaned your floors, you’ll need to dry your floors once again. Continue to wipe the floors with whatever you can. Removing water from everywhere, including underneath cabinets or appliances, is vital to saving your wood floors.
A moisture meter will check to make sure that the floors are completely dried. If you have a dehumidifier, that will help remove quite a bit of excess moisture.
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.
5. 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 growth 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.
Depending on the water source, you may want to bring someone in to ensure the flooding doesn’t recur. Remember, if you ever are facing a water damage issue in your own home, all is not lost. You can still save wood floors with immediate action and if necessary, help from professionals.