If your luxurious hardwood floors have been doused with water, you immediately wonder if they have been damaged beyond repair. Have they been ruined forever? A little water could mar the finish or leave a dark stain. When large amounts of water are absorbed, the porous planks swell.
Normal moisture content in hardwood flooring usually ranges between 6 and 12 percent, but soaked planks might get up to 40%. When floors get this wet, the structure of the wood cells can be damaged. Several other factors can affect your prospects:
If the water intrusion is less than a few hours, you may be able to clean up the spill with a mop and some towels. If you are lucky, a box fan will remove the remaining humidity.
However, if the water sat longer on the surface, moisture would have soaked into the pores of the wood. The first 24 hours are critical, and the longer the wood is in contact with water, the worse the damage will be. Water might spread to the baseboards and up the walls, causing even more damage.
And after 48 hours, you need to be concerned with mold. Airborne spores will flourish when organic food sources (wood and sheetrock) remain damp. And then mold can drift into your HVAC system and spread throughout the home.
Another aspect that determines whether you can repair your floors or not is the type of water that got on the floors. Clean water from your sink, faucet, bathtub, shower doesn’t contain dangerous material. If you can quickly remove the water and dry out all the moisture, you might only have to replace small, damaged areas.
Greywater describes wastewater containing bleach, detergents, or food particles. Even originally clean water can turn into greywater over time. The restoration crew will mitigate potential damage when they repair the area.
Dangerous “blackwater” contains harmful bacteria from contaminated sources such as overflowing toilets, backed-up sewage systems, nearby streams, etc. Exposure to blackwater usually requires a new installation rather than repairs.
Even if the problem was caused by “clean” water, you need to watch out for signs of permanent floor damage. When boards are forced together by built-up moisture, it results in “cupping” or “crowning.” This lumpy, wavy floor looks and feels uneven.
Maybe the damage shows in the coloring (or lack of.) Whitish circles, which indicate mild damage that could be addressed with repairs and refinishing. However, dark black stains indicate more water was absorbed, and major repairs are needed.
After water damage, your restoration team might bring in fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers. Sometimes cupping and crowning can be corrected by simply restoring proper humidity inside the room. But if the floors need to be replaced, even the subfloor must be “bone dry.” Engaging a full service restoration company with the proper resources and staff will get your home back to normal ASAP.
If you are pretty handy, have a complete set of tools, and access to all the needed materials, should you attempt to repair the damage and replace the floors? Consider your realistic timeline. If you have plenty of time to spend repairing your wood floor’s water damage, it might be possible. But your family and pets might not have the patience to wait through the process.
Rather than researching how to install engineered hardwood flooring from the internet, outsource the stress to 24Restore.
When you have soaked hardwoods, or any water damage, call 24Restore for help. If there is only minor damage, the experts might be able to save them. Depending on your situation, they might replace the ruined floorboards, then refinish the entire floor. If the floor’s damage is more extensive, even the subfloor may need to be replaced. Sometimes new installations can be less expensive than repairs; the only way you will know is when the experts assess the situation.
Minnesota based 24Restore can determine the extent of the damage, estimate the extent of needed repairs, prepare a timeline, and then start to work. 24Restore’s technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) to handle your water damage.