What To Expect If Your Hardwood Floor Has Been Damaged By Standing Water

What To Expect If Your Hardwood Floor Has Been Damaged By Standing Water

8 February 2018
 Categories: , Blog

Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for many homeowners – it's durable, it's beautiful and it raises your home's value. Unfortunately, hardwood flooring is very vulnerable to water damage. Wood will absorb any standing water on the floor and begin to expand. With no place for the hardwood to expand into, it will begin to press against the walls of your home, causing the center of the hardwood floor to buckle upwards and eventually begin cracking. Hardwood is also vulnerable to mold and rot if it is not immediately dried.

If your hardwood floors have suffered water damage from a flood, it's important to call a water damage restoration company immediately to have them dried. Mold can begin to grow as soon as 24 hours after the water damage has occurred and mold damage is very expensive to repair. If your hardwood floor has been attached to the subfloor by glue, moisture will eventually dissolve the glue and cause the hardwood to separate and peel off of the floor. In order to protect your investment, call a professional immediately. Here's what a water restoration damage service will do for your water-damaged hardwood flooring.

Active Drying Prevents Damage and Mold Growth

For softer wood flooring such as American Walnut or Black Cherry, mats will be laid over the hardwood floor to remove moisture. These mats are attached to suction hoses which create negative pressure on the hardwood, removing water from the wood and depositing it outside your home. Softer woods are more porous, allowing these mats to remove water from the space between the wood and the subfloor.

Harder woods such as Brazilian Cherry are not porous enough for suction to fully dry the floor – water that has been trapped between the hardwood and the subfloor would remain, potentially causing mold underneath your hardwood flooring. In these cases, the hardwood floor will be raised slightly at the edge and air will be circulated between the hardwood and the subfloor. This allows for even drying.

Your Hardwood Floor Dries Naturally For a Few Months

Active drying measures become less effective as moisture is removed from the wood. After the hardwood floor is out of the danger zone where it is susceptible to mold growth, it will be left to dry naturally. This requires up to six months depending on the porosity of the wood and indoor humidity.

During this time, do not apply wax or finish to the hardwood floor. These can act as vapor barriers, preventing the wood from fully drying. Only refinish the floor once the hardwood has fully dried.

Sanding and Refinishing Restores Your Floor to Its Original State

The expansion of hardwood flooring due to water absorption will destroy the finish. However, if a water damage restoration was called soon enough and the wood was quickly dried, the wood itself will be undamaged. Since the wood is the important (and expensive) part of the hardwood floor, you have still saved your investment. Once the wood has fully dried, you will need to sand and refinish the hardwood floor to restore it to pristine condition.

If you own a hardwood floor, it's important to call a water damage restoration company like Sweeney Cleaning immediately if it has been damaged by standing water. The longer you wait before the wood is dried, the more chance you have of mold growth, glue dissolving, or hardwood cracking and splintering. Protecting your investment requires prompt action.

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