underwater flooding interior

Each year, 1 out of every 50 homes will file an insurance claim for water damage in the U.S.

By comparison, just 1 in every 400 homes will file a claim for theft.

Water damage is a serious and often devastating occurrence. It can also spell disaster for your beautiful hardwood floors.

If your home has been flooded or experienced a leak, keep reading. We’re showing you what you need to know to deal with water damage to wood floors.

Stop the Water

Before you can even begin to think about water damage restoration, you need to stop the source of the damage.

If you aren’t sure where the water is coming from, it’s time to get to the source.

Water damage near the edges of rooms could indicate a leak within your walls. It can also mean a roof leak, as the water will drip down the interior walls of your home.

Even a slight leak in your kitchen or bathroom sink can lead to water damage on your hardwood floors.

If your home was damaged by flooding, it’s a good idea to take measures to prevent the same thing from happening again. Do this before you fix the damage; otherwise, you might find your hard work and investment ruined if another flood closely follows the first.

Whether you need to add a sump pump to your basement, grade your lawn so that water flows away, or seal doors and windows, start with these repairs.

Once you are confident that the water has stopped leaking or that your home won’t flood again right away, it’s time to work on fixing the damage.

Dry Your Floors

After you stop the water, the next step is to dry your floors.

Unfortunately, drying a wood floor is harder than simply mopping up the water. That’s because water can soak through the wood and pool beneath your floors. This leaves the boards saturated, and can cause them to warp or rot.

Even if they don’t appear damaged right away, failing to dry out the water hiding underneath can lead to damage later on.

Start by removing any carpets or furniture from the room. Next, dry up the water that you can see and feel.

If your home was flooded, it’s likely that floodwaters carried in mud and silt.

Using a non-abrasive brush and mild, non-sud-producing detergent, gently clean your floors. Use the brush to knock loose sediment from between the boards and against the baseboards.

Next, you’ll need to remove several boards. If you think that your floors are salvageable, remove one board for every five feet or so of space in your room.

If you know that some boards are beyond repair, remove the damaged ones.

Set up a fan to circulate air in the room. You can also open doors and windows to lower the humidity in your home and prevent mold and mildew from spreading.

If you have dehumidifiers, run them to remove additional moisture from your home.

Check Your Moisture Levels

If you are planning to fix your floors on your own, you’ll want to invest in a moisture meter. This device is available at most hardware stores. It will tell you how much moisture remains in the air in various parts of your home.

Use the device to check a variety of areas around your damaged floors. Compare the reading to a reading of a section of flooring that wasn’t damaged by water or flooded.

The reading on the affected floors should be within 5 percent of the reading of the unaffected ones.

If you’ll be letting professional water restoration services handle the damage and refinish or replace your floors, they’ll test your moisture levels for you.

Look for Signs of Mold

Just because you are able to dry out your floors doesn’t mean that you’re ready to fix your floors.

Depending on how long the water was in your home, mold may have begun to form. If it has, you’ll need to call in some professional help to get it removed.

Mold in your home is incredibly dangerous. It can lead to a number of health problems.

Never ignore the signs of mold, no matter how mild you think your case may be.

Refinish Your Wood Floors

If your hardwood floorboards weren’t too damaged by water, you can save them by simply refinishing them.

Refinishing starts with sanding down the boards. This removes any dust and sediment that has gotten into the wood grain. It also prepares the wood for its new finish.

Once your boards have been sanded, you can then let them finish drying. This may also help any slightly warped boards to flatten back out.

After the boards have dried, you’ll be ready to refinish them. With a little elbow grease, your floors will be beautiful again in no time.

Replace Damaged Boards

Sometimes water damage will leave boards too warped or rotted to remain in your floors.

In this case, you’ll need to remove the damaged boards before you start sanding.

Luckily, a skilled flooring expert can help you replace a board and sand and finish your floors so that the new board is barely noticeable.

Call in the Pros for Water Restoration Services

While drying out minor water damage to your floors is possible on your own, even a small water leak can cause significant damage.

It can also lead to the dreaded mold we mentioned, especially if you don’t dry out your floors properly.

Unless you have to experience with cleaning up water damage, it’s best to get professional help. That way you can ensure that the water is really gone and that you don’t have anything lurking in your walls or under your floors.

Reversing Water Damage to Wood Floors

If you’re facing water damage to wood floors in your home, replacing bad boards and refinishing your floors can help fix the problem.

But before you can do either thing, you’ll need to deal with the water.

If your home has had a leak or seen floodwater creep in, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our water damage services.