Newly installed hardwood floors are simply beautiful. They add a certain elegance to any decor. To maintain their beauty, however, some maintenance is required. Between foot traffic and water spills, trying to keep the same appearance as when they were installed can be a challenge, especially if water or other liquids remain for an extended time.
Causes of Water Damage
If you act quickly, you may be able to repair your hardwood floors instead of replacing them. Knowing the reasons for water damaged hardwood floors is crucial if you want them to last. Any source of water can cause damage to hardwood floors.
- Leaky or frozen pipes
- Water heater bursting
- Toilet overflowing
- A broken or leaky appliance
- Sump pump malfunction
- Plumbing leaks beneath the floor
- Sprinkler system discharge
- Leaky roof
- Ice damming - occurs after a heavy snowfall
- Severe storms with major flooding
- Fires: water from fire hoses to extinguish the fire
- Water spills that aren’t cleaned up immediately
- Tracking rain or snow into the home
- Tracking swimming pool water into the home
- Pet accidents: drool, spills from water bowls
- Overflowing bathtub
- High humidity in the home
Solutions to Repair Hardwood Floors
If you’ve got water on your hardwood floors, clean it up immediately. Hardwood floors absorb the water through small pores in the wood. Removing the water as fast as possible will prevent further damage.
Measures to Prevent Water Damage
- Place absorbent mats where water is usually tracked or spilled. The front and back entrances to your home, or garage door home entry are ideal spaces; also, beneath the kitchen sink.
- Put towels down if rain is expected in the forecast, you're having a pool party, or the fridge is leaking (until it’s repaired). If your towels soak through, replace them immediately.
- If your toddlers spill often, have them eat and drink away from any hardwood floors.
- Place a mat or towel beneath your pets’ water bowls or place the bowls away from the hardwood floors if possible.
- Inspect your roof and ceilings regularly to stay on top of any potential leaks or damage.
- Watch for low or high water pressure from your faucets. Pay attention to your monthly water bill. An unusually high water bill could be a sign of a plumbing leak.
- Look for signs of stains or water damage on walls and floors.
After Water Damage
For larger water issues and damage follow these steps:
- Remove Surface Water.
Start with pulling up the water with a shop vacuum as soon as possible. Hardwood floors can be infiltrated between the seams and under the baseboards.
- Scrub Your Hardwood Floor.
Scrub the floor and baseboards with a stiff brush to remove dirt, mud, and other materials to prevent mold growth. If you find areas that show mold growth, clean those too.
- Dry the Floor.
Dry the hardwood floors with fans and plenty of air flowing through the space. Open windows and doors to aid in the drying process. Hardwood floors can crack if dried too quickly. Don’t ever apply heat to help with drying.
- Sand the Floor.
After drying your floors, sand the floorboards that show cupping. You may need to refinish your hardwood floors if the polyurethane has been removed.
Bottom line: The longer your hardwood floors stay wet, the chances of it being saved decreases. More water damage can occur due to a lack of urgency to remove the water.
Common Problems with Hardwood Floor Water Damage
Cupping occurs when the sides of the flooring are higher than the center of the boards. This produces a concave shape. Both solid and engineered hardwood floors can cup when exposed to water damage.
Warping is more severe. Hardwood floors buckle or pop off the subfloor. This needs to be taken out immediately to prevent further damage. Warping happens when humidity changes. It is most noticeable in the summer. Hardwood floors will expand due to the humidity and buckle up.
Mold. If water damage is not taken care of immediately, mold growth may occur. Hardwood floor water damage can produce mold spores on furniture, clothing, and other areas of the house.
Want to Save Your Beautiful Hardwood Floors?
At St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration, our trusted technicians can restore your hardwood floors and other components that have water damage. We have the proper drying equipment and the experience to deal with any restoration project. We pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service. Contact us today if your home needs water damage restoration.