If you enjoy having a hardwood floor in your home, you’re enjoying a distinct warm color and pleasant texture under your feet. However, wood, being organic, can also be vulnerable to different types of damage and unfortunately, water damage is one of them.
When you get water on your floor in you should always deal with the threat quickly. Water that is allowed to penetrate hardwood can warp and deform the wood, eventually causing the surface to be uneven. Here’s what you should be doing if, for example, a window breaks and stormwater comes in, or you experience some other kind of major water damage.
Eliminate Surface Water
Your first priority should be removing the water that’s already on the floor. If more water is coming in from the source, neutralize that first, then concentrate on the water that’s already present. If it’s a burst pipe, shut off the water first. If it’s a broken window, board it up.
Depending on the amount of water present, you may be able to wipe it away with rags, or a mop. For greater amounts, a vacuum or pump may be necessary. In either case, remove as much of the water as you can so there are no more pools.
Scrub The Floor
Once the extra water is gone, it’s time to clean the floor. Dirt, silt and other contaminants can all damage hardwood floors if the chemicals they carry are left to interact with the sealant or the wood itself. You should also use cleaning or disinfectant agents for mold, as wet wood may play host to mold. When a mold infestation occurs, this can become a health hazard, and require a costly removal from mold removal experts.
Dry The Floor
This should always occur through the circulation of air. Fans, open windows, and other forms of air movement are your best bet, and these should be applied for long, slow periods of time. Don’t try to rush this process by using heat. This can damage the wood, and, if done improperly, even lead to warping the wood. Play the long game when it comes to drying the floor. While opening the windows for some cross-movement is a good idea, only do so if the outside air is low in humidity. If it’s a hot, humid summer, this can slow down the drying the process, not hasten it.
Sometimes a floor looks like wood but actually isn’t, as may the case with laminate flooring. Laminate uses a form of wood pulp treatment known as MDF board or medium density fiberboard. If your floor used laminate and suffered water damage, it is far more delicate compared to wood and cannot be salvaged. Unless replaced, water damaged laminate will erode and eventually smell.
Hardwood floors in a home can be a great feature that even adds value to the property. However, it’s important to treat water damage right away to minimize the permanent, warping potential the moisture can have on the wood if left untreated for too long.