Water Damage Under Vinyl Floor Restoration

Water damage under vinyl flooring is a hidden danger for many California homeowners. Learn how to spot the signs and take action to protect your home from further damage.

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Worried About Vinyl Floors Buckling? Here’s What You Need to Know

Visitors to California relish the Hollywood sign photo opportunities, a day at Disneyland, and the wilds of Yosemite National Park. While outsiders rarely see the brutal side of owning a home in the Golden State, residents understand how often the skies here aren’t glowing as the area’s nickname suggests.

Just take the West Coast’s tendencies toward flooding as an example, which makes issues like water damage under vinyl flooring a real challenge. Sources like The Public Policy Institute of California report that all 58 counties have had severe flooding and continue to pose a major flood risk under the right conditions. Floods here are even more widespread than wildfires and earthquakes, so one out of every five residents have homes in danger of serious water damage. 

As you might already know, your floors are always the first to succumb to water damage. From laminate and hardwood to vinyl, tile, and carpet, there are countless signs that you may have water damage right under your feet. Below, Same Day Restoration looks at vinyl flooring’s potential signs of damage and why that’s important for your California property.

Signs Vinyl Floors Have Water Damage

It’s true that vinyl has waterproof properties due to its non-porous makeup. The material can stand up to the occasional spilled drink or light rain flashing in from an open window if you do a quick mopping.

However, when vinyl has prolonged exposure, water seeps through joints and crevices to cause the following issues:

Buckling

Aside from swelling the wood, excess moisture that sticks around for too long disintegrates the adhesive that is meant to cement the vinyl boards into place.

Usually, you’ll notice a few vinyl boards becoming loose or, worse, beginning to buckle. You may also notice creaking as you walk on the boards when only one part of the board is lifting or a loud popping sound as the boards rise and fall under foot traffic.

Buckling vinyl not only proves unsightly but also makes a tripping hazard. Either way, your vinyl floor will be in serious need of restoration.

Dampness cold floor

Dampness

You won’t always see moisture if there’s water damage under vinyl floors, but you may feel it. If you walk barefoot along the surface, the soles of your feet may not feel wet, but you will notice that the boards or tiles feel unusually cold.

While it’s easy to brush this off as the result of a colder climate or wintertime conditions, don’t ignore it. Vinyl has great insulation. It doesn’t just feel cold unless there’s an outside factor, like water damage, complicating matters.

Shifting

Your property’s vinyl planks expand and contract with heat and humidity, and water damage could cause them to lift or buckle.

If that happens, you can expect a few planks not only to lift from the subfloor but to begin to separate from one another.

As the boards shift from their original laydown spot, you may notice the original design looking slightly crooked.

Unfortunately, that’s both aesthetically displeasing and potentially dangerous.

Water Damage Under Vinyl Floor Restoration

Swelling

Since vinyl comprises PVC, Same Day Restoration’s team has seen regular examples of the material becoming susceptible to fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels. When water seeps into the subfloor, the warmth and moisture cause the wood to expand.

If left long enough, your vinyl will start swelling. Bubbling also occurs underneath the boards, lifting them as this warm air rises.

Mold

What’s worse than the icy touch of wood or tile on your bare feet? Mustiness in your breathing air, of course! Is there a detectable pungent or stale odor lingering, like that of wet dog fur or rotting wood? There could be fungus or another organic growth beneath your home’s vinyl and wood surfaces.

It only takes a day or two for mold or mildew to grow in dark, damp places, like right under your floorboards. However, the actual spores may not be visible until they’ve multiplied into the billions.

The vinyl itself isn’t susceptible to mold growth, but the nooks and crannies around it are. In severe cases, you’ll start to see a black or blue-green fuzz poking around the plank edges.

These microorganisms release toxic particles into your breathing air, so it’s best to handle the problem before they cause respiratory illnesses like asthma and allergies.

distressed moldy old parquet flooring
delamination damaged vinyl floor

Delamination

Do you have laminated vinyl flooring? The lamination is only on the uppermost layer that contributes to the plank’s glossy, smooth surface.

Without a protective top coat, your vinyl planks are duller and susceptible to damage.

For example, a large spill or leak might find the edges where the laminate meets the rest of the plank.

Once it makes its way between the layers, the laminate’s paper backing warps. The plank then loses adhesion and detaches.

Discoloration

Even high-density fiberboards, like vinyl with layers of wax, resin, and compressed wood fibers, will eventually absorb water.

That exposure might happen through regular contact with moisture in bathrooms and kitchens or a massive flood. Either way, as water settles into the layers, you’ll see water stains.

Look for darker streaks or spots. You may also notice grain discoloration or fading.

water damage on walls and floors in home

Why Choose Same Day Restoration

Meet The Same Day Restoration Team

doug smith

Doug Smith

General Manager

rossini westlake

Rossini Westlake

Office Manager

frederico barrera

Federico Barrera

Senior Project Manager

diana sarmiento

Diana Sarmiento

Service Coordinator

The Causes Of Water Damage On Vinyl Floors

Do any of the above signs sound familiar to your vinyl flooring? What about the causes of water damage on vinyl floors? At Same Day Restoration, we see four common reasons why even waterproof vinyl plank flooring experiences irreversible damage.

Low-Quality Flooring

Like flooring installation companies, no two vinyl flooring materials are the same. Water damage under vinyl floors is more common among some types of material than others. As an example, let’s take a look at vinyl composite tile flooring, a highly sought-after industrial and commercial flooring material for tiling large spaces at an affordable price.

VCTs have a smaller price range compared to luxury vinyl tiles, and this has a lot to do with the thinness of each square and the material makeup. VCTs are not pure, comprising bits of limestone and other fillers to make up for the lower percentage of vinyl. Unfortunately, that dilution also means VCTs are more permeable than LVTs (which are primarily vinyl).

There’s a much higher chance that water and humidity can seep through the micro holes in VCTs and expand them. VCTs last 15 to 20 years, while luxury vinyl tiles can last 25 years, mostly due to this water damage issue.

Do you have VCT as your household flooring? You might expect water damage to become an issue. One solution might be to upgrade to LVT at a slightly higher price point for thicker, non-porous material that has a built-in top coat.

Improper Installation

Did the flooring installation and construction company you hired have the appropriate qualifications and experience?

When searching for the right team for your vinyl flooring installation or repair, be sure to check their ratings and reviews (as well as word of mouth) to see what others say about them.

If you hire a less-than-reputable company, you might find that the team rushes through their work and cuts corners. If so, there’s a chance the boards won’t attach snugly against one another or the subflooring. Gaps allow water to pass freely between the seams and edges, so it will take less water to cause lasting damage to your vinyl floors – perhaps just mopping. 

Keep an eye on the following traits, as well:

worker installing new vinyl tile floor

Experience and Training

How many years have they been in the business?

Special Merits

What makes them stand out? Awards? Certificates?

Service type

Do they offer what you need for flooring and maintenance?

Pricing

Can you stay within your budget for the entire project? What about maintenance packages?

Offers and Warranties

Do they have offers, such as a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee?

At Same Day Restoration, our team’s replacement work always ensures that your new vinyl boards snap together perfectly, bar all moisture and humidity, and seal any gaps. We also check items like the concrete, which is porous and may contain moisture that won’t have anywhere to escape if you lay vinyl tile right over it while damp. If the concrete sweats, you’ll see pooling right below the vinyl tiles, and problems will follow.

Chemical Exposure

Chemicals also have a hand in negatively and irreversibly affecting the vinyl floor planks and promoting water damage under vinyl floors. If substances settle on the vinyl planks for a while, the chemicals strip away the lamination to cause discoloration, warping, and cracking. Worse, if the chemicals slip right into the floor creases, they might eat away at the adhesive holding the planks together or latched onto the subflooring. 

Is chemical exposure likely to happen in your home if it usually occurs only in manufacturing and construction establishments? While you might not have industrial solvents, acids, and other dangerous products on hand, even something as simple as taking care of your floors with cleaning chemicals can damage them. For example, bleach and ammonia, among other cleaning solutions, are too abrasive on vinyl surfaces if used in large amounts or undiluted.

In other cases, you may not even realize chemicals have entered your home. For instance, rock salt and other ice melters have grainy crystals that dull and dissolve vinyl finishes while scratching the surfaces. If you, your children, or your pets drag this rock salt in from snowy streets and it lodges into the vinyl floorboards, you’ll find them weakening and susceptible to water penetrating the surface.

chemical exposure to vinyl floor

Flooding

Despite all the other hazards we’ve mentioned, in Same Day Restoration’s line of work flooding is a top cause of vinyl flooring damage. Properly installed, high-quality vinyl is largely non-porous and has great waterproof qualities, so it is difficult for water to seep into the underlying material. However, the weight of the water during a flood can wreak havoc as it forces its way into the wood or lifts up the boards by force.

Even water near tubs, sinks, and windows gives this same effect if water is present on the surface for extended periods. In California, the most common causes of flooding on vinyl include the following:

  • Storm damage.
  • Broken or overflowing washing machines and dishwashers.
  • Crawl space condensation.
  • Leaking pipes under the floorboards.

In all of these cases, a quick cleanup and restoration job by Same Day Restoration could make a huge difference to your vinyl floor’s prospects.

Water leaking and flooded on wood floor. Room floor will damage after the flood

Vinyl Floor Repair & Restoration

What type of vinyl flooring do you have? Protecting it might mean quick action. For example, the moment your pet has an accident, or you spill a drink on the planks, you wipe it up immediately to prevent serious water damage under vinyl floors. 

With vinyl, you shouldn’t have to worry about a bit of dampness. California’s warm weather may naturally evaporate droplets within a day or two. Still, if you notice any of the previously mentioned signs occurring or are aware that your floors just underwent recent flooding, you’ll need some expert help to dry the affected area and place a dehumidifier nearby.

During flood damage cleanup, our team does the following:

  • Remove boards that are warped, discolored, or obviously damaged.
  • Thoroughly search for and address the underlying cause of the water damage.
  • Dry out the area beneath the floorboards.
  • Replace any damaged planks with new ones that match your current setup.

 

Vinyl Floor Repair & Restoration

Don’t wait to call for help if your vinyl floors have had a lot of water over them, even if it was a short-lived emergency.

Afterward, your vinyl floors should be as good as new!

Contact Us for Same-Day Repairs on Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring & More

Is your flooring waterproof? Even if it is, you have to act fast if you’re noticing signs of water damage showing through.

Same Day Restoration’s licensed and insured team offers 24/7 help with everything from water damage under vinyl floors to fire damage restoration services.

Call our San Diego County office at (866) 928-5530 or Orange County at (949) 979-5330 today!

FAQs About Water Damage Under Vinyl Floor

Earthquakes can cause foundation damage, structural damage to walls, columns, beams, and roofs, and cosmetic damage such as broken windows and cracked tiles.
After ensuring your safety, contact Same Day Restoration for professional earthquake damage assessment and restoration. Our team will provide a thorough inspection, cleanup, and repair services to restore your property.
To prepare for an earthquake, practice the drop, cover, and hold on method, create an emergency plan, secure heavy items in your home, and have a supply kit ready with essentials like food, water, and a flashlight.