Water, like fire, may be your greatest friend or worst enemy. Water can quickly damage your property and belongings if things go wrong, just as with fire. Excess water is one of the most typical causes of deterioration in flooring. Water damaged floors may be caused by a variety of factors, including a leaking heater or air conditioner, burst pipes, a leaky roof, or an act of nature like a hurricane, windstorm, or flood.

If you have a water-damaged floor, it can be hard to know what to do. There are so many options to choose from and it seems like the list just keeps growing. Don’t worry, this blog post will teach you everything from identifying the issue to repairing your problem. You’ll also find out some tips on what to avoid when dealing with water damage and more!

What’s the Difference Between Flood Damage and Water Damage?

Water damage can be caused by many different things, including accidents like flooding or sewage backup. Flooding is the most common cause of water damage to homes and businesses. When this happens, not only does it ruin the property but also the items inside.

When a building floods, whether it’s due to heavy rainfall or sustained water pressure (like in burst pipes), it causes damage to both your home and its contents. If you own a business, there could be potential losses in revenue if your operations are halted during repairs. Business owners should consult their insurance companies immediately about how to proceed with flood damage claims .

Flooding doesn’t just ruin your personal belongings; it can also lead to serious structural, especially among older buildings which may not be built to withstand such pressure. Flooding can result in mold growth, which can cause further issues and health concerns when not taken care of right away.

How Do You Know If You Have Water Damage?

Identifying water damage where it’s found is easy when looking at the signs:

  •  Excess moisture (water pooled on floors or carpets or along walls)
  • Discoloration (walls, ceilings, and sometimes furniture as well as other areas directly exposed to water)
  • Musty smell (detected when the moisture is allowed to sit for too long)
  • Warping: Additionally, any bubbling, peeling, or cracking in the flooring may be a sign of damage as well.
  • Buckling: This happens when the finished flooring detaches from the subflooring beneath it. 
  • Cupping: This is when the plank edges curl upward due to the moisture they have absorbed.

Meanwhile, a ceramic tile floor tells its own story of damage with signs such as loose tiles, cracked grout, stains, mold, or hollow sounds when tapped.

When you find these signs in your home or business, be sure to take action right away. Even if you can’t immediately see where the leak is coming from and how much damage has been done, try to locate it and stop it before things get worse. It’s also important that you’re able to identify where exactly the problem area is so you know what needs to be fixed.

How to Deal with Water Damage to Your Wood Floors?

Water mitigation:   The first thing you should do is to stop any further damage by extracting the water . This will help stop mold growth and prevent serious structural damage. Use a wet/dry vacuum with an absolute filtration system, which is less likely to create static electricity that can cause more problems. Keep the vacuum moving so it doesn’t overheat.

Sealing off drywall joints: If there are cracks or holes in your walls where water has seeped through, try using silicone sealant or mud to fix them for now until you can properly repair them later on down the road.

Wetting agents: You can mix baking soda, dish soap, and hydrogen peroxide together to make a paste. Apply this paste directly on wood floors before putting towels over it to absorb the moisture.

Remove the paste once you’re able to hang the towels vertically using clothespins for about 12 hours (24 if you can keep your windows open). Repeat this process until your floors are completely dry.

Mold prevention: After fixing any structural issues, take steps to protect against mold growth by applying an anti-mold agent like Bora-Care, which is approved by the EPA. Although you can use chlorine bleach to clean mold off wood floors , it doesn’t do anything to prevent its return.

How to Fix Damaged Wood Floors?

Once your flooring has dried out completely, look for any damage or holes that may need immediate attention. If there are loose boards that have buckled up, try hammering them back down again. A pry bar will also work in repairing these kinds of issues. Fix any deep cracks with premixed epoxy fillers before sanding them smooth and applying the finishing touches with stain markers or even paint depending on where they are located (exterior vs interior).

You can re-install the boards using wood glue mixed with sawdust. Place them back into their original positions, making sure that they are perfectly flat before applying pressure to the nails to keep them in place temporarily.

Once your floors are fully dry, replace any damaged boards with new ones made of the same type of wood if possible. If you can’t afford these kinds of replacements at the moment (which is understandable), try using dowels made of different types of wood or nail pops instead, which will make it easier for you to sand down and refinish the entire flooring surface at a later date.

If there are stains on your hardwood floors , consider having professionals do the job because it may require stripping (and possibly staining) the entire surface again. You might also need to hire someone to do the actual sanding for you, which is a critical part in the refinishing process. If your floorboards need major repairs, it might be best to bring in an expert with years of experience when it comes to fixing damaged hardwood floors .

Okay, so now that we’ve covered what causes water damage and how to clean and repair hardwood floors , I’ll show you how to prevent future damage from happening again.

How to Prevent Future Water Damage?

Pay attention to what’s going on in your home so you can stop any leaks or overflows before they have the chance to mess up your flooring for good. Not only will this save you money on potential repairs and replacements, it will also save you time and energy (and a whole lot of frustration) whenever your home floods.

What to do:   Get rid of old appliances that can cause leaks – especially water heaters – or replace them with newer ones that use less-toxic materials like steel instead of copper. Replace metal piping with new plastic ones for a less harmful water supply.  You can also install a drainage system that will catch excess water from your downspouts and redirect it to your street or into the ground instead of back into your home.

What Not to Do:   Never use harsh chemicals to clean hardwood floors because they may degrade the finish over time. If you have to use a surface cleaner, make sure that you read all the instructions carefully first. If possible, don’t wax your floors either because they will become more susceptible to staining and discoloration as time goes by.

Closing Thoughts

Never underestimate the power of water damage and how it can affect your entire home and everything in it, including your hardwood floors . Follow these steps to make sure that your flooring is safe and sealed properly before you start on any DIY refinishing projects. It’s always better to contact a professional to do this for you if you have any doubts about your skills and expertise.

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