Water is the worst enemy of hardwood floors, so it's essential to act quickly when a spill or flood occurs. If you remove water from hardwood floors quickly and dry them properly, you may be able to save the wood (or most of it). You'll most likely have to sand and repaint the wood afterwards, and then your floors will look (almost) like new. Plus, you'll avoid the cost and hassle of uprooting and transporting hardwood, as well as paying for new wood and installation. The first 24 hours are critical and the longer the wood is in contact with water, the worse the damage will be.
To dry the floors, use a dehumidifier set at the highest possible temperature and place it in the center of the room. Let it work for at least 24 hours, then place fans around the room so that the entire surface receives the air that blows. Set the fans to the highest possible setting. Repainting hardwood is much less expensive than replacing it. When water damage occurs, it's important to remove water quickly and dry the floors, not only to save hardwood floors (and the subfloor), but also to prevent mold growth (which, of course, can be a bigger and more expensive problem to solve).
According to the EPA, mold growth can begin in 48 to 72 hours when floors (or walls) get wet. Keep in mind that floors can take 4 to 6 weeks (and sometimes longer) to completely dry. It is essential that you wait for the floors to dry and settle before sanding them. Otherwise, you'll have all kinds of problems, as the wood can keep shrinking and the floors won't cure properly. If this happens, you may have to sand and finish them a second time (which, of course, will cost more money and will wear out the wood).
Depending on the damage, the hardwood floor can be repaired rather than completely replaced. If there is minor damage, most of the floor can be saved and an insulated floorboard may need to be repaired. However, if the damage is significant, it may be necessary to replace the entire floor and sometimes the subfloor as well. The type of hardwood floor you may have determines and limits the type of repairs that must be performed. Hardwood floors allow for a wider range of options to solve the problem. With hardwood floors, you can sand and scrape up to a quarter of an inch of the wood to eliminate water damage on the surface.
This type of flooring can also be replaced by individual planks. The best way to care for a water damaged area on your hardwood floor is to replace the affected boards and then repaint the entire floor to return it to a unifying look. If small suction cups are produced, the soil may be restored. Other signs of water damage on a hardwood floor include cracks along the floor or the separation of the floorboards. Following these steps immediately after suffering water damage will help ensure that hardwood floors dry properly and maintain their appearance and functionality. At Certified Restoration, we've been restoring water-damaged hardwood floors in San Diego for more than 20 years.
In addition to response time, successfully repairing water damage to hardwood floors depends on the type of floor, the wood and finish, the installation method, the amount of moisture, and the replacement value. Hardwood floors are porous, meaning that advanced drying is required as problems can occur and bend very quickly after water damage. An unwanted event such as water or flood damage to your hardwood floors is overwhelming, frustrating and can be very costly. The effects of water damage occur over time; once you notice something different on your hardwood floors, water damage has already occurred. But today, water restoration contractors such as Chicago's ServiceMaster By Simons have technology needed to repair waterlogged hardwood floors and return them to normal.