Wood floors are beautiful, durable, and welcoming, and they’re an excellent addition to any home or business. Unfortunately, they’re also very susceptible to water damage. Even mild flooding or storm conditions can wreak havoc on wood floors, causing them to warp, rot, and break down.
Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your wood floors from water damage.
This blog will provide a few top tips to save your Florida hardwood floors, even after water damage.
Let’s dive in.
What Happens When Hardwood Floors Get Wet?
Wood is a natural, porous material. When it comes into contact with water for an extended period, the moisture permeates the wood membranes.
This, in turn, causes the wood cells to expand, which leads to the following:
Fading and discoloration.
Warping, cupping, buckling, or sagging.
Softening or swelling.
Mold and mildew growth and rotting.
In most cases, signs of water damage appear close to the source of the damage. That’s why it’s common to see warped, buckling floors near appliances like dishwashers, sinks, or toilets.
While wood is sensitive to water, small spills usually won’t destroy wood flooring – only severe flooding or extended exposure to standing water will damage your hardwood.
What Causes Flooding on Hardwood Floors?
In most cases, hardwood floors incur damage when they encounter lots of moisture in a short period. With that in mind, here are the most common culprits of water damage to hardwood floors:
Storm damage, hurricanes, or extreme weather.
Flooding, wastewater or sewage backup, or natural disasters.
Structural or foundation damage.
High indoor humidity levels.
Damage can also occur as a result of human error. Say you let the bathtub overflow, for example, or used the wrong soap in the dishwasher. While these are isolated incidents, they can cause extensive damage to hardwood.
4 Tips to Save Wood Floors From Flood Damage
When water damage happens, you’ve got to act fast to save your wooden floors. Here’s what to do:
1. Clean up as much water as you can
First things first: you’ve got to remove the standing water. Even a small spill can cause staining and localized warping.
With this in mind, use a soft rag or absorbent towel to wipe up as much standing water as possible.
In cases of more extreme flooding, you may need to use mops, buckets, or wet/dry vacs to remove water.
2. Remove any saturated items from the wood floors
Once you’ve cleaned up standing water, you’ve got to remove objects that could continue to damage the floors. Pick up and remove soaked furniture and area rugs to prevent staining and allow the affected area to dry.
3. Clean up debris
Next, you’ll need to remove dirt and debris, which could soak into the pores of your wood floors. We recommend using a cleaner designed for wood floors and scrubbing it into the boards with a soft-bristled brush.
Finally, apply a wood conditioner to reseal and rehydrate the floor and protect it from future water damage.
Keep in mind that, in cases of severe flooding or water damage, DIY cleaning probably won’t be enough. In these situations, you’ll need a restoration company like Remediation 911 to provide comprehensive cleaning, conditioning, and repair to restore your floors to like-new condition.
4. Keep an eye out for signs of mold
Mold moves quickly after water damage. In fact, it can start to form in just 24-48 hours of flooding!
With this in mind, be sure to inspect your floors for signs of mold. Once you’ve cleaned them, look for areas of black, gray, or green growth. Mold may also manifest as warping, splitting, or “gaping” in your wooden floors.
How to Protect Your Hardwood Floors From Water Damage
When it comes to water damage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Take these steps to prevent water damage and keep your wood flooring dry, stain-free, and beautiful:
Lay down mats and area rugs. Water damage doesn’t always occur after a disaster. Sometimes, it’s the result of everyday wear and tear, such as wet, muddy boots on entryway floors. To keep your floors dry, use mats and area rugs throughout your home, especially in high-traffic areas like entrances, kitchens, and bathrooms. These mats will protect your floors from splashing or tracked-in moisture.
Maintain your floors and plumbing. Routine maintenance is a great way to protect floors from water damage. We recommend having your wooden floors refinished every ten years or so and adding a protective coating when you do. Additionally, make sure you’re investing in regular plumbing check-ups and maintenance to prevent broken or burst pipes or other preventable sources of water damage.
Clean up spills promptly. Spills happen. There’s no way to prevent them. When they do occur, though, it’s important to clean them up promptly. Use a mop or absorbent rag to wipe up the spill, and allow the area to dry thoroughly afterward.
When to Call a Restoration Company
Water and wooden floors just don’t mix. Because of that, we recommend contacting a restoration company pretty much any time your hardwood flooring experiences water damage. Even small spills can cause irreparable damage to your flooring – unless you act fast.
Fortunately, a restoration company like Remediation 911 has the skills, expertise, and equipment needed to rapidly remove moisture from your wood flooring, dry the area, and recondition your floors, so they stay beautiful and pristine.
Remediation 911: Your Trusted Florida Restoration Company
When water damage happens, wood flooring often takes the hardest hit. Fortunately, you can prevent some of the worst effects of water damage and flooding by understanding how to clean it up when it happens.
If you want to guarantee the health of your wood floors, we recommend contacting a restoration company like Remediation 911. Our team provides residential and commercial restoration services for customers throughout Florida.
Contact us today to learn more about our water damage removal services and how we can help you keep your flooring beautiful.