Water damage is a common problem with those that have hardwood or engineered wood floors around their homes or commercial properties, with wood’s natural fibres easily soaking up water. It’s easily noticeable due to the curving and cupping of the floorboards creating a bowed or raised bumpy appearance. If water damage has gone unnoticed however and been allowed to progress and spread across a hardwood floor, the damage is irreversible and can be practically impossible to fix. In this instance, water damaged wood floors may require a full restoration and even replacement of the affected floorboards.
To help you avoid the hassle and money required to fix wood floor water damage, Quicksand Flooring has put together a simple guide on how to protect your floor from water damage and how to act fast once you notice the early signs of water creeping underneath your floorboards.
Steps to preventing wood floor water damage…
It’s far easier to prevent wood floor water damage than it is to try and repair wood floor water damage once it’s already started to take hold. Here are some ways to ‘waterproof’ your home and try to avoid as many accidents as possible.
Find potential water sources
If possible, before you have a hardwood floor installed, you should locate all the potential water sources around your home and make sure your plumbing system has been thoroughly checked and maintained to avoid any potential leaks.
Water can find its way into your home and onto or underneath your precious floorboards in a variety of ways, some more problematic than others such as leaky pipes, toilet or bath overflows, appliance leakages, spillages, pet accidents and much more. While its impossible to avoid all these potential issues completely, try to keep a towel at hand to soak up any excess water from the surface of your floor quickly and efficiently before it has time to soak into the wood.
If you have had your wood floor installed by a professional, it will have a sealant such as wax or polyurethane already applied to protect it. If you have had your hardwood floor installed for many years or you are moving into a property with an old-looking wood floor, it’s important to reseal your wood as soon as possible. Sealants essentially act as a barrier between your beautiful wood and the everyday stressors of the outside world like water, dirt, grit, and food but will need replacing every few years to ensure they’re doing their job properly.
It’s important to keep in mind that although a sealant does a good job of stopping any liquids from seeping into your wood straight away, they are not waterproof. If water is left to sit on top of or underneath your hardwood floors for a longer period of time, it will still soak in and lead to water damage, so make sure to mop up your spills pronto!
On top of using sealants, consider adding rugs, mats or other types of floor coverings on top of your wood for further protection. Rugs not only make a room feel more homely and add depth, but they can work wonders for preventing any dirt or water from making its way onto your wood. We recommend placing rugs in your main living areas and by each entryway to your home so they can protect the wood from any water or dirt carried in on shoes or coats from outside.
Another way to help avoid potential water damage to your wood floor is to have a regular cleaning routine in place. Use gentle cleaning tools and avoid water-based products to sweep, vacuum and mop your floor on a regular basis to remove any dirt or water on the surface of your floorboards.
When mopping, be extra careful to ensure your mop is damp and not wet to catch any dirt without leaving excess moisture behind. We would recommend only mopping your hardwood floor when it really needs it and using a microfibre or extra soft mop head to avoid any scratches.
How to fix wood floor water damage…
Despite all your efforts to protect your hardwood floor from water damage, accidents can still happen. Here are some of the warning signs to look out for and tips on how to approach fixing water damage before it gets out of hand.
There are a few main signs of wood floor water damage to look out for:
- Cupping – hardwood floorboards expand due to the excess moisture absorbed which pushes the boards together and causes them to drop and curve down towards the centre.
- Crowning – the opposite effect of cupping where the floorboards rise up in the centre as the water causes them to push together producing a curved effect.
- Buckling – a more noticeable and irreversible type of damaged caused by the floorboards crowning so much that they eventually raise up from the ground.
- Dark spots – can signal mould or mildew.
- Gaps and cracks.
Refinishing or replacing
If you’ve noticed any of the common warning signs of a water-damaged wood floor above, you will need to look at refinishing or even replacing your wood floor depending on the severity of the damage.
Crowned floorboards can be easily sanded down by a professional wood floor restoration team to return them to their original shape. At Quicksand Flooring, we have years of experience in fixing wood floor damages, dealing with a wide range of issues related to worn or uneven surfaces. Alternatively, if your water damage has caused the raising or cracking of floorboards, you can have some or all of your floor replaced. Get in touch with our team of hardwood floor experts for advice or a free quote today.