The Ultimate Guide to Repairing Water Damaged Flooring
Leaky pipes, flooding, and rainy seasons are all problems that wood flooring faces. If left untreated, excess moisture can cause flooding problems.
This guide is divided into four sections so you can find the best solution.
- How to identify water damage
- Restoring or replacing the floors
- Fixing the floors will cost you approximately $600
- Prevention is key to the future.
Step 1 – Identifying Wood Floor Water Damage
Water damage symptoms can appear in many forms, including moulding and warping. Certain types of flooring are more susceptible to water absorption than others. These are the most common types of water damage that can occur in wood flooring:
Floorboard warping is the most common sign of direct water exposure or high humidity. This is not a problem in most cases, but it can be a concern in some cases. While a small amount of warping won’t affect the structural integrity or cause health problems, it can indicate a bigger problem that can lead to more serious issues.
Subfloor Moisture Warping:
When the rainwater cannot drain into the ground quickly enough, high subfloor moisture is more prevalent. This is especially true for properties that are located on low ground, where standing water can accumulate.
Subfloor moisture can seep into the subfloor and cause severe damage to the floorboards. You must take immediate action if you have subfloor moisture (Plywood or Yellow Tongue, Battens and Timber).
Recommendation: First, address the elephant in your room. Contact your local council to arrange for a builder who will inspect the area and find permanent solutions. It is not enough to change the flooring.
To check the subfloor condition, you will need to take out the warping floorboards. You don’t need to dry the subfloor if it isn’t damaged by the water and in good condition before you install new flooring. To prevent moisture from entering, you will need to consult a licensed builder. FloorVenue recommends waterproof flooring.
Warping with Leaking Pipes
Similar to the above, leaky underfloor pipes can cause high moisture-induced floorboard warping. This is more common in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
Recommendation: Before you replace the flooring, it is important to identify and fix any leaky pipes. Drying the subfloor wet will take up to seven days if there is no standing water. Fans and other ventilation tools can speed up drying.
Mopping with excess water:
The most common mistake is constant moisture from mopping laminate, hardwood, or other wood floors. A prolonged period of mopping with excessive water can cause bubbling and cupping. This can lead to water seeping into the subfloor. It may need drying, and make it more difficult to repair.
Recommendation: If there is minimal damage, you can salvage solid timber by sanding the surface to its original condition and polishing it for a new look. Bamboo floors are extremely water-repellent and laminate cannot be sanded. It is likely that the affected areas will need to be repaired or replaced.
Wooden floorboards can darken due to spot exposure’ to water. Floors can discolour especially in natural materials such as bamboo flooring, engineered timber, and solid timber. This can be caused by mould growth, or a chemical called tannin in the wood reacting to minerals in the rain.
Flooring discolouration is most common near windows and sliding doors that are not closed during heavy rains. This can cause discolouration in the long term by exposing the same area to more moisture (and sunlight) than usual.
Recommendation: Sanding and polishing the flooring is the best solution in most cases of flooring discolouration. If the discolouration is not below the surface, then sanding and polishing will only work. In this case, floorboard replacement may be required.
Discolouration due to pet accidents:
Flooring discolouration can be caused by cats and dogs that aren’t potty-trained.
Recommendation: Clean it immediately with vinegar and water. If you are unfortunate enough to find the stain after the water has dried, you may need to repair it.
Discolouration From Indoor Pot Plants:
Indoor pot plants that receive regular watering are another way discolouration could occur. FloorVenue is often contacted by clients looking for solutions to discolouration in their indoor pot plants.
Recommendation: If the discolouration is not severe, solid timber can be easily sanded and refinished. If the discolouration is severe, you will need to replace the planks. Laminate and bamboo floors also need to be replaced.
Mould colonies can cause health and respiratory problems, as well as bad odours. This can be caused by prolonged exposure in areas with high moisture levels, particularly low-light areas. Mould can damage wood, plastic and stone flooring.
Recommendation: Bamboo and timber floors can be sanded and bleached to kill bacteria, before being polished for a new look. Vinyl planks, laminate flooring, and hybrid flooring made of synthetic materials must be cleaned with chemical cleaners. They cannot be polished or sanded like natural materials.
Step 2: Repair Vs Replace Flooring
It is best to repair the floor if it isn’t flooded. A simple repair will suffice and save you money.
What is the difference between replacing and repairing flooring?
- To repair floors, you will need to sand and polish the floor or replace a few planks. This is done in order to fix damaged areas. For small repairs and isolated damage, it is recommended to use a repair service.
- Replacing flooring is ripping out the old flooring and installing new flooring in the entire space or building. For large-scale water damage, such as subfloor flooding, it is recommended to replace the flooring. This is also an opportunity to install waterproof floorings such as vinyl or hybrid floors.
The extent and severity of the subfloor and floors’ water damage will determine whether or not you repair or replace them. A flooring expert should be contacted immediately to perform an inspection on-site. FloorVenue provides free inspections on-site at your request.
Step 3 – Cost of Repairing Water Damaged Flooring
Professionals are encouraged because they will only have to pay for supplies to repair damaged floorboards. Water damaged wood flooring can be more difficult than other floorboard replacements or installations. We HIGHLY recommend that you leave it to professionals.
Step 4 – Preventing water damage to wood floors
We now know how to fix water damaged flooring. It is time to learn how to prevent the same problem from happening again. A wise man once said:
“The best way to solve a problem before it starts”
Although there are many options to protect your floors from water damage, one solution is universally accepted: Waterproof Flooring.
You should also consider increasing ventilation under floors, which is something that builders can do.
Waterproof Flooring Options
- Porcelain & Ceramic tiles – Tiles are the best flooring for wet areas. They can withstand any type of moisture or water. Although porcelain tiles are stronger and more porous than ceramic tiles they are also slightly more expensive. Both can do the job.
- Hybrid Flooring – These floors combine the best qualities of both laminate flooring’s durability with vinyl flooring’s waterproofing. They come in two types: Stone-Plastic Composites and Wood-Plastic Composites. Both are waterproof and look just like real timber. You can also explore hybrid flooring!
- Vinyl Plank Flooring – Vinyl floors are made from polyvinyl chloride, which is a type of plastic. Vinyl floors can be used in both commercial and residential areas and are waterproof. See our entire range of vinyl flooring!
- Laminate Flooring – This flooring product is great for homes and commercial properties alike. It’s a great option for waterproofing your home or business’s interior and exterior and is also extremely durable.
Tips for Protecting Wood Flooring:
- Entrance mats – This is the best way to prevent water damage to flooring. It is as simple as drying your shoes and taking them off that can make a huge difference.
- Water Resistant Floorlay – A moisture barrier underlayment is the next best option for waterproof flooring. It should be installed between your floorboards and subfloor. In areas with high humidity, moisture barriers can be especially helpful.
- Wipe up Spills – When you notice a small spillage or puddle on your wooden floors, it should be done immediately. Allowing your floorboards to soak up water is a sure way to see bubbling.
Conclusion – Water Damaged Flooring
Too long, didn’t read? We have a shorter version that will allow you to summarize it all!
You can make your floors waterproof by using tiles, vinyl planks, or hybrid flooring. For wood flooring, make sure to use water-resistant underlayment, and entrance mats, and be diligent in wiping up any spills.
Causes of water damaged flooring
Leaking water pipes – Leaking water pipes in the bathroom, laundry, kitchen, basement or any other part of the house or business, particularly in areas with carpet can cause severe water damage if left unchecked. They can also make your property structurally unsound and unsafe and cause injuries or even death. It’s best to get a local plumber in to check leaking water pipes so they can fix any water leaks.
Heavy rain or severe weather – Thunderstorms, cyclones, floods and other natural disasters will cause water damage to properties. Sometimes severe water damage can occur in rare and sometimes catastrophic weather events.
There are many other causes of water damage to flooring such as carpets and timber that can occur. Keep a good eye on your flooring, because it can cost you a lot more in the long and short term if the damage has already been done and not prevented or stopped in time.
Repairing water damaged floors:
First, identify the source of the water damage. Leaks and subfloor moisture/flooding are indicators of warping. To determine the reason, you should contact a flooring specialist immediately. FloorVenue provides free inspections on-site at your request.
It is possible to repair the floorboard by yourself, replacing damaged planks or hiring a professional if the problem is obvious.