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Can Hardwood Floors Be Saved From Water Damage?

July 28, 2021 | Flooring

Can Hardwood Floors Be Saved From Water Damage?

For many homeowners, nothing beats the warm look and feel of hardwood floors in a home. Wood always brings a cozier ambiance and, unlike stone surfaces, is not chilly to step on for people in bare feet. Depending on how it’s treated, there are no issues with traction on hardwood floors either, and it’s easy to walk on them and maintain both balance and grip.

However, as the name indicates, hardwood floors are made of wood. And unlike stone, which is resistant to water, wood is an organic substance originally growing as a water-absorbent material. This can mean that a flood or other form of heavy water damage can be disastrous, but is this always a guarantee of destroyed hardwood floors?

Hardwood Floor Water Damage – Warping and Mold

There are two primary threats when it comes to water damage with hardwood floors. The first is the one that most people are concerned with since it’s the most visible: physical warping. Unlike metal or stone floors, wood is highly susceptible to water. While the top layer can be treated with stains and varnishes to repel minor liquid incursions like spills, the wood itself is still a soft, porous material. This means that it will change its shape, deform, and no longer form a smooth, unbroken surface with enough water.

The other risk is perhaps the bigger one, and this is mold infestation. Some types of mold are capable of making people sick once the mold colony is big enough to send large amounts of spores into the air. People breathe in the spores and can suffer from various illnesses, from respiratory disorders to heart or even neural and brain illnesses.

The Possibility of Restoring or Repairing hardwood Floors After Water Damage

Every situation will be different, which means that while some flooding situations will leave some or all of a hardwood floor unrecoverable, this isn’t a 100% guaranteed outcome for every case. There will be other instances where it’s possible to repair and retain a hardwood floor, continuing to use it for years to come, even after a flood scenario has played out.

So what makes some hardwood floors require replacement, while others can be restored and continue to be relied upon? What are the differing circumstances?

Fast Water Extraction, Dry Out and Cleanup

One of the crucial factors is a swift response. Generally speaking, if water can be pumped out of a space within 24 hours, there’s a good chance the hardwood can be recovered. On the other hand, an area in the middle of an intense flood, with hardwood floors submerged under water for a week or more, will not be saved.

The other factor that determines success is the drying out process. Unlike clothing, where you can leave them outside in the sun to completely air dry in a few hours, the same doesn’t apply to a wooden surface. As a solid material, the interior can remain moist even if the surface appears dry. If the wood is not properly dried out, this can eventually lead to mold infestation, which now makes the hardwood a health risk, requiring immediate replacement for safety reasons.

If you need emergency services to help with issues like recovering hardwood floors from water damage, we can help. Contact us for more details.

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