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Saving Hardwood Floors After Flood Damage

December 22, 2021 | Flood Damage

Saving Hardwood Floors After Flood Damage

While the 21st century has brought many homeowners a vast array of modern, even futuristic building materials and surfaces, there is still a lot of appeal in old-fashioned wood. The hardwood floor has both an aesthetic and a literal warmth to it that colder, harder walking surfaces like stone tile just can’t match.

However, those harder stone and artificial surfaces are also more resistant to water damage. Wood, being organic, has the characteristic of being water absorbent, not repellant, so unless it has been treated, it can damage easily when exposed to water.

This is where the danger of flooding comes in. Because there is so much water, a conventional layer of varnish can’t resist it, especially for hours, or even days, of submersion. But even in this extreme case, it may still be possible to save a hardwood floor under specific conditions.

The Floor Must Be Genuine Hardwood

The most important criteria for a hardwood floor to be recovered is that it must be actual, traditional hardwood. If you have laminate, pre-engineered flooring, or something made from composite wood materials, the water penetration will be too severe for recovery.

Long strips of genuine, solid wood, however, can be saved. If you had invested in quality hardwood flooring, some of that investment might pay off now, as it makes a recovery feasible. However, that recovery is dependent on another major factor, and that is the time frame.

It Must Be Soon

There are certain circumstances surrounding a hardwood floor recovery, and one of the keys is speed. The faster water can be removed from contact with a hardwood floor, the greater the chances are of a successful recovery. The general rule of thumb is that if a hardwood floor can have water removed from it within 24 hours, the chances of a successful recovery are higher.

If the wood is exposed to any longer a period than this, then one of the first big hurdles to recovery occurs, and that is warping. Because wood is naturally absorbent, it will soak up the water given enough time. When it does that, its shape will change as it expands, and it is during this expansion that warping can occur. The formerly long, straight, level lines of wood are now bumpy with dips and curves.

Drying Out The Wood

The process of hardwood floor recovery is not just about getting water away from the flooring, although that’s an important first step. Actual recovery comes in the form of extracting the moisture that has already penetrated through the wood.

Techniques, such as using Injectadry system, a series of specialized drying and dehumidifying mats, can penetrate deep through the wood to remove moisture. This takes a longer amount of time than a straightforward drying process, such as blasting the wood with hot air, but it also guarantees that it’s not just the top layer of wood that is dry. Once the process is complete, resanding and refinishing are likely required.

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

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