Water Damage

How to Deal with Water Damage for Hardwood Flooring

Whether its a bad rain storm or hurricane season, the low-lying Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake areas are prone to flooding that can damage your flooring. Especially for owners with valuable hardwood flooring, water damage can be an extreme cause for concern.

Time is key here, but if you act quickly, you can potentially save yourself a lot of hassle and money. If you are concerned about water damage and your hardwood flooring, here’s some steps you can take to minimize the damage.

Calling on Professionals for Water Damage

First of all, the best bet for most cases is to work with a professional company that specializes in flood damage recovery. The key in this case though is that you should not wait to contact them! When dealing with flood damage, waiting can cost you your flooring altogether and put you at risk to mold. Additionally, during widespread flooding like we often have, they get flooded with calls so don’t put it off!

Another professional to keep in mind is your insurance company. If it’s flooding having to do with your home mechanically or structurally, many home insurance accounts will cover it. If it’s flooding from a storm, flood insurance can be a tremendous aid. Just make sure that you keep receipts for any purchases you make like these!

Why You Need to Act Quickly

Hardwood floors absorb water over time as long as there’s standing water. The faster you can remove standing water, the less damage you will have to deal with. If you can act within 24 hours, that is ideal, as it only takes 48-72 hours for mold to begin growing in your flooring according to the EPA.

Additionally, when wood gets waterlogged, it begins to expand and warp the planks. If you have engineered hardwood, though it may not soak into the wood itself, it will seep down between cracks and affect the glue holding your flooring in place.

The goal of our actions at this point is to try to limit the damage to only needing refinishing, a less expensive outcome than completely replacing your flooring. If we can prevent mold and preserve the structural integrity of your flooring planks, it will be a win!

Step 1: Stop Any Sources of Water Coming In

Whether it’s a leaking pipe or a hole caused by storm damage, identify where the water is coming in and make sure it’s plugged up. If you skip this step, you’ll end up fighting an uphill battle with little success!

Step 2: Remove All Wet Items Out of Danger

Whatever you can move to dry ground, make sure you do this quickly. On one hand, you want to avoid water damage on those items too, but they can also prevent our later steps from being effective like using fans to evaporate standing water.

Step 3: Use a Wet Vacuum to Remove Puddles

Wet vacs are a great start because they can help you suck up a large amount of water quickly rather than waiting on evaporation. Even after you’ve sucked up all the visible puddles, keep going over the surfaces because the wet vac should continue to soak up water even though you can’t quite see it.

Step 4: Break Out Disinfectant

This is a small but significant step to helping prevent mold growth. If you use a product like Mr. Clean, this will help preserve your flooring even in the midst of the damp environment.

Step 5: Dehumidifiers Clear the Air

We recommend one dehumidifier per room if you can swing it. Dehumidifiers are great for helping eliminate the damp air that a wet vac just can’t get. You’ll probably have to run them for a least a day, if not 2 or 3.

Step 6: Utilize Large Fans for Evaporation

Using large box fans (or any portable fans you have laying around) can help speed up the evaporation process. If it’s not humid outside, open windows and doors as possible to further speed this up.

Step 7: Check for Mildew

Once you’ve successfully dried out all you can, you’ll want to check for any mold or mildew. If you find any, get to work quickly scrubbing with a baking soda-water mix. If you really want to be sure though, we recommend you consult a specialist.

Step 8: Decide on Refinishing or Replacement

At this point, if you think you’ve done enough to refinish the wood instead of replace it, congratulations! If you need help figuring out which path is right for you, come in and chat with us. We can help you figure out if you’re able to take the refinishing route or if your family is at risk of continued mold presence.

The Floor Trader Showrooms are independently owned and operated. Prices, products and services provided may vary by location.

The Floor Trader Showrooms are independently owned and operated. Prices, products and services provided may vary by location.