Solid hardwood floors stand a better chance at being saved after a flood than engineered hardwood floors do. |
The longer the water has sat on the hardwood flooring, the more extensive the damage will likely be. The wood species you have will also play a factor in this. Harder species will absorb water at a much slower rate compared to softer hardwood. More porous or loose grained woods will absorb water and contaminants faster than tight grained or less porous woods will.
You have to remember to keep the hardwood floor dry and clean at all times. However, accidents do happen, and it's something that we cannot always avoid. Therefore, you must have equipment ready to deal with a water-stained hardwood floor.
After a flood, you'll have to dry out the wood so that the moisture levels in the planks return to normal moisture levels, regardless if it's solid or engineered, and eradicate any mold if you can. Determining the moisture levels in the planks is done through moisture testing. A professional hardwood flooring installer can help you determine if you only need to dry the floor out further, if you'll need to refinish it or replace parts or all of it.
The first thing you have to do is to remove excess moisture immediately. If any mud or silt is present use a non-abrasive brush and non-sudsing detergent to remove it from the floor entirely. Be sure to get any dirt out of all corners and cracks, and follow up with a thorough scrubbing, using a regular wood floor cleaning product.
If the floor cups as a result of the flooding, complete drying of the floor is necessary. In homes with a controlled heating system, turn of any humidification system and heat the residence to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Set furnace blowers on manual and let them run continuously. If there is no controlled heating system, open all doors and windows on a dry, non-humid day to promote ventilation.
If the floor has separated from the sub-floor and has loosened, then you will notice buckling. Buckling means that there is still some excess moisture under the floor, and most likely that you will need to replace the damaged area. Repairs should not be attempted until the floor system and the floor itself are completely dry.
After the flooring system is dry, there are still a few more problems that may arise, including mold and mildew. Clean mildew by scrubbing with a mild alkaline solution such as four to six tablespoons of washing soda mixed with every gallon of water. Rinse the floor well with clear water and allow it to dry thoroughly, and refinish it with a mildew-resistant finish. To remove mildew stains or molds from unpainted wood, add four to five tablespoons of borax to each gallon of warm soapy water and wash the wood. Dry it immediately by rubbing it with absorbent cloth.
However, if mold has grown beneath the varnish and into the wood, then the finish will have to be removed. Scrub the wood with an abrasive cleaner and add four to five tablespoons of borax to each gallon of warm soapy water. Afterwards, sand the wood and bleach any remaining spots. Wash the surface with a very weak ammonia solution, about two tablespoons of ammonia per quart of water. Rinse with warm clear water and allow to dry fully.
In the meantime, what you can do is:
Open all the windows and doors to the home to allow airflow into the house, to safely start the drying process.
Remember, there's always hope for a flooded hardwood floor, but the remedies will certainly be a long and hard process. Just be patient with the drying and repairing processes. It may take weeks or even months before the floor will fully stabilize and for remaining cupped areas to flatten out.
For more helpful tips, check out our main page here:
Auckland flood restorations
Related Articles -
Flood, floods, flooded, flood restoration Auckland, carpet dryer, dehumidifier, carpet drying, water damage restoration Auckland, flood restorations,