After 3 days if drying has not started mold growth under the wet floor is possible. There is usually a piece of paper under the wood that is installed when the floor is being layed out. This is used to prevent squeaking of the wood floor when you walk on it. This piece of paper can start to experience mold damage after approximately 3 days or more.So it might be possible to save and flatten the cupped wood floor but it is probably a better idea to remove the damaged wood floor if it has been wet for an extended period of time. |
Is there anything you can do if major amounts of water--floor-related or not--has come into contact with your wood floor? When your hardwood floor gets wet, it can be a real disaster. At first the damage is not very obvious, you wipe the wet wood off with a towel and all seems fine.
If the wet area of the floor is a smaller percentage of the total square footage then drying out the floor is very cost effective. But as the percentage of wet area increases the benefit is less. It is always cheaper to dry out the floor, BUT, drying out wet wood flooring is not always successful. So if the whole floor is wet, and the drying fails, now you have two bills. One for drying, and one for replacement of the floor.
Drying Wood Floors
This is not an exact science, it requires experience to know how to properly and efficiently dry a wet hardwood floor and when this is an appropriate method to use. If the floorboards have been wet for too long then the boards will not only suffer cupping and warping, but will be bucking or coming right up off the sub floor. When the flooded floor is this damaged repair is not advisable, remove the water damaged floor. Generally speaking if drying the wet floor starts within the first day to day and a half the wet hardwood floor can be saved with no damage at all, the wet cupped floor will flatten and the finish can be saved. After the floor has been wet for more than 1.5 days, the floor has a 90% chance at flattening out the cupping, but a 10% chance there will still be some cupped boards. The soaked floor will be dry, but will need to be refinished.Wet hardwood floors that have been wet for more than 3 days are tougher to dry out and have less of a success ratio.
Excess moisture from the flooded condition must be removed immediately. If cupping of flooring is the only adverse result, drying of the floor is necessary. The use of fans and dehumidifiersfrom the interior of the home or below the floor system (i.e. crawl space, if possible) may be all that is necessary to remove the cup. In homes with forced air heat, turn off any humidification and heat the residence to 76°- 80° F. Set furnace blower on manual to run continuously.
After the flooring has flattened from the drying procedures, screening, filling, and re- coating could be sufficient for repair, if no permanent staining has occurred. If the floor is water stained, re-finishing may be necessary. If the water has been removed and cupping is prominent (buckling not present) light sanding directly across the grain of the flooring to remove the finish is required (this procedure should be done by a professional). Since the sanding drum follows the contour of the cup, flooring edges are not removed, which helps prevent crowning later. The sanding procedure allows the excess moisture in the flooring to dissipate faster. Do not sand the floor to bare wood, simply remove a majority of the finish. If the floor has cupped and buckled, excess moisture probably remains in the flooring and floor system. Since the floor has also separated from the subfloor (buckled) and has loosened, replacement of the damaged and surrounding area is generally the procedure for repair.
The excess moisture remaining in the under floor system should be completely removed before re-installation and finishing. If the flooring is installed over plywood attached to a slab, removal of the entire system is normally required. In any case quick action to remove the induced flooded moisture is the first step in successful repair. Patience is also required as finished flooring and floor systems do not react and dry out overnight. It may take weeks for the flooring to flatten and/or stabilize.
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