Hardwood flooring can be tricky when it comes to a water spill or leak on the surface. Whether there’s been a flood or burst pipe, the amount of water that saturates the floor can cause minor to significant damage to the hardwood. Below are some steps and tips on assessing significant damage and determining if your floor can simply be repaired or needs replacing. 

Types of Water Damage on your Hardwood

Several contributing factors can lead to water damage on hardwood floors. Here are a few common causes of significant damage:

  1. Faulty appliances: Overflowing toilets or broken refrigerators are two well-known culprits for water damage to flooring or carpets.  The planks on the floor can start to buckle or cup, which causes bumps in the floor.
  2. Burst Pipe:  Frozen pipe bursts can cause sudden flooding. Even small leaks over time will create stains, odors, and mold under the floorboards.

  3. Major flooding: Major accidents or weather-related incidents are always a possibility, and water can rapidly fill your home. Standing water that is not dried out quickly will ultimately cause ruin to hardwood flooring. 


Is the Damage Really that Bad?

When you find that you have significant water damage to the hardwood floors in your home, an evaluation of the damage’s level and severity can help you determine whether a simple repair or full restoration may be needed.

  • Amount of water: The amount of water on hardwood floors directly correlates to the extent of the damage. The more water on the floor, the more damage you could have.
  • Length of time: Time is a significant factor. The longer water sits on a hardwood floor, the more damage it causes. If water has been on the floor more than 24 hours, the potential for replacing the entire floor is significantly greater. 
  • Where did the water come from?  
    • Clean water is a good sign! Less potential for harmful bacteria and safer to clean up.
    • Grey Water, often referred to as dirty water, usually comes from the dishwasher or an overflowing sink. 
    • Black water is the most dangerous as it comes from sewer leakage. The harmful pathogens and bacteria can cause illness and most likely the floors are too far damaged for basic repair.

Hiring a team of specialists is the best way to assess the type of damage your floors could have. They will run a variety of tests and inspection techniques with moisture readers and infrared cameras to determine an exact cause or source of the damage.  

Repairing or Replacing the Floor

The repair may be as simple as dry and replace. This would be using drying pads and industrial fans to help absorb and dry out excess water. Once the water is removed damaged floorboards can be replaced with new ones. Resurfacing efforts will help make the floor look good as new! 

The damage may be beyond the point of no return. In that scenario, replacing the complete floor will save time, money, and effort. Working with a  restoration company is the best option, as they can help walk you through all the steps to make sure the installation of your new floor is a great success!