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Repair Or Replace Water-Damaged Wood Floors?
Is your hardwood floor swollen and ballooning? Well, there is no doubt that the reason for such issues is excessive moisture. Moisture affecting the condition of your floor is also known as water damage and it is a pretty common problem that can happen to everyone.
While superficial water damage is nothing to worry about since it is easy to fix and often just wiping off the excess water and treating the light stain with simple households remedies is enough, if the water damage is more serious and moisture penetrated through the finish and affects the condition of the floorboards, you may find yourself wondering – is it worth it to go through all the hassle of repairing it or it will be smarter to replace the floor.
Real wood flooring is, unfortunately, prone to water damage. Even when cut into floorboards, wood remains a natural product with its natural reaction to changes in its environment such as temperature fluctuations, increased moisture level, and humidity. Once your real wood floor becomes a subject of such changes and the issues that could be caused by these changes, the floorboards will start contracting and expanding which can lead to a number of issues, including cupping, ballooning of the floorboards. Today we will help you learn more about how moisture and water damage affects the condition of the floor and what is the better decision for your situation – either to replace the floor or repair it.
How Does Hardwood Flooring Reacts to Increased Moisture Levels?
Wood has a porous structure. Once the levels of indoor moisture content and humidity increase, the hardwood floorboards start contracting and expanding. While in most cases this natural movement is nothing to worry about and the floor will soon be back to its original condition, in some cases a bunch of issues may be caused by excessive movement. Some of the most common issues arising from increased moisture levels and water damage include cupping and ballooning of the floorboards, which may impact the condition of the finish as well as the condition of the floorboards, leading to breaking and impact to the overall structural integrity of the floor.
Gaps between the floorboards may start appearing too and this impacts the insulation of the floor as well as its sturdiness. In general, besides the fact that moisture damage impacts the appearance of the floor, it mainly affects its condition. Depending on where the moisture comes from, you can expect different issues with your wooden floor. For example, if increased moisture levels are caused by some problems with the subfloor, hardwood flooring forms convex and it swells up, the middle of the rods curves up and could come up. In case that moisture penetrates from the surface of the floor, however, the deformations could be concave, which is the so-called bowl effect where the floorboards deform like a bowl with the edges of the floorboards curling upwards.
Causes for Water Damage
There are many reasons why water and moisture damage could affect your hardwood floor. Inappropriate cleaning when excessive water is used, an inappropriate installation where the subfloor, most often a concrete one, is not completely dry, spills and splashes of water and other liquids, increased humidity levels and indoor moisture content, leaks from the roofing or your washing machine, for example, and more. While most of the causes for water damage can be spotted immediately, there are some causes for moisture issues that remain hidden. If left untreated for a longer period of time, the floor may be damaged to the point beyond repair.
Water and Moisture Damage – What to Do Now?
No matter the reason that causes moisture or water damage to your hardwood floor, if you have noticed the problem you are probably wondering what to do now. The quicker the damage is treated and repaired, the easier it will be to fix the problem and fewer consequences you can expect, of course, the most likely it would be that your hardwood floor will be fully repaired and fixed. Therefore, acting quickly when you spot water damage is crucial. This is the key to avoiding permanent damage and it will also prevent the formation of mould.
Thankfully, most water and moisture damages are not that serious and a professional wood floor repair and restoration service could deal with the problem with no consequences for your favourite wooden floor. You can consider that a wooden floor is damaged beyond repair in case water is left affecting the floor for a long time or in case hardwood floor elements are in the “float”. One of the great advantages coming with hardwood flooring is that if the water damage is affecting just an area of the floor, spot repair is available and you don’t have to invest a lot of money into a service targeted to the whole flooring structure. The cost of repair service will depend on whether or not the whole floor must be repaired or only an area of it as well as the extent of the damage.
Superficial Water Damage – How to Treat It
Now, you are lucky enough if the water damage you are dealing with is a superficial one and affect only the surface of the floor. If moisture does not penetrate through the finish and into the floorboards’ structure, it is pretty easy to fix the damage. The first thing you need to do is wiping the water or liquid as soon as you can. Use a dry and clean cloth or rag to do that. Afterwards, the hardwood must dry completely.
However, if you are not able to wipe off the water quickly or you have spotted it a bit later, there is a chance that the finish of the floor will be slightly affected. First off, you want to have a dehumidifier in the room. In addition, keep the doors and windows in the room closed as much as possible during the entire drying phase. Finally, we recommend you to have a wood flooring specialist inspecting your floor in order to be sure the moisture has not penetrated through the finish and what should be the next thing you need to do in order to fully fix the floor.