Posted on June 11, 2023
Hardwood floors bring beauty, warmth, and value to a home, but they also require care and maintenance. Of all the threats to hardwood floors, one of the most damaging is water. This comprehensive guide will explain why water is the biggest enemy of hardwood floors and provide practical tips for preventing and addressing water damage.
Hardwood floors are highly sensitive to their surrounding environment, particularly when it comes to moisture. When exposed to water, hardwood floors can experience various types of damage, such as warping, cupping, crowning, and buckling. Prolonged exposure to water can also lead to discoloration, mold growth, and structural damage.
Understanding the types of water damage can help you identify potential issues early and take appropriate corrective action.
When exposed to water for an extended period, wood fibers absorb moisture and swell. This causes the shape of the boards to distort, resulting in warping.
Cupping occurs when the edges of the wood planks rise while the center dips down, creating a concave appearance. This happens when a moisture imbalance exists, with more water underneath the wood than on top.
The opposite of cupping, crowning happens when the center of the wood plank is higher than the edges. This is usually due to excessive moisture on the top of the wood.
The most extreme type of water damage, buckling, occurs when the wood floorboards lift several inches off the underlying surface. This usually happens after a significant water event, like flooding.
While hardwood floors are susceptible to water damage, there are several preventive measures you can take to protect them.
Regular cleaning can prevent spills and moisture from settling on your floors. However, avoid using excessive water when cleaning hardwood floors. Instead, use a slightly damp mop and immediately dry the surface afterward.
Place mats and rugs in areas prone to spills, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and entryways. Mats can absorb moisture and provide a layer of protection for your floors.
If a spill occurs, clean it up immediately. Don’t give the water a chance to penetrate the wood’s surface.
Maintain a consistent indoor humidity level between 30% and 50% to prevent moisture-induced wood expansion and contraction.
Regularly reseal your hardwood floors as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to protect them from moisture damage.
If your hardwood floors suffer water damage, swift action is crucial to minimize the impact and restore your floors.
Start by removing any standing water on the floor. Use a mop, towels, or a wet vacuum to do this.
Use fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters to speed up the drying process. The aim is to remove as much moisture as possible from the wood.
Once the floor is dry, assess the damage. Look for signs of warping, cupping, or crowning. Some minor damage may correct itself over time as the wood naturally contracts back into shape.
If the damage is more serious, sanding and refinishing might be needed. Depending on the extent of the damage, this can be a DIY project or require a professional.
In severe cases, such as when buckling occurs, you may need to replace the damaged floorboards. Consult with a professional to ensure this is done correctly.
Water is indeed one of the biggest threats to hardwood floors, but with the right preventive measures and prompt action in case of damage, you can protect and preserve your beautiful hardwood floors. Remember, the key lies in prevention and early detection of potential water damage.
We provide virtually dust-free sanding with our continuous belt machinery with mobile extraction units, giving you a safer environment for your family.
This organic finish not only adds beauty to your home but also has exceptional water-repellent characteristics, making it easier to clean and maintain.
This natural floor finish offers the softest and most mellow appearance – and leaves your floor able to breath.
Using soft buffing machines (and hand-polishing where required) will bring a wonderful sheen to your newly-finished floor.
We offer a full assessment of your wooden floors to determine what repairs are needed to provide the perfect working surface for the later stages of sanding, staining and sealing.
We offer a comprehensive restoration process designed to address floors that are improperly fitted or damaged over time through wear and tear.
Simply enter your postcode below to get started.