When water floods into your home due to the weather or because you’ve had a pipe burst, it can lead to some major problems. If you have water on your wood flooring, you may think that you’re lucky—you could have had carpet! However, wood flooring can be damaged by water, too, especially if the water stands in the room for a good amount of time. There are a number of things that water, even if it’s mopped up quickly, can do to your lovely wooden floors. Here are a few things you need to be careful about.
Types of Wood Flooring
First, note that it doesn’t really matter what type of wood flooring you have. Solid wood, plank wood, engineered wood, and laminate wood can all be damaged by water. However, the damage is not always the same. Laminate and engineered woods, for example, are constructed very differently than solid and plank wood flooring. Laminate, in fact, isn’t even considered a true wood floor.
Solid Wood and Plank Wood Floors
The good news with these two types of flooring is that they’re made from solid wood. While that means they can warp with moisture, it also means you don’t have to worry about dealing with any composite materials, resins, or veneers. Water can make composite flooring come apart, but true hardwoods don’t have these issues. If the water damages the top part of the floor too much, you can always sand it down and refinish it. Even the worst damaged floors can be repaired, especially if they’re made from a very hard wood.
The harder woods are able to resist moisture for longer periods of time. It takes longer for harder wood to absorb moisture, but it also takes longer for it to release that moisture. If you have maple floors, for example, they may be able to last for three days or longer before the damage becomes severe. You have longer to deal with the water damage dry out process, which is good if you’re not at home when the flooding occurs. You also have to be careful with soft woods. Some can appear to only slightly warp even though they are actually heavily damaged.
Another issue you need to be concerned about is whether your hardwood flooring was pre-finished or finished once it was installed. If it was finished after being placed, that also reduces how quickly moisture is absorbed.
Engineered wood can actually withstand a little bit of water, but if they stand in water for too long, they’re going to be completely ruined. The top veneer layer, once damaged, can’t be repaired or refinished if it’s on the thin side. If it’s a little thicker, you may be able to refinish it once, but after that, you’ll need to redo the entire floor.
Laminate floors are the least tolerant of moisture. The fiberboard core will absorb a lot of water quickly and swell up. This swelling is permanent, so there’s nothing you can do except remove the flooring and start over.
What questions do you have about the damage water can do to wood flooring? Comment below to join the conversation or contact us today!