How To Repair Water Damaged Floors

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Water damage can happen on the floors for different reasons; it could be an overflooded toilet, a running tap left open, or even worse, a flash flood. Whatever the cause, it’s usually a nightmare to repair the floors because things can get expensive.

Water damage can vary depending on the type of flooring, as some are more prone to damage than others. For instance, carpeted floors can develop mold or mildew. Hardwood and laminate flooring are especially vulnerable to water damage because wood tends to absorb water.

water damaged floor

Some flooring options are more resistant to water damage, or at least easier to restore. For example, vinyl flooring doesn’t absorb water, and warped vinyl panels can easily be replaced once the subfloor is thoroughly dried. Ceramic and porcelain tile flooring are especially great at withstanding water damage because only the grout tends to absorb water, making them essentially waterproof.

If you need help with water-damaged flooring, you can call ARS Idaho or other floor restoration companies. They have the tools and experience necessary to help repair the damage and make your floor look good as new. However, there may be times when the professionals are unavailable. If you have to deal with water-damaged floors on your own, here’s a basic guide to help you get good results.

Remove All Water

The first thing you need to do is remove all the water-soaked furniture in the room. This is especially true if you have cloth-lined couches and furniture with wooden legs, which tend to absorb a lot of water that would eventually be shed back to the floor surface. Clearing the room also makes it easier to restore the flooring because nothing will get in the way.

Next, soak up as much water as possible using towels, mops, and rags to get rid of water on the surface. After that, you can use a wet vacuum to get excess moisture that seeped into corners or between seams in your flooring.

To make sure the water is completely removed, use a dehumidifier set to the highest settings and keep it running for at least 24 hours. This will ensure that even water that a wet vacuum failed to get earlier can be dried up. You can also use fans aimed away at the floor to help reduce humidity.

polishing wet floor

Scrub The Floor

Depending on the type of flooring you have, you may need to use different methods to scrub off mud or debris that got deposited by the water. For instance, cleaning hardwood flooring up may be easier for concrete and tiles than hardwood and carpeted floors.

If it’s concrete or tiles, you can clean the floor surface as you normally would. Apply a cleaning solution using a clean rag to kill off bacteria, mold, and algae. Once the solution has dried off, use a brush or a rough towel to scrub off the dried dirt and sediments. Since this type of flooring is scratch-resistant, you can afford to use stiffer brushes to get rid of stubborn dirt.

Wood floors are a bit more difficult to clean. Instead of using vinegar-based or store-bought cleaning solution, you should use castile or dish soap. This is because some chemicals can cause discoloration or damage the finish of your wood floor. Also, instead of leaving the cleaning solution to dry, you need to dab it off with dry cloth almost immediately to prevent moisture from soaking into the wood. You may also have to stick to medium or soft bristles to avoid accidentally scratching the wood’s finish.

Carpeted floors require the most work, and it usually involves having to remove the carpet for a more thorough cleaning. This one is best left to the pros, especially since the debris may have to be softened up with special detergents or a steamer.

Find And Spot Treat Mold

Mold tends to grow in high-moisture places and it can pose a health risk if left unchecked. If you want to avoid the musty odor and prevent mold from causing respiratory issues, you’ll have to look for spots where mold tends to grow. Mold growths tend to appear as a cluster of black, fuzzy spots, so they’re fairly easy to identify. However, getting rid of them can be quite a challenge.

Once you confirm the presence of mold on your flooring, seal the affected room by hanging plastic sheets over doors and secure those with duct tape. The plastic will act as a barrier, preventing the spread of mold to other areas in your home.

If the mold is underneath the floor, you may have to remove the baseboard wall trim to get to the growths. If you find that the mold infestation is limited to a small area, you can just patch up the exact section, removing only the trim around the affected area.

If your floor is lined with vinyl or linoleum, you have to take care not to damage the lining when peeling it back. You may have to use a scraper to break the adhesive keeping the lining in place. Just slide the scraper underneath and gently pull the lining up as you go.

You can spot treat the mold by mixing one cup of borax with a gallon of water in a large bucket. You can spray the solution in the affected area or use a brush to coat the moldy spots with it. Let the cleaning solution sit for about ten to fifteen minutes; this should give it enough time to kill the mold. Scrub off the mold spot with a brush and reapply the cleaning solution if necessary.

After a few scrubs, you can let the solution dry off. Make sure the area is thoroughly dried since leftover moisture will just attract more mold. You can use a vacuum to remove any remaining bits of mold afterward.

Sand Your Floor

Sanding is usually done on hardwood flooring to get rid of scratches and stains. Before sanding a wood floor, make sure that floor coverings have been removed and that there are no nail heads sticking out of the surface. This will make it easier to sand the floor surface while also preventing damage to your sanding tools.

Start with an edging sander, working along where the floor meets the walls. Next, use a large drum sander, working on one small area after another to make sure every spot is properly sanded. Finish up by going over the entire area with a buffing machine.

Bottom Line

Repairing a damaged floor is difficult and best left to the professionals. However, it’s good to know that it’s still possible to restore water-damaged flooring as long as you know what to do and if the damage isn’t severe enough to warrant total flooring replacement. Keep these things in mind and you will have your floor good as new. 

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