Repairing Damage to Wooden flooring? Yes, you can!​

Wooden flooring doesn’t come with a waterproof guarantee.

There is no magic coating that can stop water from egressing between the boards and causing damage.

So, when you have a water leak, major spill and/or flooding strikes, wooden floors are unfortunately collateral damage. Water damage generally spreads above and below floorboards (and tracks a deceptively long way from the source), which can compromise the  look, value and the health of your home.

Fortunately, not all water damage is created equal, so if you find yourself looking down the barrel of a burst pipe, leaking hot water cylinder or flooding from a natural disaster, there are ways to remedy or minimize the damage from settling in for the long run.

Let’s take a look. 


Looking for a sign

When it comes to water damage, small spills on the surface are typically easier to spot and deal with as the coating on your floor will protect or minimize any damage that may occur. However, larger water spills from flooding (eg. the kitchen sink overflowing) or leaks are more challenging and harder to contain. It can also be a lot harder to pinpoint the exact source and spread of water.

Often water will find its way between boards, and permeate underfoot. This can cause swelling, twisting and warping. One telling factor of extensive water damage from below is the rising odour if your leak has gone undetected for a period of time. Odour can indicate mildew and mould – both above and beneath floorboards.

Another key sign to search for is crowning or peaking between the planks of your wooden floors.
Crowning, or a bubbling up on the surface, typically means there’s more moisture on the top layer of your floor and is usually caused by a direct water or moisture hit to your boards.

Other key signs to keep watch for is discolouration, bulging and peaking on the edges of the planks in your wooden floor – these can be signs of long-term water damage from a slow leak, a collection of water overtime, or a large volume of water being absorbed and spreading through planks.

In the case of a large-scale water disaster, calling in a water damage mitigation team within 24 hours to help minimize the damage is essential in the race to save floors!


It’s all about the timing

Natural disasters or pipes gone wild, mitigating water damage to your wooden floors is both doable and achievable. So, once you’ve pinned down where the water’s coming from, stopping the stem is the first step. Getting all objects and furniture off the wet flooring and removing any standing water is paramount.  Towels, rags and absorbent cloths can all help win the race.


Clean, clean, clean, dry, dry, dry

It’s not just water that damages and destroys wooden floors – organic matter such as silt and debris may have found their way in too. So, getting your wooden flooring cleaned up and removing as much muck and mud as possible all aids in the removal of moisture build up from these unwanted culprits.
It is really important so be as thorough as possible.

Next, the drying factor. This means wiping down, mopping up, bringing in dehumidifiers, big fans or blowers and creating as much dry air flow as possible. By creating a well-ventilated space, the air circulates a lot better and floors will dry out faster.


Assess and inspect

There is no rule book when it comes to wooden floors and water damage. Sometimes you may have a minor fix and get away with a sand and coat once the flooring has dried out or (in most cases), you’ll need to call in the big guns. Once you’ve removed, cleaned and dried, it’s time to inspect and assess. Just be sure to keep the ventilation and drying systems up and running while you do this because that moisture loves to hang about. Here’s what you may uncover.

If your wooden floors are still swollen, this can be a humidity issue, so enlisting a dehumidifier for an extended period will help to capture this excess moisture.  Also check any underfloor insulation is in place properly as that stops a lot of moisture rising up into your floors.

       If your wooden floorboards have expanded, there’s a good chance water has infiltrated into the core of the boards and if you have a particle board subfloor, chances are your subfloor is wet too. In cases like this, uplifting the flooring and assessing what else is going on is really important. Sometimes the floor has been too badly affected by the water / flooding issue and is quite simply not salvageable.

       If mould is present this could indicate both a surface and/or deeper issue. With surface mould on wooden flooring, thoroughly drying the area and applying a cleaning solution is often an effective treatment.

       To determine if mould has penetrated below the top layer of wood, gently press a screwdriver into the affected areas. If the wood is spongey, it is likely that water has spread to the underside of the boards and rot has set in

       Give us a call if you have any questions on this and we can advise on either the best repairs or look at other options.


Wooden we know


Water damage and disaster doesn’t have to spell the end of your wooden floors. Contact us today if you have any questions and we can advise you on your potential repair options. We may even be able to help with advice if insurance is the best option.