First, don’t panic, but do take action immediately. Solid hardwood is porous, which means it soaks up water immediately. That can result in some pretty serious damage, such as warping, buckling or cupping.
Don’t think you’re safe if you’ve used a sealant on them, either. The hardwood will still absorb, but only slower. Sealants add an element of water-resistance, but they don’t waterproof.
The first thing is to remove any wet furnishings or rugs. When we experienced a hurricane, three of us got together within hours to remove a soaked rug, which must have weighed well over 1200 pounds with the water. It wasn’t pleasant to do, but if we had left it, more water would have seeped into the wood floor, making it completely unrepairable.
Second, take steps to dry the floor. This includes the following steps:
1.Wipe as much as possible with towels, rags and mops.
2.Use a wet vacuum for larger puddles. Wet/dry vacuums are a little different than the dry ones; they have two buckets that separate liquids and small, hard objects, such as crumbs or dust. Then they go into two separate chambers. And keep using it, even when you think you don’t see any more water, because it can still be hiding under the planks, or in the pores.
3.Use a cleaner or detergent. We know, this sounds counter-intuitive, since you’re now adding liquid to something where the goal was to wipe it up. But when there’s a flood, tropical storm or hurricane, there will be a lot of dirt, debris and bacteria which will only hurt the hardwood even more. Check with your flooring retailer for a manufacturer-approved soap. Get rid of any excess liquid with the wet vacuum.
4.Look for mold and mildew. Check the wood carefully; you’ll probably be able to see it, but you certainly will be able to smell it. If there’s any doubt at all in your mind, call a professional to inspect, since this can create health problems, especially for those with allergies and asthma.
5.Dry well. Use plenty of fans and dehumidifiers. It’s also a good idea to rent a moisture testing tool.
What about Engineered Hardwood?
Engineered wood is more stable and water-resistant than solid, and it withstands humidity and other changes in weather.
A puddle is a puddle, however, and a flood is a flood. Use care, never submerge it in water, and if it does get wet, follow these steps.
Routine care will add years to its life!
For more information, come into The Flooring Center showrooms; we have two (2) in Orlando, as well as one in New Smyrna Beach and one in Lake Mary, FL.