Moisture is the enemy of your hardwood floor. When the floor stays wet for too long or when moisture seeps between the floorboards, you can have a whole host of problems. A moist hardwood floor can expand and begin cupping, which is when the boards begin to warp. Also, mold and mildew can grow beneath the boards. All of this can lead to a floor in desperate need of repair or even replacement. Here is what to do when your floor is wet.
1 – Dry The Surface Quickly
When water is spilled on your floor, instead of water rising from underneath, you need to attempt to dry the floor as quickly as possible. Typically, water needs time to penetrate the wood or work its way between the floorboards. If you can clean it up quickly, the polyurethane coating on the floor will usually be enough to fight off most moisture.
2 – Consider Fans and Dehumidifiers
For water to evaporate, it needs to come into contact with drier air. The drier the air, the faster the water will evaporate. Therefore, a dehumidifier will dry the air in a room, allowing for faster evaporation. Moving air, such as with a fan, will also speed up the drying process. If that doesn’t work to dry the floor in a few days, you will need to move to more drastic measures.
3 – Remove a Floorboard
In addition to needing dry air to evaporate, water also needs somewhere to go. Therefore, if the moisture has soaked into the subfloor underneath the hardwood floor, you won’t be able to dry it without giving it somewhere to go. You have a couple of options of this. You can remove some of the baseboards trimming the edges of each room. That will expose a little bit of the subfloor and give the water somewhere to evaporate. Alternately, you can remove one or two of the planks of your hardwood floor. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to use the dehumidifiers and fans to dry it faster.
4 – Consider Desiccants
Desiccants are materials that pull moisture out of the surrounding atmosphere. They’re used to keep packaged materials dry. In an industrial setting, they can also be used to remove moisture from your home or floor. You might need to rent a desiccant dehumidifier from a local hardware store.
5 – Don’t Forget About Mold
Mold is a serious problem any time a dark area is allowed to stay moist for too long. If your floor has been moist for more than a day or so, you’ll need to apply a chemical that will retard the mold.