Hardwood floors naturally contain moisture, but moisture is also one of the most destructive things for your floor. Even small spills can result in staining. In more severe situations of water damage, your hardwood floor can start to cup, crown, or buckle – meaning it literally pulls off the floor. At Perris Water Damage, we make it our mission to save your hardwood floor from water damage. Available 24/7, we respond quickly and will have a team of IICRC experts at your door within 30 minutes.
How Water Affects Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors naturally contain moisture. Depending on the species, moisture levels are usually around 4% to 18%. A small amount of fluctuation in the moisture level is expected (such as with the changing of the seasons). The problem occurs when the wood moisture levels drastically change. Depending on the type of water damage, different problems can occur. Here is an overview:
Cupping is when the edge of a hardwood floor board is higher than the center (shaped like a cup). Cupping often occurs after water spills onto a wood floor. The water is absorbed into the wood causing it to expand. The expansion makes the boards push together so they take on a cup shape.
Cupping can also occur when there is high humidity throughout the home. We have seen this in the aftermath of flooding which was not properly cleaned up. The moisture levels in the wood floor become unbalanced. Since the wood at the top will dry faster, the bottom of the wood floor will be wetter than the top and this will cause it to take on a cup shape.
Crowning is when the middle of wood floor board are higher than the edges. Crowning often occurs after water damage from leaks, appliance malfunctions, or fire sprinklers. The top of the wood floor becomes very wet, causing them to take on a convex shape.
Crowning also sometimes happens when a cupped floor is sanded and refinished too early. As the moisture content of the floor returns to normal, it will go back to its normal flat shape. Thus, a floor which was cupped and then sanded will become crowned.
Buckling is when your hardwood floor pulls off the subfloor. This is very serious and usually only occurs after severe water damage, such as when the hardwood floor was flooded and remained wet for a long time.
Cracking and Gaps between Boards:
Hardwood floors crack and separate when they get too dry. Unfortunately, many homeowners experience cracks in their hardwood floors after water damage when the floor is improperly dried. This is why it is important to have professionals monitor the drying and dehumidification process.
Can It Be Saved?
Luckily, hardwood floors can usually be saved from water damage. Even if the wood floor has already started to cup or crown, it will usually flatten out once moisture and humidity levels are brought back to normal. In severe cases, it may take months before the wood floor boards completely flatten out. Never sand and refinish your wood floor after water damage until it has had time to go back to its natural shape. Otherwise, you will sand the floor flat only to have it change shape again once the moisture levels normalize.
Buckled floors are harder to repair. However, it may be possible to spot repair a buckled floor, saving you the expense of replacing the entire floor. Methods like lifting several wood floor boards and circulating air under them can help save the floor.
Hardwood Floor Drying Process
Hardwood floor water damage is considered “Class 4” water damage – a specialty drying situation. This is because water gets trapped in the hardwood floor grains and cannot be dried with traditional methods like air movers and dehumidifiers.
To save your hardwood floor, we use a specialized system called the Rescue Mat by the highly-respected company Dri-Eaz. The mats attach to your hardwood floor. Tubes on the mats are attacked to a pressure blower. Water vapor can then be vacuumed out right from within the grains of wood. We use the system with our truck-mount water extraction machine which means your hardwood floor is dried faster than with traditional portable units.
Wood floors are hygroscopic, which means that they will absorb moisture from the air. For this reason, it is also important to control the moisture levels within the room. We have industry-grade air movers and dehumidifiers which we can set up in your home. The equipment is monitored remotely so our teams can make sure that the drying process is occurring swiftly and safely.
Wood Doors, Cabinets, Trim and More
In addition to saving your hardwood floors, we can also save other wood property affected by water damage. This includes:
• Paneled doors
• Wood table tops
• Wood trim
• Wood structures
• And more!
The key to saving your wood property from water damage is acting fast. We are available 24/7 for emergency water damage cleanup services. Call us today to speak to a Live Customer Support agent (no machines, ever!) and we will have a team of water damage experts at your door within 30 minutes.