8 Steps To Dry Hardwood Floors
Hardwood floors are a timeless design option that offers many practical benefits. However, wood flooring is extremely vulnerable to water damage. Overflowed toilets, burst pipes, leaky roofs and other sudden floods can quickly turn beautiful wood planking into a mold-prone, warped mess. It is important to dry hardwood floors properly. These steps will ensure that hardwood floors dry quickly after water damage.
- Clear the area
- Fans on full blast
- Make sure to check for mold and mildew
- Meter-test for moisture
After a water emergency, it is important to dry hardwood floors thoroughly. If the flooding is severe enough, even sealed floors can absorb water in the grain of wood. Once cupping is complete, when the sides of floorboards expand and rise above the center, it’s time to remove flood-damaged flooring and replace it. A water damage restoration expert like 911 Restoration of Central Maryland can help you dry your hardwood floors properly and minimize damage.
Even if you feel you have done a great job, it could cost you more to do it right than you saved by hiring a professional. You run the risk of causing irreparable damage to your floors every time you spend trying to figure it out and securing the equipment. If water has reached your hardwood floors and you want to fix it yourself, these are the steps that you need to take.
Step 1: Clean the premises
Clearing a wood floor that is wet is the best way to get rid of rugs and furniture. Set them outside to dry if they are still wet. If the flooding is due to continued rain, you can set them in a dry place with durable flooring like a garage.
Step 2: Vacuum excess
Next, dry hardwood by using a wet/dry vacuum. This is not a household vacuum or a steam-cleaning vacuum. It is a special version that can be found at auto parts stores and home repair shops. The wet/dry vacuum can suction up any standing water but it is not recommended to stop when the floor looks dry. You should continue vacuuming to remove any water trapped in the wood. This can lead to water damage.
Step 3: Clean the surface
After you have removed all water, scrub the hardwood floor with a non-sudsy cleaner. This will remove any dirt and debris that might store water in the pores. To remove any water remaining, you can use the dry/wet vacuum once more.
Step 4: For a full day, dehumidify
You can blame the pores. You need to turn on the dehumidifier at maximum power and keep it running for at most 24 hours. Moisture can still remain in water-damaged wood. Some home repair shops offer equipment for rent if you don’t own a professional-grade one. Be aware that small dehumidifiers for personal use are not recommended.
Step 5: Get fans going
Set up large fans to circulate air in the room while dehumidifying. The fans should be pointed towards the floor. If you have air conditioning, turn it on as well. You must let the excess moisture go, so make sure to open all windows for at least two inches.
Step 6: Look for mold and mildew
The EPA states that mold can grow on materials with a moisture content of at least 16% in 48-72 hours. The “normal” wood floor moisture ranges from 6-12%. This means that it doesn’t require much moisture to cause serious damage. Although mildew isn’t as dangerous as mold, it can still cause wood damage from the inside. You should immediately clean the floor if you find any suspicious areas. You can do this with just baking soda and water.
Step 7: Meter-test for moisture
Even after all the fan-blasting, vacuuming, dehumidifying and fan-blasting, it is possible that there are still tiny specks or moisture in the wood. A moisture tester is the only way to make sure every trace of moisture is gone. If it tests positive, leave the dehumidifier on until the meter is clear.
Step 8: Time travel backwards to step 1 and call an expert like 911 Restoration of Central Maryland.
You can see that removing water and moisture from flooded hardwood floors takes a lot of effort and time. The DIY method is not cost-effective when you consider all the equipment that you will need to rent or buy. You also have the possibility that your “pretty great job” might not be enough for a professional. You will eventually have to replace the flooring. Don’t waste time or money. As soon as you see the flooding, call a water damage restoration specialist. Floor drying professionals are much cheaper than replacing hardwood flooring and offer peace of mind knowing that the job was done correctly.
911 Restoration of Central Maryland is available for you!
911 Restoration of Central Maryland has many years of restoration experience. We will immediately take steps to reduce the damage to your wood floors. We will be there within 45 minutes of receiving your call and have 24/7 emergency service. We can handle any job, big or small. Give us a call at (410) 280-7271.