Hardwood floors are both beautiful and hardwearing, their richness of colour and warmth underfoot combined with their natural durability makes them perfect for floors throughout the house.
However, being a natural product, they are susceptible to water damage. If left wet for long periods any damage can become quite serious. So, because of the wet summers, and more specifically the wet winters we’ve been having over the past several years, it’s important to know how to care for your hardwood floor after it has been exposed to water.
Older wooden floors will be particularly vulnerable as treatments and surfacing will be worn down and corrupted buy strong sunlight. As well as flooding, a problem that is becoming annual in many places around the UK, floors are often damaged by leaking roofs, open windows and burst pipes. If dealt with quickly, then no long lasting damage will be done.
As soon as you find that your floor is being exposed to water, the most important thing is to get it dry again. Using a broom to push off standing water, then mopping or drying with towels is the quickest way to remove water, if the wood has been soaking for some time open all the windows and let the floor dry. a dehumidifier can be used to draw water out of the wood, but don’t use a heater as the temperature disparities that are created can permanently damage the floor instead of repairing it.
If water has been absorbed right through the wood you’ll find that it has likely warped, bucked or split. In this instance it’s still necessary to dry the wood thoroughly before attempting any further repairs, repairs that will include sanding back and re-finishing the surface. It will be necessary to grind the entire floor as it isn’t possible to only sand and re-finish one spot of a larger floor and get the colours to match. It is possible to hire the tools needed to carry out this work yourself, but it’s a hard, noisy, tiring and skilled job, making it far more suited to the professionals than a first time DIYer.
To prevent this kind of problem, it’s possible to seal the floor before it’s been exposed to water. A sealant prevents water from getting under the surface of the wood, causing it to pool on the top, where it can easily be wiped away. If your floor has been damaged then sealing it after it has been sanded will prevent further damage occurring if your floor is flooded again. As well as recently deluged floors, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on floors where there is the possibility of exposure to water. If you watch out under windows, beside exterior doors, below pipework, washing machines, freezers and dishwashers.
If your floor is water damaged, either in its entirety or in a particular area, call in the experts. With their help, you’ll be able to decide if it’s a job you’ll be able to fix yourself or if you will need to invest time and money into having it repaired by professionals. They will be able to give you a quote for the work that will be required in order to return your floor to its original glory.