Flooded Floors: Assessing the Damage
Water damage inside the home can come from a variety of sources. The more severe cases of flooded flooring are a result of bound water. That’s water that’s been allowed to sit and absorb into the material of the floor. There’s an old proverb that says water is patient. If allowed to sit long enough, the water will find a way past the top layer of material and into surrounding areas, leading to further damage.
Time is of the essence when dealing with standing water in your home, especially if you’ve been affected by a natural disaster or a broken pipe. If you’ve found yourself victim to serious water damage in your home, you’re probably going to want to look into the condition of your floors and determine what your next step should be.
There is a variety of floor types available to homeowners, and the process for inspection, removal and replacement are different for each. We are going to cover three of the more vulnerable floor types, the signs of damage and when the floor is beyond repair.
Carpet Wet carpet is likely to be restorable, but this depends on how quickly you are able to remove all the water and allow it to dry. You can soak up the water in the carpeting with a wet vacuum, such as a Shop-Vac. Be mindful that water may have also soaked into the carpet padding beneath the surface. If days pass, and the carpet starts to stain or smell, you were unsuccessful in removing all of the water and drying the carpet quick enough. If left for long periods of time, the carpet starts to delaminate. This means the glue that holds the layers of carpeting together has started to dissolve. You will notice a sand-like substance coming out of the carpet. Shedding fibers, ripples, waves and carpet seams coming undone are also indicative of delamination. Carpet is typically deemed unsalvageable once delamination has begun and must then be replaced.
Laminate Laminate floors may stand the test to common everyday spills: the ones you can soak up with a mop or a pile of towels. Yet, when it comes to standing water, laminate floors show why it’s a cheap flooring option. Laminate floors are typically made of low-quality plastic- and paper-like materials. If water has found its way beneath your laminate flooring, it will have to be replaced. The water that has seeped beneath your flooring will not dry because of the lack of airflow. If the water has been soaked by the actual floor material, you will begin to see to cupping or bubbles.
Laminate and most engineered flooring are typically installed with something called a vapor barrier. This barrier acts like a sheet of plastic making it extremely difficult for water to evaporate, leaving it trapped. There is little even the most experienced restorer can do for flooded laminate or engineered floors. If water gushes out from under the flooring material, it’s time to call a contractor to replace it.
Real Wood Floors You’ve found yourself with a bit of luck if you’ve had real wood floors installed in your home. Made of solid wood throughout, it has a special set of grooves called flutes that run along the underside of the flooring and allow for natural movement and breath. In the case of standing water, you stand a better chance than most other types of flooring because of its ability to allow air to circulate. A restorer can come in and properly dry the affected areas. Professional restorers use a variety of methods to aid in the drying process and guarantee a proper restoration. Once moisture levels beneath the wood have been proven acceptable, you can then focus on any cosmetic repairs to the wood.