Can You Repair Water Damaged Hardwood Floors?

Water damage is one of the most common and costly problems a homeowner can face. It can lead to mold growth, structural damage, and other costly and dangerous issues. Unfortunately, it can also cause significant damage to your hardwood floors. It begs the question: Can you repair water-damaged hardwood floors? Well, it depends.

Unlike outdoor decking, interior hardwood floors aren’t generally treated to tolerate excess water. Though caring for outdoor wooden surfaces  comes with its own challenges such as algae removal, water on the inside of your home can end in more damage if not addressed properly.

Water damage can occur in many ways, including from flooding, plumbing leaks, or even just steam from a hot shower. In some cases, the damage is obvious, with warped and stained boards. However, it’s possible for hardwood floors to suffer water damage without any visible signs of excess moisture.

First, you need to know the common signs of water damage to hardwood floors. Then we’ll explore what you can do to protect them from further damage and how to know when it’s time to call a professional.

Recognize the Signs of Water-Damaged Hardwood Floors

Keeping an eye out for the tell-tale signs is key, as it may not always be apparent that water damage is the problem. Learning to spot water damage that's caused by moisture trapped under a hardwood floor can help you make more informed decisions about treating the cause and remedying the situation.

The most common signs of water damage include:

  • Warping or buckling: Warping occurs when too much water is absorbed into the wood fibers, causing them to expand, swell, and rise. Buckling, on the other hand, occurs when the wood loses its shape and curls up.

  • Discoloration: Wood can become visibly discolored or develop dark spots or patches when it has been exposed to too much water. Water can seep into the wood pores, carrying dirt or tannins along with it that affect the wood’s appearance.

  • Soft and spongy wood: Excessive water can weaken the wood’s structural integrity. This causes wood to become soft and spongy in texture, and it can even lead to rot.

  • Mold and mildew: Mold spores thrive when they come into contact with moist surfaces. Mold and mildew can form on wood when it has been exposed to too much moisture, resulting in patches and an unpleasant odor. Mold and mildew should always be addressed promptly to avoid any potential health risks.

If you notice any of these signs, take action right away to assess the extent of the damage and protect it from further damage.

Water on wood floor

Assess and Treat Water-Damaged Hardwood Floors

It’s important to note that, if your floorboards are showing significant effects of excess moisture, they may require replacement. If your floorboards are unwarped, unbuckled, and the wood hasn't started to degrade, you can proceed with the following repair efforts.

Start by using a high-quality wood cleaner like Intensive Wood Cleaner to remove any dirt, debris, and other contaminants from your flooring. This step prepares the surface for further treatment.

If cleaning reveals fairly minimal issues, apply a plant-based wood oil finish to help protect the wood from further water damage. This is designed to nourish the wood and enhance its resilience.

Moving forward, take steps to schedule and prioritize regular maintenance of your interior hardwood floors.

Again, if the water damage is more widespread, you may need to replace several boards. At this point, you'll want to consider hiring a professional. A professional contractor can conduct a comprehensive inspection of your home, identifying potential sources of water damage and providing guidance on safeguarding your floors in the long run. They can also help choose the right type of flooring for your home and install it so it will blend in seamlessly with your existing flooring.

Revive Water-Damaged Floors with Expert Care 

Don’t let water damage rain on your parade. Yes, water damage can have a significant impact on hardwood floors. But, oftentimes, it’s possible to repair minimal damage before it has a chance to get worse. Using the right products and addressing the issue as soon as possible will help you avoid more costly and time-consuming repairs.

Caring for your hardwood flooring doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Take the first step towards ensuring year-round impeccable hardwood floor today. Explore WOCA’s premium interior woodcare products here.

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