Wood, even finished and protected wood, is porous, so it absorbs water and can be damaged if water is allowed to remain for an extended period. Keep an eye on your hardwood floor and monitor any flooring changes. Common signs that your hardwood flooring is water damaged include dark staining and discoloration, mold growth, a wavy appearance, lifting nails, or lifting floorboards. If you suspect water damage, consider using fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers to dry the wood.

Types of Water that Damages Wood Flooring

next step will be to identify the source of the water that is causing the damage.  Four types of water cause damage. The type and severity of the damage will dictate what you do next.

  • Clean water usually comes from sinks, bathtubs, hoses, or showers and probably doesn’t contain any chemicals.
  • Gray water comes from your dishwasher or washing machine and contaminants such as soap that aren’t considered hazardous.
  • Black water is the most dangerous type. It comes from sewers or overflowing toilets. Water-damaged hardwood floors exposed to black water will likely need to be replaced.
  • Saltwater from overflowing fish tanks or the sea contains jagged, rough-edged particles of salt that can damage hardwood floors.

Water is a sneaky foe of hardwood flooring – finding its way into the wood despite the best defenses such as polyurethane coating. Persistent moisture and continuous drips of water result in water-damaged hardwood floors.

Causes of Water-Damaged Hardwood Floors

Here are some of the most common causes of water-damaged hardwood floors.

  • High humidity in your home. Hardwood floors can absorb excess moisture in the air in your home and can swell, causing them to expand, warp, or buckle.
  • Punctured or corroded pipes and fittings. These allow water to escape onto floors. Radiator and air conditioning unit leaks may result in water-damaged hardwood floors. In many cases, the damage progresses before you can see symptoms of water exposure.
  • Improperly functioning appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators. If the drain pan in your refrigerator is cracked or defrost drain is blocked, water that should have been captured will pool on the floor. The flexible drain hoses used in dishwashers are made of plastic and may crack, causing water to drip. Likewise, plastic hoses that are too long may bend or crack.
  • Leaky roofs. A leaking roof will allow water to travel through the walls inside your home, reaching your hardwood flooring.

Preventing Water Damage to Your Floors

To prevent beautiful hardwood floors from water damage, follow these steps.

  • Clean up standing water immediately.
  • Maintain steady humidity in your home. It is recommended that you keep relative humidity at 40-50%.
  • Place water-absorbent mats in high-traffic areas.
  • Visually inspect all pipes and faucets annually.
  • Closely monitor your water bills.
  • Check under your refrigerator, and the defrost drain pain regularly.
  • Have your roof inspected.

Emergency Help for Leaks and Floods in Oregon

Action 911 has provided water damage restoration and environmental services to property owners in Oregon for 25 years. If you’re in need of emergency service for water damage, contact us today at 541-345-4911.