There’s really no type of flooring that can’t be damaged by flooding. Carpeting and hardwood floors quickly succumb, and even water-resistant types used in baths and kitchens trap moisture underneath. But a professional water damage repair company has the equipment and trained experts necessary to thoroughly dry the building and prevent or greatly reduce water & flood damage.
It doesn’t take a rising creek or torrential downpour. A failed dishwasher, clothes washer, or water heater — or just a bath tub over flow — is enough to cause serious problems for flooring. With a slab leak underneath the floor you might not even know there’s a problem, just suspicious damp, moldy, or discolored areas.
The key to water damage restoration and keeping water damage repair costs down is removing water as soon and as quickly as possible. Not just pools, but dampness that has soaked in deeply as well. If more than part of a single room is affected, doing that quickly enough requires specialized training and equipment. Vacuum surface water extraction prevents further seep-in and lowers indoor humidity to where ventilation and refrigerant dehumidification can pull out deeply-soaked moisture and completely dry the sub-floor. If the process isn’t started early in the first day there will likely be mold and bacteria issues as well, and greater damage.
Types of Flooring
Whatever the type of floor and amount of water, the top priority is to dry the floor covering and sub-floor to prevent water damage such as mold and mildew. But the time-frame and specific actions needed vary with the kind of home flooring.
Carpeting and Rugs
Swift action makes a big difference in water & flood damage to carpets. Synthetic wall-to-wall carpeting can often be saved if it’s lifted off the floor to dry faster. Then professional cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing returns it to pre-loss condition. But after 1-2 days that’s hopeless and it must be replaced. With the carpet already up, it’s less expensive to discard the old padding and replace it with new than it is to try and recover the old pads and risk black mold.
Wool and other natural-fiber rugs must be sent to a professional carpet cleaner immediately if there’s to be any chance of rescuing them.
Cork, bamboo, and hardwood floors aren’t used in baths and kitchens due to their sensitivity to humidity and moisture. So it’s no surprise that water damaged wood floors are common. Hardwood flooring absorbs dampness and soon swells, warps, cups, and cracks. Yet too rapid a drying process can cause similar problems.
Better Restorations has water damage restoration specialists for wood floors, and unique equipment as well. Our floor-mat systems cover the surface of the floor for even more complete extraction, then our e-Tes system creates a controlled thermal environment for heat drying at just the right rate. With damage to wood floors kept to a minimum they can be sanded and refinished rather than having to be torn out and be replaced. That can be a big reduction in water damage repair costs.
Engineered wood and laminate floors are more resistant so spills and minor incidents, but still suffer water damage. The most common problem is that their various layers separate. When that occurs the only choice is to replace a laminate floor.
Vinyl and linoleum are waterproof, but sometimes the backing isn’t. So mopping and ventilation are often not enough. A key problem is that water makes its way through small openings, including the tiniest cracks, and soaks into the sub-floor and causes deterioration. Since the vinyl essentially seals the top, expert aggressive drying is needed from below. If that’s not accessible the vinyl may have to be removed.
Tile and Stone
You probably think tile and stone wouldn’t need any flood water damage repair. And you’d be right. But water can penetrate the grout, any cracks, and around the edges. With a damp sub-floor tiles may loosen, and swelling may lead to cracked tiles and a buckled floor.
Water quickly seeps into the structure itself, where it can linger for weeks. That’s why water damage restoration completes structural drying in just a couple of days in order to keep progressive damage to an absolute minimum. That includes the sub-floor. For the first story that’s usually a concrete slab on grade. That still must be dried out so that it doesn’t support mold and bacterial growth. Or it may be wood if it’s above a crawl space. For upper stories it’s typically plywood, and drying may require opening up the floor or the corresponding ceiling for drying along with water damage repairs.