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Repairing Water Damage to Hardwood Floors

2023-09-11 16:18


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  • Hardwood floors are a staple in many households and businesses, lending the space a particular style and adding some color and texture to the interior. Unfortunately, when water damage strikes, it can wreak havoc on hardwood floors, causing warping and buckling (not to mention becoming a major headache and possible financial burden). So, what do you do when water damage affects this type of flooring? Read on for tips and tricks and learn how SERVPRO® can help.

    Popular Styles and Types of Hardwood Floors

    The Home Depot lists the following as popular styles of hardwood floors. Consider evaluating this list to see if you have the same type in your home or business.

    • Engineered waterproof hardwood floors. Specially made floors to resist water and moisture.
    • Bamboo floors. Environmentally friendly, scratch-resistant, and slightly harder in texture than other styles.
    • Acacia floors. Durable and low maintenance, this style of hardwood floor is made from Acacia wood, or Asian walnut.
    • Solid hardwood floors. Made from single strips of wood cut straight from the tree, this style of floor can be nailed directly to the subfloor.
    • Engineered hardwood floors. This style of floor can usually be installed quickly, as it is delivered to the property prefinished.
    • Gray hardwood floors. Engineered and easy to install, this style is popular due to its stone-like appearance. It is made from North American foliage, like birch.

    Meanwhile, Forbes lists the following as popular types of hardwood floors:

    • Hickory. Very durable with a distinct rustic look. However, hickory hardwood floors can be difficult to install due to their hardness.
    • Cherry. Ideal for low traffic areas, cherry is notable for its red and/or orange hue. Still, it can darken over time, and some may not like its softer texture.
    • Oak. Durable and useful for high traffic areas. However, it can yellow over time.
    • Maple. Versatile in color, oak is also a durable type of hardwood floor. But it can be difficult to stain since it tends to retain its natural light color.
    • Ash. Lighter in color, this flooring is like oak in durability. However, it is a bit more expensive than other types and can be harder to find.
    • Mahogany. Durable and water-resistant, mahogany is sometimes considered the most beautiful type of flooring for its deep brown color. However, it can be quite expensive.
    • Walnut. Dark brown and often found in historical homes, but sometimes harder to acquire since it is more expensive than other types.
    • Bamboo. While technically not wood (it is grass), bamboo is manufactured, generally light in color, water-resistant, and durable. However, because it is manufactured, it can range in quality.

    Tips for Cleaning Hardwood Floor Water Damage

    According to The University of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Health, and Safety, as well as Duffy Floors and SERVPRO’s own in-house tips, some useful guidelines for cleaning hardwood floors after water damage include the following:

    • If safe to do so, locate and stop the source of water as soon as possible.
    • Dry the floor gradually and naturally, as rapid drying could cause the wood to split.
    • For excessively buckled or warped flooring, consider removing the damaged sections and replacing them entirely.
    • Consider mixing a mild cleaning solution comprised of one part vinegar and 10 parts warm water.
    • Do not use household cleaning products on hardwood floors.
      • These can damage the surface or penetrate the wood, causing unintended consequences. Rather, use a solution specifically developed for hardwood floor cleaning.
    • In the case of future water damage, immediately clean up water with a cloth or mop.
    • Confirm your plumbing system is in good working order.

    SERVPRO’s Floor Cleaning Process

    We understand the time-sensitive nature of restoring a damaged floor. Whether the area in question contains hardwood or carpet, is high-traffic or decorative, losing the ability to use a space is a major hindrance. While the tips offered above can be applied at your convenience, know SERVPRO is available to provide professional floor cleanup services 24/7.

    In addition to cleaning ceilings and walls, SERVPRO franchises across the United States and Canada follow the below floor cleaning process. Keep in mind, the type of soil in the floor and type of flooring can affect the exact cleaning method.

    1. Staging. The first step involves placing tools, products, and other cleaning equipment in a nearby, convenient location for the cleanup job.
    2. Remove and secure. Furniture, fragile belongings, and other items are safely removed from the space to help ensure their protection.
      1. Notably, some furniture may remain in the room, protected by floor padding, or blocked entirely, so as not to be disturbed during cleaning.
    3. Clean. Cleaning commences. This includes exposed flooring, and remaining floor coverings.
    4. Replace. Return furniture, curtains, wall hangings, and other items to their original positions, if applicable.

    SERVPRO is Always Available

    With 2250 SERVPRO franchises across the United States and Canada, technicians are ready to service your cleaning needs of all sizes. From small residential cleanup to major commercial reconstruction, rely on SERVPRO to get the job done. When your hardwood floors are struck by water damage and you find yourself facing the aftermath, remember you are not alone. SERVPRO is Here to Help® 24/7.

    Beyond cleanup of hardwood floors, SERVPRO offers additional services such as fire damage cleanup, mold damage cleanup, biohazard cleanup, and more. SERVPRO technicians are committed to returning your property to pre-loss condition, making it “Like it never even happened.” With round-the-clock availability, take comfort knowing our on-call services are available for you whether you experience water damage to your hardwood floors on a holiday, weekend, after midnight, or more. Find your local SERVPRO today and give us a call. We look forward to serving you.

    For more information, please visit our FAQ and Glossary.


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