One of the last claims I adjusted as an insurance adjuster was a newly constructed home that sustained water damage to hardwood floors when the dishwasher was incorrectly installed. That was over 15 years ago and I still remember it vividly. The dishwasher was installed in an island in an open floor plan home. No furniture was in the home at the time and all you noticed when you walked into the great room/kitchen was the cupping on the brand new hardwood floors. It was by far the worst water damaged hardwood floors I had ever experienced and I had to determine whether the floors could be restored or needed to be replaced.
There are several factors that go into determining whether a hardwood floor can be restored or needs to be replaced. The first has to do with the flooring itself. Is the flooring an engineered hardwood or a solid hardwood? Is the flooring sanded/finished/stained on site or is it pre-finished? Unfinished hardwood floors are sanded once installed and then stained. The sanding helps to make sure product is even throughout and the staining gives a relatively continuous finish lowering the rate at which the floors can absorb or in turn release any moisture. Pre-finished hardwood floors are often beveled on the edges to make sure the edges look uniform. These edges can allow surface moisture to absorb into the flooring at a higher rate. Engineered hardwood floors also have these beveled edges and are susceptible to moisture absorption as well.
So, how can you save hardwood floors that have sustained water damage? In many cases of slight to moderate cupping of the hardwood flooring, removing the water and drying the flooring can save the floor. The use of heat, air movers and low humidity is the most effective way to dry wood flooring. PHC also uses specialty drying mats and tenting to help with the drying process. Do not expect the drying process to be an overnight effect; it can take days to completely dry wood flooring. Also note, never sand wood flooring until you know it is completely dry. Humidity/water vapor can also cause cupping of hardwood floors.
If your hardwood floors are damaged by water, call in an expert like PHC Restoration to start the drying process as soon as possible. We try to save your wood flooring whenever possible, but the longer the water is trapped in the wood, the less likely they will be saved. PHC is on call 24 hours a week to help you with any water damage emergency.