Flood damage advice for hardwood flooring
It’s official. This is the wettest drought that the UK has experienced in years. Alongside hosepipe bans and worries about falling reservoir levels has come our very own ‘hurricane season’, complete with torrential downpours, howling gales and flash flooding. Even the best hardwood flooring cannot stand up against nature in full flood, so if you’ve been unlucky enough to suffer the consequences of our typically English summer weather, what can you do to repair your flood-damaged hardwood flooring?
How bad is it?
The first thing to do once the floodwaters have receded is to assess just how bad the damage is. Rather than guessing yourself, it is best to call in a professional floor sanding and polishing company who have the experience to assess water damage properly. They’ll not only recommend your best course of action, but also give you an estimate as to how much your repairs will cost – invaluable information if you are to make a successful claim on your home insurance policy to cover the cost of repairs.
How bad the damage is will depend on how long the boards were submerged for, how extensive the flooding was and how quickly the floor takes to dry out. After severe flooding it is likely that wooden floors will need to be completely replaced, rather than just repaired. If your boards have distorted, known as cupping or popping or have cracked, this may indicate that the floor below the boards has also been damaged. If that is the case then this too will need to be replaced before your new hardwood floor is installed.
Less serious water damage
Flooding is a worst case scenario, and sometimes water damage can be caused by a burst pipe or a slow leak that goes undetected for a period of time. There are telltale signs to look for if you suspect (but are not certain) that your floor may have been damaged by water. A white stain or bloom will indicate minimal damage to the surface. This is relatively easy to repair, as long as there is no continued or prolonged exposure to moisture. These marks can usually be polished out, or your hardwood floor polishing company will use specialist cleaners to get deep into the grain and prevent ‘tidemarks’ showing up later on.
Spills from washing machines or a dropped drink are easy to mop up quickly, but when using a mop to clean a wooden floor make sure that it isn’t too saturated or leaves too much moisture behind on the surface of the floor.
Black stains can indicate a more serious problem that is compounded by mould growth. This may indicate that there is a problem under the floor boards that is causing water to seep upwards. If you see black staining or even mould growth in the corners of your flooring you should call in an expert as quickly as possible. They will locate the cause of the problem and offer solutions that will restore your floor back to its original condition.
Making a claim
If the water damage to your wooden flooring is so serious that the floor has to be replaced, you may be able to make a claim to cover some or all of the costs on your home insurance policy. Check with your policy provider, but if your hardwood flooring is covered, you will need to have it expertly assessed. Take plenty of photographs to show the damage done to the flooring and ensure that an expert in replacing wooden floors gives you a full and detailed assessment of the damage and what it will take to put the situation right.