How to Repair a Water Damaged Wood Floor

How to Repair a Water Damaged Wood Floor

There are many reasons that a wood floor can become water damaged, from catastrophic floods to pet urine that goes unnoticed wood floors, while beautiful, are also fragile components of a home. Whatever the initial problem is acting quickly to repair wood flooring can keep damage to a minimum.It is relatively easy to avoid many smaller repairs by practicing good preventative care. Always make sure absorbent mats are used at every entry door and make it a habit to dry pet’s feet when they come in from the outside. In fact, removing shoes and boots upon entry is one way to avoid finding a pool of water on the hardwoods from snowy boots left unattended. Be sure to avoid mopping hardwood floors. Clean up spills immediately with a dry cloth and then wipe the floor with a damp cloth to remove any remaining material. Everyday cleaning should be done with a broom or a vacuum only. No matter how much preventative care is employed it is still important to know how to repair a water damaged wood floor.There are several types of water damage that are usually encountered in homes with hardwood flooring.

  • A white, hazy substance on the floor is usually indicative of a surface stain. Homeowners can use automobile polish or even toothpaste on a soft cloth to gently buff out the stain.
  • A black stain usually means water has penetrated into the wood grain. If the floor has ever been mopped often times the moisture will seep into the tongue and groove and cause this type of discoloration. The floor must be completely dry before any type of repair is made. First remove the floor’s wax and finish by scrubbing the area first with steel wool and then with sandpaper. Then make a mixture of oxalic crystals and hot water to brush onto the stain, then allow it to dry and finally clean up any residue. This acid mixture will bleach the stain so it will be progressively lighter with each application. Once the black mark is gone add a stain to match the existing floor and finish with a sealant.
  • Damage that is more extensive than this is best left to a professional. If water is present between the hardwood and plywood subfloor, it is likely that professional equipment will need to be used to sufficiently dry the flooring before repairs can be attempted.
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