How to Fix Engineered Hardwood Floors with Water Damage

May 2, 2024

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Water damage can be a homeowner's nightmare, especially when it affects the beauty and durability of engineered wood floors. Unlike solid hardwood flooring, engineered wood is constructed from layers of wood pressed together, with the top layer being a veneer of real hardwood.

This construction offers some resistance to moisture and humidity changes, making engineered wood floors a popular choice. However, they are not immune to water damage.

This guide will walk you through a step-by-step process to fix your engineered wood floor with water damage, while also providing signs to look out for that indicate water damage repair may be necessary.

Understanding the Impact of Water on Engineered Wood Floors

Water damage can range from minor to severe and affect the look and structural integrity of your floors. Excess water can cause the wood to swell, warp, or discolor, leading to a compromised floor surface.

In severe cases, the damage can affect the entire floor, requiring more extensive repairs or even replacement.

water damaged wood floors

Signs of Water Damage on Engineered Hardwood Floors

  • Swelling or Warping: Individual planks may appear raised or bent, indicating moisture has soaked in.
  • Discoloration: Water stains or changes in the color of the wood can occur.
  • Soft Spots: Areas of the floor that feel softer underfoot can indicate severe damage underneath.
  • Mold Growth: A musty smell or visible mold growth signals significant moisture issues.

Step-by-Step Repair Process

  1. Assess the Damage: Determine how much of the floor is affected. Minor damage might be localized to a few planks, whereas major damage could affect the entire floor or the subfloor underneath.
  2. Remove Standing Water: If the damage is recent, start by removing as much water as possible. Use towels, mops, and a water vacuum to clean up any standing water or wet objects.
  3. Dry the Area: Use dehumidifiers and fans to thoroughly dry out the room. This may take several days. Remove excess moisture from the air to prevent further damage.
  4. Identify Damaged Planks: Once the floor is dry, inspect it carefully for any signs of damage. This will help you understand the extent of the repairs needed.
  5. Remove Damaged Planks: Carefully remove the affected boards. Engineered wood floors are often installed using a floating method, which might make this step easier since the planks aren't glued or nailed down.
  6. Check the Subfloor: Inspect the subfloor for signs of water damage, including mold or warping. If it is damaged, it may also need to be replaced or repaired.
  7. Replace Damaged Planks: Install new engineered wood planks to replace the ones you've removed. Ensure these new planks match your existing floor as closely as possible.
  8. Refinish the Floor: If the surface of the surrounding wood has been affected or to ensure a uniform finish, you may need to refinish the entire floor. This step is especially important if the water has discolored the wood.

small spill on solid hardwood floors

Preventing Future Water Damage

Ensuring your engineered wood flooring remains in pristine condition requires proactive measures to guard against the insidious nature of water damage. Here’s a comprehensive guide to keeping your floors safe and sound, incorporating strategies to manage moisture effectively and mitigate risks.

Act Quickly on Spills

  • Immediate Response: The first sign of any spill should be met with a swift cleanup. Allowing liquids to linger can lead to seepage between planks, where moisture wreaks havoc unseen. For quick access, keep a quality mop or absorbent towels handy in rooms with engineered flooring.
  • Use the Right Tools: Consider having a water vacuum in your arsenal for larger spills. This can help remove as much water as possible from surface of the engineered flooring, significantly reducing the risk of water damage.

Utilize Protective Coverings

  • Mats and Rugs: Strategic placement of mats and rugs, particularly in high-risk areas such as by sinks, doorways, and beneath appliances, can significantly reduce your floors' exposure to water. Ensure these textiles are water-resistant and capable of trapping much moisture.
  • Furniture Protectors: Wet objects, including furniture feet, can quietly introduce excess moisture to your floors. Use protective pads under furniture legs to prevent condensation, especially under pieces frequently exposed to moisture, like plant pots.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

  • Leaks and Moisture: Conduct regular home inspections, focusing on areas prone to leaks or flooding. This includes under sinks, around appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators, and near exterior doors and windows. Early detection of leaks can prevent a small issue from becoming a large, costly problem.
  • Humidity Control: Maintain a stable indoor humidity level between 30% and 50% to minimize the expansion and contraction of wood planks caused by excess moisture or dryness. Humidifiers or dehumidifiers can help achieve this balance.
  • Sealing and Finishing: For an added layer of protection, consider applying a water-resistant sealant to your engineered wood floors. This can help prevent moisture from penetrating the surface and safeguard against minor spills and humidity.

inspecting wood floor water damage

Educate Household Members

  • Awareness and Prevention: Everyone in the home should know the importance of protecting the floors from water damage. Simple habits, such as wiping feet, using coasters under drinks, and immediately reporting or dealing with spills, can make a significant impact.
  • Proper Cleaning Techniques: Use recommended cleaning methods and products for engineered wood flooring. Excess water and harsh chemicals can damage the floors, so opt for damp mopping rather than wet mopping and choose cleaners designed for use on wood floors.

These preventative measures can significantly reduce the risk of water damage to your engineered wood floors. By acting quickly on spills, using protective coverings, conducting regular inspections, and educating your household, you can maintain the beauty and longevity of your flooring. Remember, prevention is always less costly than repair, so take the necessary steps today to protect your investment for tomorrow.
When to Call a Professional Team

Sometimes, the damage is too extensive for a DIY repair, or you might not feel confident in your ability to accurately replace the flooring.

If the subfloor is damaged, mold is present, or a large area of your floor is affected, it's wise to call in a professional team. Experts in water damaged engineered flooring can assess the situation accurately and provide the necessary repairs or replacement to ensure your engineered wood floors are beautifully restored.

Don't let water damage overwhelm you or put your home at risk. At 24/7 Water Damage Atlanta, we specialize in bringing your engineered wood floors back to life, ensuring they look as good as new. Our professional team is equipped to handle any extent of water damage, providing fast, reliable, and efficient service around the clock. Contact us today to restore the beauty and integrity of your flooring, and protect your home from future damage.

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