What to do with Very Wet Floors
If you have hardwood floors, then you probably know that water is one of its worst enemies. Spilled liquid that is allowed to stand will cause white marks. The first thing is that if you are thinking about adding hardwood floors to your home, consider the room in that moisture is not a good thing. Therefore, while a bedroom, dining room, and living room would look gorgeous, the kitchen and bathroom may not be the right rooms for hardwood.
However, if moisture collects or floods your hardwood floors, do not panic. If you notice the flooring is beginning to cup, usually allowing the floor to dry thoroughly is all you need to correct the problem. For this, you can set up a dehumidifier and floor fan, which again will often correct the cupping problem. If your home as forced heat, we suggest you keep the humidification and heat, keeping the home's temperature between 76 and 80 degrees to help dry out the floor. Then, manually turn the furnace blower on.
On the other hand, if you have been able to clean up the water but now notice the flooring has cupped or buckled and it is not going down, you have another option to try. For this, use fine sandpaper to lightly, sand the flooring, going across the grain. With this, you are removing the finish. Typically, a professional should do this job to ensure the sanding is not too deep, thus causing further damage.
Once the floors have been sanded, any remaining moisture would be easier to remove. Just remember, you should never sand the wood floor down to the bare wood. Instead, you are only removing a good portion of the surface finish. Go ahead and use a dehumidifier and fan, or the heat and blower to dry the floor after sanding. If you notice any cracks or loose planks, you can have these repaired. From there, the floor would be refinished, again providing it with a protective layer.
Most often, hardwood floor that has cupped or buckled means there is still some level of moisture in the floor. If the damage were severe, you may need to have full planks replaced. Most importantly, when you hire a professional, or if you do the work yourself, always check the under floor system to make sure there is no standing water that would start the cupping/buckling process over.
The key when you have very wet floors is not to go through a quick fix. Sure, you could nail the boards back in place but by not removing the moisture, you are causing more problems. Therefore, it is essential that you remove the moisture from the hardwood floor, as well as fix anything damaged. If all else fails, you may have to have the entire floor resurfaced, which is costly and time-consuming.