How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)

Hardwood flooring is common due to its beauty and resilience, but despite its hardiness, even the smallest quantity of drinking water can trigger long lasting hurt. No matter whether touched by severe flooding or extended bouts of humidity, wood floors will ultimately display damage in unattractive warped boards, harmful mildew places, and lifted sections.

Given the value of flooring, the prospect of getting to change drinking water-ruined hardwood is ample to pressure any person out.

The good news is, drastic measures may possibly not be necessary. You can repair several kinds of h2o damage with out changing boards, and it could shock you to see how easily it can recover. If you’re striving to recover from warping and discoloration on your flooring without having having to invest a ton of time and income on a new installation, we’ll show you how to correct drinking water hurt on your hardwood in 7 simple steps.

Signs of Water Damage

Repairing drinking water-broken floors is a a lot less difficult chore when you capture the dilemma early. If still left unaddressed, the absorbent cellulose of the wood will take in far more dampness as it penetrates underneath the finished area, creating it more challenging to extract.

Warping and mildew can sooner or later worsen and unfold, leaving you more flooring to repair. In the worst circumstances, buckled flooring and rotten wooden will force you to change sections, if not the complete flooring.

Preserve an eye out for preliminary signs of injury. These generally involve delicate bends in the wooden as humidity imbalances previously mentioned and beneath the ground influence its condition:

Buckling: Planks swell and lift away from the subfloor
Cupping: Edges of a plank are higher than the center, creating a concave shape
Crowning: The middle of a plank is higher than the edges

You may possibly observe an odor and discoloration from mold as well. Inform-tale indications of mould or mildew expansion contain dim spots or stains running together the edge of your floorboards.

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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Tools & Materials

What You’ll Need:

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors (7 Steps)

1. Fix the Source of the Water Damage

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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Humidity can occur from a number of locations to harm wooden flooring, like floods, faulty appliances, damaged pipes, leaky windows and ceilings, and high humidity. Some minor spills from pet h2o bowls or mop buckets only need to have to be cleaned up after, but in several situations, you will require to repair the resource of the drinking water damage to avoid ongoing issues. Identify the cause of the issue and retain the services of the acceptable skilled to restore whatever’s creating the too much dampness publicity.

2. Dry the Floor with a Mop and Shop Vac

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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Commence repairing your wood ground by mopping up any lingering h2o. For the very best final results, consider the bag out of your wet/dry vac and attach a vast damp nozzle to suck the drinking water out of the floorboards. Pace up the process by utilizing a squeegee to guidebook the water toward the vacuum.

3. Clean the Floor with Detergent and Disinfectant

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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To prevent mildew, you will need to get rid of the dust and humidity that permit it to prosper. Make an successful cleaner by mixing a delicate soap with a hardwood disinfectant and h2o in your bucket. The soap lifts and removes surface area filth and grime while the disinfectant kills any early-phase progress.

Use a stiff brush to scrub the damaged region with your cleaner, producing positive to rinse regularly in your bucket.

Cleansing with TSP and Bar Keeper’s Pal

When you see mould lines along the edges of boards and minimal dim places popping up, you can use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to get rid of them. Mix ¼ cup TSP in a gallon of drinking water and scrub the remedy into the impacted location. Then, use a damp cloth to rinse the cleaner off. Follow that with a clean towel to dry the wood.

You can also utilize Bar Keeper’s Friend, a cleaning agent that contains oxalic acid, as an option to TSP. Oxalic acid is a well-known wooden-bleaching item that gets rid of stains with out altering the organic seem of the flooring.

If you’re making use of dry Bar Keeper’s Good friend, you have to combine it with drinking water until finally it reaches a toothpaste-like consistency. Utilize it to the mould and scrape it clear after sitting down for 30–60 seconds. When your regular detergent isn’t reducing it, Bar Keeper’s Friend is a wonderful choice for getting rid of deep-down mold and darkish stains triggered by water.

4. Dry the Floor

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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Soon after cleaning, allow the ground air dry. Advertise excellent airflow and constant drying by opening windows and doors and turning on followers. If the air is much more humid exterior than it is within, preserve the home windows and doors shut, but go away the followers running.

A dehumidifier can come in useful to eliminate concealed drinking water the two from under the ground as well as on top of it. Cupping is a indication of dampness below the floorboard, triggering it to swell from the underside and develop a concave sort. Operate a dehumidifier in the basement or crawlspace under the place in which you are dealing with humidity damage if you have cupping.

In some situations, sufficient drying can reverse the effects of moisture and restore the condition of your wooden floor. It is vital to let the wooden dry steadily, as heating it and drying it too swiftly can lead to it to crack.

5. Sand Minor Imperfections

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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If you have solid wooden floors, you have sufficient layers to sand out slight humps, bumps, and blemishes and retain the grain. You can handle slight cupping with an orbital sander, putting on the elevated edges down until finally they are flush with the rest of the floor. A sander operates similarly nicely on getting out difficult established-in stains, as extended as you do not have to sand far more than ¼” deep.

Engineered wooden can’t get the same treatment method due to the fact it only has a wood veneer. Even small cupping could need you to replace the piece of wood.

6. Repair and Replace Lifted Floorboards

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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If you have a buckled floorboard, you can experience nail or screw the lifted edge back into place, as prolonged as the wood is in good problem. Water-destroyed boards that have substantial mildew, staining, or warping will want to be changed.

To exchange a board, use a round noticed to lower the damaged floorboard in two parallel traces about ½” from the edge of the board. Pry it out with a crowbar or chisel, currently being mindful to keep the tongue-and-groove portions of the encompassing boards.

When the aged board is out, evaluate the underlayment and subfloor for moisture. Use a dampness meter to check the subfloor and run a dehumidifier to dry it out prior to setting up the new floorboard.

In shape the new board into location, adhering it with wooden glue. Travel a nail into each ends of the board and go over the hole with wood putty.

7. Stain Planks to Match

How to Fix Water Damage on Wood Floors in 7 Simple Steps (with Pictures)
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If you have pre-finished wooden, you could be able to keep away from a good amount of operate when you replace a water-destroyed board. It’s often a great notion to keep on to spare wooden pieces in case you want a fix, specially if you have flooring with a factory finish. That way, you can make sure that the pieces will always match.

If you are replacing unfinished wooden, you will require to stain it to match the relaxation of the wooden. That can get tough although since wooden tends to alter in color more than time, so applying the very same stain may not yield an precise match. No matter whether you are sanding down cupped edges or replacing a plank, you may need to sand and re-stain the complete flooring to get a consistent finish that hides the fix.

Should I Fix or Replace Water-Damaged Flooring?

You can nail lifted boards again in spot, although minor cupping or crowning could correct by themselves once you dry the boards and equalize the humidity above and under them. From there, the selection to fix or replace merely depends on the point out of the board.

If you can’t remove all of the mildew from a piece of wooden or reshape it after warping, you will need to have to change the flooring. And even when you can fix it, recurring difficulties like recurrent buckling could indicate deeper troubles. A broken, moist subfloor may be producing concerns with the flooring previously mentioned. Although the floor planks may be repairable, you might have to replace the subfloor.

The odds that you are going to have to change the flooring boost if the water is filthy.

Three types of water cause damage:
  • Clean water from pipes, faucets, or hoses
  • Gray water from leaky dishwashers, refrigerators, or washing machines that contains chemicals and microbes
  • Blackwater from sewage pipes or overflowing toilets with high levels of harmful contaminants

The cleaner the water, the more time the wood floor can sit in it with out needing a alternative. In basic, if drinking water has been soaking into the wooden for far more than a number of hrs, you will very likely want to replace it.


Hardwood flooring is an expense that need to last for a lot of many years, but it will take a watchful eye to keep it in good condition. Although it can stand up to hefty visitors, defending it from moisture is critical if you want to make sure extended-long lasting efficiency and an enduring character. When h2o hurt strikes, these seven actions will give you the ideal chance of restoring your hardwood to a fault-free of charge complete.

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