Can Flooring Impacted by a Severe Water Leak be Saved?
It is Possible to Save Flooring in Your Home That Has Been Affected by Big Water Leaks?
Whenever a pipe in your home ruptures, your floors are often suddenly covered in inches or even feet of water, and water can quickly inundate your carpeting, wooden floors, tilework, and subfloors. Experts estimate that this catastrophic issue could result in more than 160 gallons of water per hour leaking into your residence. In a matter of hours, this could rapidly produce thousands of gallons of standing water in your home. Luckily, trained professionals can quickly remediate clean water damage if you call them soon enough. Water cleanup services like SERVPRO can help and save most kinds of floors.
How Does Water Damage My Carpets, Wooden and Hard Floors, and Subfloors?
SERVPRO has encountered various types of water damage affecting flooring. Our experience with water damage has ranged from relatively minor in effect to quite severe. Of course, each flooring material handles water exposure differently, and some react to it better than others. Some of the forms of water-related damage that affect carpeting are:
- Bubbling from water washing away the adhesive that binds it to the subfloor
- Delamination, or when the primary and secondary backing layers of carpeting separate
- Latex deterioration that leads to the loss of carpet fibers and reduces carpeting’s overall integrity
Although these effects can force you to replace this floor covering, you can usually avoid experiencing them if you address your standing water issue quickly.
Water’s impact on wooden flooring often depends on the construction, but the damage is usually more severe and costly. Moreover, it does not take long for these effects to result. A few examples of wood floor impairments due to water exposure are:
- Water stains or discoloration
- Swelling and warping, or deformation, of the wood
- Buckling that tents, or forces upward, floor sections at joints where they meet and at the walls
- Delamination of particleboard or oriented strand board (OSB) layers
- Dry rot resulting from fungal growths
If water ever covers your wood flooring, remember that the faster cleaning occurs, the less damage it usually does. The longer the liquid remains on floors, the more their wooden surfaces absorb. The water causes the wood segments of your flooring to change shape and eventually buckle against each other—also, ground coverings comprising weaker wood products like particleboard and OSB. Glued-together layers, which are more likely to delaminate, the more prolonged exposure to water occurs, compose these boards.
Hard flooring, like concrete, asphalt or vinyl tiles, and ceramic tiles, is much more resilient to water damage than carpet or wood floors. Often, it is also much simpler and less expensive to remediate. With that said, however, these ground coverings are harmed by water in the following ways:
- Blistering or flaking of painted concrete surfaces
- Mineral deposits from evaporated water in concrete
- Mold growth fostered by dirty, wet surfaces
- Separation of vinyl and ceramic tiles from the floor
- Warping and expansion of subflooring
Concrete and asphalt tile floors are least at risk of substantial water damage. Concrete floors mostly suffer minor surface cosmetic issues like paint flaking and calcium deposits. Often, water can only remove the finish from asphalt tiles. Since the adhesive of vinyl tiles dissolves relatively quickly, the tiles themselves are prone to separating from flooring if submerged for a sufficient period. Water can penetrate the grouting between ceramic tiles, causing the subflooring to swell and warp and break away from the floor.
What Can SERVPRO Do to Save Your Flooring?
When dealing with water-damaged flooring, SERVPRO employs various advanced tools and methods. Once our technicians extract all standing water with truck-mounted/portable extractors or wet vacs, they get to work on remediating your floors. Some of the tools and techniques they use to do the latter are:
- Wands using hot water extraction and shampoo to clean and extract excess water from glued-down carpets
- Heavier extraction devices to squeeze excess water out of thicker carpeting and padding
- Moisture meters that identify and measure moisture levels in affected flooring and subflooring
- Injectidry panel drying systems that dry out subflooring
- Sanders to sand out cupping and other forms of warping in wood surfaces
- Brushes and HEPA vacuuming to clean concrete surfaces