The answer depends on several factors. The extent and length of time of the water damage and the details of how the hardwood floor was constructed will determine the answer. Most important is how quickly you discover the water. The sooner the water damage is discovered and PuroClean is called to begin drying, the better chance you have of saving the water damaged hardwood floor. The subfloor is the other key factor. Is your hardwood floor sitting on wood or concrete and is there a vapor barrier under the hardwood flooring. If you discover the water pretty quickly, such as when returning from work and your home is typical of regular construction with hardwood laid directly on a wooden subfloor then we can usually save your flooring.
If you are out of town and your house floods and the water sits for a long time or if your floor has been laid on top of concrete or sits on top of an impermeable vapor barrier then chances are less favorable that it can be saved. Our PuroClean Disaster Response team is expert at water damage remediation.
We were recently called to a water damage job in Longmont, Colorado, for a dishwasher problem that had leaked water onto and under the hardwood floors in the kitchen. The hardwood was wet and would soon start to warp, so we had to act quickly to ensure the homeowner didn’t have to replace the flooring. When we got into the kitchen and started taking readings, it became obvious that the water had a mind of its own and had traveled through extensively through the kitchen, but not all of it. There was water under the dishwasher, but not in front of the dishwasher. There was water in front of the cabinets but water had not spread underneath the cabinets.
Unfortunately water also wicked all up the side of the cabinet closest to the leak. We took moisture measurements throughout all the cabinets and floors to make sure that we knew exactly where the water went and the extent of the water damage. Then we could make a plan to dry it all out with minimal demolition.
Because the area under the dishwasher was most affected, we set up a tented system with a dehumidifier drying the space. We also put down Rescue Mats with a DriForce system on the hardwood floors to draw excess moisture out of the wood. After 3 days of drying, the cabinet was still reading high moisture levels. We had to pull the side panel and toe kick out as they could not be dried. We were able to dry out everything else so that the side panel and toe kick were the only replacements needed in what could have been a very expensive situation. By the fourth day, the floors and cabinet had dried out to dry standard so we could take all of our equipment out of the home. Only took 4 days to get their house back to normal, but if they had delayed getting someone out to help dry or tried to do it on their own, they could have ended up with terrible warping or flat-out replacement of the floors becoming necessary. Also secondary factors could have come in to play if it was not properly dried, like mold in the kitchen.
We have saved hardwood floors using these techniques all over northern Colorado from Loveland to Thornton, Longmont, Boulder and Broomfield communities in between.