We all know that water can cause a lot of damage to our homes, but it’s easy to forget because we only see the impacts after a flood. Mold can quickly move into your room, ruining drywalls, wallpapers, and paint. The real problem is that mold leaves behind spores that keep coming back until you deal with them appropriately. When it’s too late, you may need the help of professionals, such as these damage restoration Clairemont experts, to save your property.

When there is a minor leakage due to a plumbing pipe or a faucet, homeowners will likely choose to fix their water damaged floors rather than replace them. But is this a long-term solution?

Floors are vital parts of your home, and having them replaced can be quite expensive. If you’re on a budget, you probably want to save money wherever possible, so replacing your them might not be the wisest move. However, you need to consider the work required when you choose to fix them and how much you can save in the long run.

Signs of Water Damage on Floors

  • Dents 
  • Uneven boards
  • A watermark
  • Warped boards/buckling floors
  • Uneven patches
  • Discoloration
  • Soft spots
  • Sagging floors
  • Softening and swelling
  • Warping
  • Caulking issues
  • Peeling

Note: Some of these signs, such as discoloration and buckling, are visible beneath whatever is covering the mark. However, sometimes you may not notice these these floor parts because everything else around them looks similar. That’s why it’s always best to check all these signs together as they can paint a more accurate picture of what’s going on with your house’s floors.

When to Replace Water Damaged Floors

1. Decayed or Moldy Subflooring 

Consider replacing your floors if the subflooring becomes decayed or moldy. If only a few boards have to be replaced, check with your local lumberyard for discount rates on pieces of hardwood you prefer. Before assembling the boards, they must end up being flush with one another, using a hand plane. If there are sections near the middle of the floor where nails are protruding through all layers of the subflooring and glued ply, you should take extra caution in these areas during the replacement process.

2. Wood Floors Damaged by Flooding or High-Humidity

When water damage has occurred to wood floors, the process is more complicated. It might be difficult to determine whether you need a full refinishing or a simple patch job. If only the isolated boards have warped and cupped, sometimes replacing those boards is less expensive than an entire floor replacement. 

You can always trim down boards that no longer level using a hand saw to make them fit back together again. But this will typically require extensive sanding if not a complete replacement of the board itself. When dealing with water-damaged floors, you can usually recognize warped boards because they are no longer completely smooth or flat.

3. Exposed Subfloor

If you have an “exposed” subfloor, or exposed plywood/OSB, it’s time for a replacement. There needs to be some insulation between the ground and whatever is being replaced to ensure proper installation. For example, if you have exposed OSB on an exterior wall, simply replacing the OSB would work fine. 

However, if you have exposed OSB on an interior wall, you will need to address proper insulation between the subfloor and whatever is being installed. Also, if you have an “exposed” subfloor on an exterior wall, it’s time for a replacement.

4. Major Gaps in Subfloor

If there are major gaps in your subfloor that allow moisture to find its way into it easily, floor system replacement also needs consideration. For instance, if you have plywood (most common) and 1/4″ – 3/8″ gap at the baseboards or around doorways, then it needs attention before replacing your current flooring system. 

This gap could be filled with a high-quality caulk. However, you will walk over caulk instead of carpeting, so the appropriate thickness of the carpet pad may also need replacing. But you have to pay an additional cost.

5. Persistent Damage After Cleanup

If you have damage that doesn’t go away after doing everything reasonable to remove it, like proper drying, moisture readings consistent with dry out conditions, etc., then replacement is probably necessary. If you did all these and dried the subfloor correctly and still suffered damage to the point where water seeped through, then replacement is the only option. 

When to Repair Water Damaged Floors

If your home experiences flooding, either from a broken pipe, rainstorm, or overflowing bathtub, you may feel you need to rip up your laminate flooring and install hardwood floors instead. 

There is an easy way to tell if it is necessary for you to take out and dispose of your ruined lamination wood flooring. Do a simple test in a small area of the laminate material before trying a repair or a replacement. Pour a bucket of water on the flooring you want to test. If the water immediately sits in a puddle, your flooring needs a replacement due to excessive swelling caused by the flood. But if water beads up and rolls off, your laminate floors can be saved.

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