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  • Writer's pictureRapid Restoration

The Do's and Don'ts of Handling Water Damage on Hardwood Floors

water damage hardwood floors

As a professional restoration expert, I know that many homeowners face challenging water damage on their hardwood floors. Water can wreak havoc on hardwood flooring from flooding, leaks, or accidental spills. However, with the right approach, you can mitigate the damage and often save your floors from needing a complete replacement. Here are the essential dos and don'ts for handling water damage on hardwood floors.


1. Act Quickly

The faster you address water exposure, the better your chances of minimizing damage. Remove any standing water using mops, towels, or a wet vacuum as soon as possible. The quicker you dry the floors, the less the wood will swell and warp.

2. Increase Air Circulation

Open windows and doors and use fans to enhance air circulation. Positioning fans across the affected areas helps speed up drying. Dehumidifiers are also highly effective in reducing moisture levels in the air and helping the floors dry faster.

3. Inspect for Mold and Mildew

Check the affected and surrounding areas for any signs of mold and mildew. These can develop quickly in damp conditions. If you spot mold, it's crucial to clean it with a solution made for hardwood floors or contact a professional to ensure it's thoroughly removed.

4. Consult a Professional

Sometimes, the extent of water damage can be difficult to assess visually. Hiring a professional restoration expert can help determine the more profound impacts of water intrusion. We use tools like moisture meters to accurately measure moisture content in the wood, which can guide the restoration process effectively.


1. Delay Your Response

Delaying action can differ between a simple restoration and a costly replacement. Wood floors can absorb a surprising amount of water quickly, leading to severe issues like cupping, crowning, or rot.

2. Use Heat to Dry Out Hardwood

While it might be tempting to use a heat gun or hair dryer to speed up the drying process, excessive heat can cause hardwood floors to crack and split. Always opt for natural airflow or a fan.

3. Ignore Hidden Moisture

Water can seep into subflooring and baseboards, causing hidden damage. Ignoring these areas can lead to structural issues and more extensive mold problems in the future. Ensure these less visible parts are also checked and dried.

4. Apply Linseed Oil or Other Sealants Prematurely

Applying oils, sealants, or wax to seal the wood before it's fully dry can trap moisture, leading to further deterioration. Make sure the wood is completely dry before any refinishing steps are taken.

So, What Do I Do with Water Damaged Hardwood Floors?

Dealing with water damage on hardwood floors requires a careful and informed approach to avoid further damage and costly repairs. By following these dos and don'ts, homeowners can effectively manage the situation and often restore their floors to their original condition. When in doubt, consulting a professional can ensure that your floors are cared for properly.

Contact a professional like Rapid Restoration for more information on water damage restoration or to schedule an inspection.

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