Moisture-related problems are hard to identify, hard to control and often cause irreversible damage to your home. While there are precautionary steps that you can take to lessen the risk of moisture damage to your floors, there is no way to completely avoid it.
So, when it happens, it’s best to be prepared. Moisture damage can be mitigated if you can detect it early and if you act fast.
To help you, we’ve created a brief guide on how to handle water-damaged floors. We will talk in-depth about different drying methods, timber and carpet cleaning techniques and various purpose-built tools.
How moisture damages floors
To get a better understanding of how moisture can damage the floor, we first need to establish where most moisture-related problems originate.
You might think that floods and storms are the main culprits. However, it is often seemingly minor issues that cause water damage. This includes poor ventilation, malfunctioning appliances and plumbing problems.
Because such issues don’t seem as urgent, many homeowners tend to just ignore them and allow the moisture to linger on the floors. The more time moisture has to seep into your floors, the more damage it’s going to cause. This is why it’s important to be vigilant and regularly check the areas of your home that are vulnerable to water-damage. This could be your basement, your kitchen or your bathroom.
If you have carpets, water will quickly seep into the material. If the water is coming from leaking pipes or faulty appliances, it’s likely to contain various contaminants. Because of this, the water will likely stain the carpets if it’s not treated properly. Additionally, the bacteria that the leaking water carries can also cause respiratory problems for the tenants. Indeed, mold and mildew are common by-products of water damage.
With wooden floors, the water will not seep into the material as fast. However, if it’s left for too long, the water can weaken the structural integrity of the material and cause it to warp and rot.
How to handle water-damaged floors
- Find the source
Before anything else, it’s important that you find out where the water is coming from. Stopping the cause of the moisture as soon as you can will lessen the repair work that you have to do later.
Also, it’s good to identify the nature of the water leak. Is it due to a recurring plumbing issue? Or did it come about because you forgot to turn off the tap for the bathtub?
If you’re unsure about the source, it’s best to consult a professional so that they can properly diagnose the issue and prevent it from happening again.
- Dry the affected areas
Next, soak up all the water on the surface and dry your floors as quickly as possible.
If you have timber floors, make sure to use dry towels or a mop to dry the surface. With uneven materials like wood, it’s likely that the water will collect in certain areas of your floor. Make sure you focus on these areas as they are the most vulnerable to severe water damage.
If you have a carpet, it’s important that you dry it as soon as you can. Again, use dry towels to soak up all the water and focus on areas that have collected a lot of water. With carpets, you can use fans and heaters to speed up the drying process. This will evaporate the water before it gets the chance to seep deeper into the material and create stubborn stains. Quickly drying your carpet can also reduce the risk of mold and mildew.
- Clean the surface
Once your floors are dry, you need to clean them. Although the water is gone, some of the contaminants will still be in the floor.
For carpets, we recommended hiring professionals for deep cleaning. Carpet specialists will have all the right tools for shampooing as well as steam cleaning. Both of these methods will make sure your carpets are completely sanitised and safe.
When it comes to cleaning timber floors, the process is a bit different. First, make sure you have a mop that is specifically designed for wooden floors. Find a mop that’s non-scratch and can be wringed out easily. When it comes to cleaning solutions, make sure you don’t use strong detergents that aren’t designed for wood. These substances can cause permanent damage to your floors if you’re not careful. Instead, you should use a mixture of warm water and denatured alcohol.
- Helpful tools
As its name suggests, dehumidifiers can control the amount of moisture in the air. By controlling humidity, it can help you eliminate excess moisture in your room and help dry your floor faster.
- Air scrubbers
When you clean and scrub your floors, some of the contaminants will make their way into the air. To protect yourself and your family, use an air scrubber to filter out airborne contaminants.
- Restoration moisture meter
This tool is more for the DIYers. It shows you how severe the water damage is telling you how much moisture your floor has retained. If the damage isn’t too severe, you can likely make repairs on your own. But if it tells you that the damage is serious, it’s best to hire a professional to ensure the issue is fixed properly and that no further harm is done to the floor.
That was just a quick crash course to fixing your water-damaged floor. If you have any questions or if you want complete professional assistance, make sure to contact your local carpet and timber cleaning specialists.