Hardwood Floor Water Damage: Causes and Solutions

Hardwood flooring is a beautiful, modern flooring option that almost all home owners prefer. Unfortunately, these floors are also vulnerable to water damage. In order to keep your flooring in top condition, to protect your investment and home value, you need to prevent water damage to your hardwood floors actively.

If you do get water damage, you may be able to repair instead of replacing your floor if you act quickly to reduce the damage. We’ll explain how to prevent and repair water damage on your hardwood floor in this guide.

Causes of Hardwood Floor Water Damage

In order to prevent water damage on hardwood floors, you need to know what can cause the damage. Here’s what can cause hardwood floor water damage:

  • Leaky roof spilling onto the floor
  • Plumbing leaks beneath the floor or spilling onto the floor
  • High humidity in the home
  • Spills that aren’t cleaned immediately
  • Tracking rain or snow into your home
  • Tracking swimming pool water into the home
  • Dog drool and splashes from pet water bowls

Any source of water can damage your floor. If you notice you’ve gotten water on your floor, you should seek to clean it immediately and thoroughly. Otherwise, the hardwood will absorb the water through small pores in the wood. Then you may notice it warping, buckling, or discoloring.

How to Prevent Hardwood Floor Water Damage

There are many ways to protect your floor based on what kinds of water you’re most likely to expose it to. Although, in all cases, removing the water as fast as possible after exposure is the most important factor to prevent damage.

Protect Your Hardwood Floor From Spills

Take precautions to protect your floor from typical sources of water like a splash from the kitchen sink or wet boots coming in from the outdoors by placing absorbent mats where water is an issue. Your front door and the spot beneath the kitchen sink are both smart places to put a mat. Use a silicone mat, or a silicone backed mat, to prevent soaking through.

Also, consider placing towels down temporarily when you expect water from a pool party, rain, or another temporary source of water. Just be sure that your towels don’t soak through. If they do, remove and replace them quickly.

When you’re having a party, have paper towels on hand where guests can see them, so they clean up their own spills. You may also consider serving drinks in a room with a rug, so long as your rug is easier to clean off than the floors.

What about children? If you have a toddler or children who frequently spill, it might be wiser to have them eat away from the hardwood, if possible. If not, have paper towels on hand for them and impress upon them the importance of letting you know about spills.

Pets produce their own kind of spills, especially dogs. After a walk on a hot summer day, your dog will come home panting, spraying his or her saliva on the floor. When dogs drink they also splash water around. Always serve your pup his or her water under a mat or even a temporary towel. Also, when your dog comes in from exercise, keep them off the hardwood floors until they have recovered from the heat.