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How to Treat Hardwood Floors for Mold After Water Damage

Mold grows on organic materials in environments with high humidity or trapped moisture. Unfortunately for your hardwood floors that means they are vulnerable to damage and mold growth underneath them when there has been water or flood damage.

How Much Water is Too Much

Water damage doesn’t have to be severe for mold to grow. The reality is that actually living in your home comes with spills. The trick is to not let any water sit on your floors for an extended period of time. Clean it up as soon as it happens or when you notice it.

What is increasing your chances of mold growth

  1. Walking on your floor wet after a shower
  2. Walking on your hardwood floor wet from the pool
  3. Splashing water from a sink
  4. Pet’s water bowl
  5. Spilled water gone unnoticed

Untreated or water that is left to soak into the wood planks can cause mold growth. It can become a serious health hazard for anyone living in the house or walking around in that environment, especially crawling children, pets and the elderly.

How Do I Clean Mold From Hardwood Floors?

Depending on the extent of the damage you may need to call in a professional to mitigate any water damage to your floors. However, if you want to take on the small stuff yourself, follow these easy steps to make sure you keep mold growth at bay.

4 Steps to Dealing with Water Damaged Hardwood Floors

You don’t need to panic every time someone spills a glass of water on your floors. Clean it up with a towel or paper napkins and you likely won’t have to worry about mold growth.

  1. Open windows
  2. Scrub or clean floors
  3. Use fans at full blast
  4. Meter test for moisture

These steps are good guidelines if the spill is something bigger where the potential for mold growth is there, but not so much you have to call in the big guns you can handle it yourself by following these steps.

1. Open Your Windows

Get fresh air circulating through your home to start the drying process. Moisture typically builds up because there is a lack of proper ventilation. However, if the weather is muggy this might not be a good idea because you will introduce more moisture into your home from the outside environment.

Do you live in La Jolla or the Coronado Cays? These places are two of the most notorious places in San Diego for mold issues because of the humidity and moisture in the air. If you live in an area that has a higher rate of humidity than the rest of the county, you’re better off with a dehumidifier.

2. Scrub Floors

After you have wiped up the water on the floor scrub affected area with a non-sudsy cleaner. Warm water and white vinegar in a spray bottle is the most effective and natural remedy for this step. You likely already have these items in your home and it will save you a trip & save you from harsh chemicals.

3. Turn Fans on High

If the extent of the water damage or spill is minimal you may not need a dehumidifier – unless you live in an area that is humid. The idea here is to get maximum airflow. If you have a dehumidifier running, this will help make it more efficient. Point the fans towards the floor during this process.

4. Meter Test for Moisture

If you are worried about making sure you have completely dried the area, go to your local hardware store and get a moisture meter. They are inexpensive and can help detect if there is any residual water left in the affected area.

The challenge with moisture meters is that you need to know exactly where to point it to get an accurate reading. If the water damage is extensive or you are unaware of its source, it is best to call a professional. A professional water damage company will use infrared technology to find the moisture source.

Are My Hardwood Floors Ruined After Water Damage?

Hardwood floors are tricky and they are vulnerable to becoming water damaged. If your water damage needs to be looked at by a professional due to the size and gravity of the situation, knowing which service & company to rely on might help you save your floors.

There are a few things that factor into whether or not your floors are salvageable. Know them to know if your hardwood floors can be dried in place.

  1. Response time
  2. Type of wood
  3. Amount of moisture
  4. Degree of water damage to floors present

Water damage can be devastating to hardwood floors and if the job is not done quickly or is done inadequately your floors may need to be replaced.

1. Response Time

Mold can grow in as little as 48-72 hours on almost all household material if the moisture level is 16% or higher. Be quick to call a professional to help – don’t put it off until later.

2. Type of Wood

Not all wood is created equal and it is important that you do not confuse laminate floors with the real thing. Laminate floors are even more vulnerable to damage and there is little that can be done to help solve the warped moldy mess that has been created by water damage.

Flood restoration San Diego
Drying hardwood floors from flood damage

3. Amount of Moisture

It is normal for there to be moisture present in hardwood floors. Normal levels of moisture in hardwood floors fluctuates up to 12%. However, a flood can bring those levels to a whopping 40% or higher! When this happens there needs to be some sort of intervention and the best thing you’ll do is call a professional to handle it.

4. Degree of Damage

Severe water damage to floors is a good indication that the subfloor has sustained some damage from the flood as well. Your floors will need to be pulled up to have a proper look at the subfloor damage if there are any signs of the following:

  • Cupping
  • Popped
  • Cracked

Insurance: We’ll Handle It

If you need help with the insurance claim process, Certified Restoration will handle it. We know what to say and can guide you and your agent through the situation. Certified Restoration has saved hundreds of floors in San Diego County with advanced in place drying equipment and have over 20 years of experience with water damage and mold restoration.

We can help determine if drying hardwood floors in place or replacing the floor is in your best interest. We’re here to help – Give us a call today.