Water Damaged Wood Floors & Hardwood Floor Drying

Wood Floor Drying

By Clay King   AAA Flood Drying


hard wood floor dryingSaving a wet hardwood floor can now be successful with advanced drying methods using the Injectidry System. This hardwood floor drying system is a series of panels or mats that are placed on the wet floor area and taped into place. Small feeder tubes are hooked up to the panels and then to main trunk lines. A high-pressure vacuum blower is hooked to the trunk lines and pulls a vacuum on the panels taped to the floor.

The vacuum applied to the floor takes advantage of the small gaps between the wet floorboards. This draws the dampness and moisture from under the water damaged hardwood floor. Each wood floorboard also has small grooves on the bottom of the floorboard. Dry air is drawn in these grooves or flutes, through the gaps, and out the drying system. Most wet oak wood floors can be saved with this drying system, avoiding fix up and repair costs and headaches.


Drying Wood Floors

This is not an exact science, it requires experience to know how to properly and efficiently dry a wet hardwood floor and when this is an appropriate method to use. If the floorboards have been wet for too long then the boards will not only suffer cupping and warping but will be bucking or coming right up off the subfloor.  When the flooded floor is this damaged repair is not advisable, remove the water-damaged floor. Generally speaking, if drying the wet floor starts within the first day to day and a half the wet hardwood floor can be saved with no damage at all, the wet cupped floor will flatten and the finish can be saved.

After the floor has been wet for more than 1.5 days, the floor has a 90% chance at flattening out the cupping, but a 10% chance there will still be some cupped boards. The soaked floor will be dry but will need to be refinished.

Wet hardwood floors that have been wet for more than 3 days are tougher to dry out and have less of a success ratio.

Warped Wet Wooden Floors

Warping is a bit different than cupping, warping is like severe cupping and involves the floor usually buckling and popping up off of the subfloor. This is severe damage and should be removed right away. The water damaged floor at this point will have numerous problems that would be difficult or impossible to repair. I have seen warping wet floors expand to the point where they will push against a tile floor with such force to break and snap the ceramic tiles off the floor.



Mold Damage to Wet Wood Floors

After 3 days if drying has not started mold growth on the wet floor is possible. There is usually a piece of paper under the wood that is installed when the floor is being laid out. This is used to prevent squeaking of the wood floor when you walk on it. This piece of paper can start to experience mold damage after approximately 3 days or more.

hardwood floor drying

So it might be possible to save and flatten the cupped wood floor but it is probably a better idea to remove the damaged wood floor if it has been wet for an extended period of time.

Wet Oak Flooring

2- 3/4 inch oak is the most common wood floor that is installed. So we have fairly good experience with drying this kind of floor. This is also the wet floor that seems to respond the best to drying. We usually have about a 90% success rate of saving the floor and the finish.

Complications to drying  are:

  • New finish (acts like a sheet of poly) does not breathe well.
  • Very tightly laid floors, Also does not breath well.
  • Wet to long, possible mold damage (unseen).
  • Severe cupping, buckling, warping, splitting.
  • Contaminated water under the wet floor.
  • Entire floor wet, bad economics
  • Lack of power
  • Lack of heat

Maple, Cherry, Birch, Pine, bamboo, Wood Floors

These floors do dry out, but no one has a huge amount of experience as to how they react to drying. Some save easier than others. This is clear though, The Injectidry System is your best shot at saving any wood floor. Nothing works better or I would own that piece of equipment.

Water Damaged Laminate, Engineered Wood Floors

Most of the time it is not possible to save a water damaged laminate or engineered floor. This can be a grey area, it is decided case by case. For the most part, the cheaper floating floors such as Pergo are immediately removed along with the soaked pad underneath. The vacuum of the Injectidry System cannot get the moisture out from under the wet pad. Also, most engineered floors tend to cup, separate, peel, and the finish on the ends of each board checks or cracks. This renders the floor damaged even if you could dry out the floor. If you leave it wet you could have mold damage to contend with.

For drying of your wet wood floors: Call Clay King, AAA Flood Drying at 844-925-28-56 toll free 24/7

Can You Save a Wet Hardwood Floor?

When your hardwood floor gets wet, it can be a real disaster. At first, the damage is not very obvious, you wipe the wet wood off with a towel and all seems fine. You think Hey that wasn’t so bad, I am all set. But then a day or so later the wood floorboards start to cup, the edges of the boards lift and you go, OH NO!!! That’s when panic sets in. At this point your not sure what to do, what can be done to save or dry the wet wooden floor. Your mind is spinning and you are calculating all the costs and headaches involved in replacing the floor. Then you go into denial-(because it’s cheaper). But then that sets off the second panic attack you think, if I don’t act fast I could get mold damage.

Then you read some online stuff to try and figure out what to do, and they say just put a fan on the floor and you should be all set, and maybe add a dehumidifier. That will do it, ya not so much, would be nice if it worked but it is really more of a placebo effect than any kind of solution. Real hardwood floor drying can work well but it is not simple at all, the results, however, can be awesome. Most wet hardwood floors that we dry, are dry and flat and require no further repair work, not even refinishing. We clean up our drying equipment, return your furniture to its proper place and we are done. No demolition, mess, or hassle of reconstruction.


Wet Hardwood Floor, When to Remove or Dry Out

Wet Hardwood Floor Drying

A general rule of thumb is, if the floor has been wet for 1.5 days or less, an Injectidry Floor Drying System can save the wet floor and completely dry it out about 90% of the time with little to no damage when completely dry in 3-5 days. This is without a doubt the best way to dry a wet hardwood floor.

If the floor has been wet for longer, the Injectidry system will still dry out the floor, but the floor may need to be sanded refinished to complete the repair.

Just because the Injectidry system can dry out a wood floor, flatten it and make it look fine, this may not be the right course of action. If the floor has been wet for 3 days or more, the mold is probably forming on the wood floor, even if you cannot see it. I do not usually recommend drying if the floor has been wet for 3 or more days because of probable mold growth under the wet wood floor. The floorboards under the hardwood are not finished and they can turn moldy fast. There is also usually a layer of paper as well as sawdust from installation under the floor. The paper gets moldy easily and needs to be removed.

How Cost-Effective is it to Save a Wet Hardwood Floor?

Wet Hardwood Floor Removal The Injectidry System is the best way to save a wet wood floor, but it still has to be cost-effective. If the wet area of the floor is a smaller percentage of the total square footage then drying out the floor is very cost effective. But as the percentage of the wet area increases the benefit is less. It is always cheaper to dry out the floor, BUT, drying out wet hardwood flooring is not always successful. So if the whole floor is wet, and the drying fails, now you have two bills. One for drying, and one for replacement of the floor.

Hardwood Floor Drying, Part Art, Part Science

The art of drying out a hardwood floor is just that an art. Just because a water damage company owns the Injectidry System, does not mean they know how or when to use the system. It has been my general experience that water damage restoration companies that own more machines have more experience of when and how to use them. Most companies own at least one machine, but they do not really use them often enough to have any experience in when to use the System and also how to properly use the System.

So when you are looking for someone to dry your wet hardwood floor, ask, how many Injectidry machines do you own. This will give you an idea of how well they may do.

There are many tips and tricks gained with experience that when combined with the Injectidry Hardwood Floor Drying System delivers great results.



Clay King at AAA Flood Drying has been drying and saving wet hardwood floors for nearly 30 years in Massachusetts and New Hampshire with the Injectidry System. If your wood floors are flooded and you need help, please call Clay at 844-925-28-56 toll free 24/7!