Dealing with an unexpected house repair can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if the issue is a flooded floor. Water damage needs to be taken seriously, as the cost to repair a flood damaged floor can significantly increase if you delay or perform an improper fixing.
Causes of a flooded floor
Rainy and stormy weather are a common cause for a flooded carpet or floor. If there is a major storm or the house is not properly sealed, the leaking water will eventually finish on the floor. In other cases, the weather conditions might be so extreme to provoke a flood regardless of the preventive measures in place.
Unintentional accidents such as an overflowed bathtub are another cause which results in flooded floors. A brief moment of distraction, such as a phone call or knock at the door is enough for a surprisingly large amount of water to spread through multiple rooms in a matter of minutes.
The breakage of a household appliance can also cause serious damage, such as a geyser burst. In this case, there is not much you can do to prevent it and if this happens while you are away, the loss can be extensive.
Probably the most common occurrence are leakages, such as a dripping sink drain. To make things worse, people tend to overlook these issues, as they seem small at first. Yet, given enough time, these small leaks can cause permanent damage and even health hazards such as mould.
What to do when you have a flooded floor
The first step is to stop the source of the leak. If you keep repairing the damaged floor and do not address the source of the leakage, you will only be wasting time and resources. It is essential to isolate the source and if possible, fix the leak. This is a measure that will limit the affected area and prevent the damage to spread.
After the origin of the leakage has been identified and stopped, it is time to assess the affected area and damage caused. Following the length of the leakage will give you an idea of all the possible damages caused and what you can do to fix them.
Fixing a flood damaged floor by yourself
1. Fixing flooded tile floors
This tends to be one of the easiest types of floors to fix in the event of a leakage. No damage should occur in the first 24 hours if you have a high-quality floor covering, comprising high-quality tiles, moisture-resistant backing, and waterproof adhesive.
However, any flood lasting longer than this period can undermine the anti-moisture backing. This can be seen by lifting of the tiles in the affected area. Nevertheless, if good quality materials are present, the number of tiles lifted should be minimal and limited to the area affected by the leakage.
The solution to this situation is often simple. After letting the backing dry for a while, replace the affected tiles. However, if a considerable portion of the tiles were lifted, the best approach is to substitute the whole complex, including backing, adhesive, and tiles. This measure will prevent concealed moisture which may create issues long term.
If quality products were used to repair the area and the tiles continue to lift after the flood is gone, this indicates sub-floor moisture. This might indicate a systematic building problem and as such should be addressed by professionals.
You should not overlook flooded tile floors just because they are more resistant to water damage. When the water manages to get under the tiles, it creates the perfect environment for mould to grow. Over time, this mould can form spores that are harmful to your health and lead to respiratory problems.
2. Fixing flooded wooden floors
Wood is a porous material by nature, so it tends to absorb the water that sits on it even after a short period. The first sign of water damage is small stains found on the surface of wooden floors, indicating that there is moisture. After a while, the moisture will be absorbed and the planks will start to swell.
Even if your wooden floor is waxed and sealed, it is still susceptible to water damage. These products tend to add some protection for small spillages rather than a large affected area. Moreover, this shielding will wear away over time, making the floor more vulnerable.
The first step to take if your wooden floor is flooded is to dry it immediately. You can use a wet vacuum if available, but towels can do the job. This will limit wood exposure to the water and prevent absorption and swelling.
Next, remove all the wet objects from the room, which will allow the floor to dry quicker and restrict further contact with moisture. After the floor is completely dry, inspect for any swelling over the next few days. The same inspection should be done for mould. If you identify any mould, you should contact for a specialized company to assess the situation. They will not only be able to confirm if there is a hidden water accumulation but also asses the severity of the mould.
3. Fixing flooded laminate floors
While occasional spills should not affect your laminate floor, a flood surely will. Similar to wooden floors, the laminate has pores that absorb liquids. Some indicators of underlying moisture are buckled planks and laminate sheets that depress when you step on them.
To fix this, first make sure that the region is dry. Then check for bubbles and warping of the planks. The next step is to remove the affected laminate. This may require specialized tools, so if in doubt call an expert to prevent collateral damage.
Before replacing the planks, leave the area to ventilate for some time, making sure that the surface is completely dry. Also, look for mould before you proceed with the installation. As your health is the priority, if you are uncertain of mould signs do not hesitate to ask for a professional evaluation.
4. Fixing a flooded carpet
Time is key to dealing with a flooded carpet. Besides all the potential damages discussed so far, you have the added problem of unpleasant odours if the issue is not addressed quickly.
The faster you begin with the drying process, the greater are your chances to prevent further damage. However, it tends to be more difficult to inspect a previously flooded carpet for underlying liquid accumulation, considering that they do not show this damage in the way the other floors do.
Professional equipment, such as dehumidifiers, are often required to guarantee complete drying. If you dont own such equipment you can loan these from rental companies. If the carpet is dried out in a short enough time you should be able to avoid the under carpet flooring from being damaged.
If however this has not been avoided the damage can be quite extensive. Before committing to replacing an entire carpet, the best option is to seek a specialized company to verify its condition. They will also be able to determine the extend of the damage beneath the carpet.
When to call an expert to repair your flood damaged floor
When it comes to deciding when to call in the experts or do it yourself, you will need to consider the length that the floor has been exposed to water and the size of the job. When doing it yourself there will be costs incurred and you run the risk of treating the issue but not the source leaving more exposure time to moisture. In this scenario, when you do eventually call in the experts the project will have escalated and will turn out more expensive than the original cost would have been.