How to Protect Your Wood Floor from Water Damage
You’ve just installed a brand new hardwood floor in your living room. Once you look at the bill, you have just one hope: that this investment will last you for many years to come.
However, your wood floors face one great danger—water. The thought of a leak or flood is enough to keep you up at night. Not only will water ruin your hardwood floors, but it can cause mold growth and structural damage to your home. What can you do to protect your floors and prevent this disaster from happening?
Don’t worry! We’ve got a few tried-and-true solutions for you. Here’s how you can keep your hardwoods strong and damage-free:
Apply a Sealant
An extra layer of sealant never hurts, especially when you’re guarding an investment like your hardwood floors. A sealant acts as a repellent for water, stains, and other damaging substances. You can use wax or a polyurethane sealant to boost your floor’s moisture resistance.
After you apply a layer of sealant, remember to keep some product handy for the future. It’s a good idea to reapply the product every couple of years (if you’re using wax, reapply it every year).
Install Water-Resistant Flooring
Why not choose hardwoods that are naturally fortified against water? Take White Oak or Maple hardwood, for example; these species hold their own against humidity better than other kinds of wood.
If your hardwood floors are weaker in the first place, they won’t stand a chance against a water leak. Choose an option that offers more durability so that you’ve got extra protection against water damage.
After your glorious new hardwoods are installed, you’ll have trouble taking your eyes off them. You might be hesitant to cover up their intricate grain pattern and shining surface with a rug or doormat. But by doing so, you can boost your floor’s resistance to water damage.
You don’t need to cover up the entire floor—just add mats to a few high-risk areas, like where you put your shoes or by the sink. Make sure you place a rug near every exterior door!
Maintain Your Plumbing
Before you install your new floors, there’s one thing you should always check: the plumbing. This vital system in your home could cause major issues if a pipe leaks or bursts.
Inspect your pipes for any signs of damage. You may spot cracks, rust, or other defects that indicate a bigger issue is looming. When you consider how much water runs through your pipes each day, you’ll realize that you’re only one shower away from a water leak.
Regular maintenance will help you prevent sewer backups and other plumbing problems. A basic understanding of your home’s sewer line system can be helpful in dealing with plumbing problems. If you suspect a pipe is on its last legs, call your local plumber to inspect it before laying down your hardwood floors. Schedule annual plumbing maintenance to make sure no unexpected issues arise.
As soon as a spill happens, tend to it right away! This will minimize any damage to your floors. Never leave a damp towel laying on the floor overnight. Water that sits on your floors will penetrate the surface and cause warping, even with a sealant.
If you spill a large amount of water on your floors, you can suction it away with a shop vacuum. Alternatively, just lay down a bunch of towels. The key is to act as quickly as possible!
You should also make an effort to do ongoing maintenance of your floors. Sweep, vacuum, and remove stains regularly to keep your hardwoods looking their best.
A word of caution here: only use cleaning products that are safe for hardwood floors. Certain chemicals can be too harsh on your floors and end up doing more harm than good. You don’t want to ruin that perfect glossy finish! Check the intended usage on the product’s label to make sure it’s safe for hardwoods.
Control the Humidity
Why do your hardwoods change shape even when no water is spilled on them? This might be due to fluctuations in the air’s humidity levels. Dry air makes floors shrink, while humid air makes them expand. This can cause gaps or overlaps in the wood that are unsightly.
To keep the moisture levels of your indoor air under control, consider purchasing a few tools. In the summer (when the air is hot and humid), use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture; in the winter (when the air is cold and dry), power up a humidifier to add moisture back. These appliances will keep the humidity levels in your home stable.
No hardwood floor is completely waterproof. That being said, there are ways for you to increase your floor’s resistance to water damage. By applying a sealant, choosing high-quality wood, and having your plumbing inspected regularly, your hardwoods will have the best fighting chance against any spills or leaks.
Guest blog by Marianne Pierce https://martenscontracting.com/