About Water damage and hardwood floors

Water damage is an everyday occurrence for hardwood flooring.  Identifying the root issue and correcting it is your primary goal.  Once the water issue is located, shut that water supply off immediately!  Then get it professionally repaired.    

The typical sources for water damage include:  The dishwasher, water heater, the water line to the refrigerator, sink or toilet.  The less obvious water leaks are slow leaking sliding back doors, windows that won't leak until it rains or perhaps a drip inside the kitchen sink cabinet.  If a leaky door or window is the issue, contact a window contractor/manufacturer or general contractor to properly address your concerns.  If you are uncertain of the origin of the water leak, common sense would dictate that you check the water source closest to the damaged area.    

The problem must be addressed immediately and corrected if you want to avoid looking over your shoulder in the coming months.

water damage sliding doorWater damage caused by a leaky sliding glass door

 

Homeowners insurance companies are off the hook

We have found in the recent past that some homeowner insurance companies are implementing a "Hands off" approach with their clients when water damage has occurred.  That basically means, in the event of a claim, the home owners insurance company will assign you the title of "General Contractor".  That means the responsibility of assessing the issue and hiring the right professional is now your problem on top of the water damage.  Unfortunately, water damage can be like peeling an onion back.  There can be layers of issues that are not recognizable on the surface and surely not by someone who is not trained to detect such things. 

If you choose to take on the challenge of hiring someone who is not fully qualified or licensed, in lieu of saving a buck, this can really come back and bite you in the end.  Since you have chosen to take on the role of General contractor, you are ultimately responsible for all work performed at the end of the day in the eyes of your Home Owners Insurance.  If something fails down the road, it's on you. Since water damage is not always obvious to the average homeowner, a trained professional is needed to detect what could be a very slow drip.  The slowest type of water leakage can sometimes be the hardest problem to solve.  Most people don't have the slightest idea of how to deal with such problems.  

Assigning the homeowner as the General Contractor benefits the insurance company in a few ways: 

  1. The "Time" spent detecting and educating yourself about the issue is at your expense.
  2. The time spent having multiple contractors come to your home is your time.  Some people have to take time off work.  Now it's time and money. 
  3. At the completion of the repair, the insurance company typically will have you sign a release closing the claim leaving you out to dry if someting is missed or reoccurs down the road due to faulty repair work. 

     

Water damage | Insurance claims | Hardwood floors | your rights

If the water damage is significant, have your insurance company send a water damage/ restoration company to your home NOW!  These companies will typically tear into your walls and floors in an attempt to dry your home asap to avoid MOLD.  MOLD begins to develop after about 48 hours after the water issue.  That is why you must move now! The tearing into the walls and floor seem excessive, but it is absolutely essential they do this for the sake of you and your families health.  It's not uncommone that the water damage people use dehumidifiers  and water extraction tools to do the clean up.  Don't be surprised if it takes a week or more for your home to completely dry.    

Next, have the insurance company provide a seasoned General Contractor that has dealt with water damage to access the issue.  A lot of times, an insurance company will send a claims adjuster.  These people are absolutely useless until you know what's going on behind the walls and  under your floor.  It is imperative to get a "Complete assessment" of the damages, including the root issue of the water source.  Don't be fooled with a claims adjusters ability to act with authority, their pencil pushers and have never actually done the work.  Have the General Contractor educate you as to what has transpired and what it takes to correct the issue.  At that point, the General Contractor should be able to produce a lined item(s) quote for materials and labor of the total cost of repairs.  Without the total cost of materials and repairs needed, you may not get what you have coming to you as far as payout from the insurance company.    

In conclusion: 

If the water damage to your hardwood floors is extensive, you must contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

  1. The root issue MUST be identified and corrected by a professional plumber prior to any repairs made in the future. 
  2. Secondly, an important reason for contacting your insurance company is that "Mold" starts to set in after the first 48 hours.
  3. The total cost for "All" professional service calls, water damage visit(s), materials and repairs can be very costly.  We suggest paying the deductible and move forward with your life.     

WARNING:  Any repairs made prior to the home being professionally dried is pointless, because the moisture issue must be "Completely" resolved.  If not, that residual moisture will ruin the repair work.  In other words, the last contractor to show up at your home is not responsible for the prior work executed by another company or contractor.    

 

Water damaged hardwood floors | Water damaged hardwood repaired

water damage hardwood floors

The floors will typically cup, expand and split (picture on the left).  Dark discoloration will eventually follow.  This is an indication of rot and or mold. 

If the floors experience minimum cupping, a "Sand and finish" of your hardwood floors will correct the damage.  This is evident in the "Before & After" water damage pics above.

If the damage is severe, board replacement will be necessary.  If the majority of your floor suffered excessive moisture, then the entire floor will probably have to be replaced.  

National Floors recommends waiting at least 3 weeks after a professional water damage team has left the property.  We care enough to inform you and it would be great if you gave us the chance to fix your hardwood floors.  Contact Us     

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