19 Apr, '22
Protecting Your Wooden Floor from Water Damage
Real wood floors are a very common choice for both domestic and commercial settings. It is not only because of their natural beauty and elegance but also because of the fact that wooden floors are extra durable, hard-wearing, and long-lasting. Nowadays, real wood floors are designed and produced to be able to survive and be enjoyed for many decades, up to a whole century, and withstand so much even when installed in a very busy area of high traffic and heavy footfall. In fact, wooden floors now can withstand more than wear and tear, high heels, pets, kids, and even home improvement and remodeling projects on site.
Match with a high-quality and extra-durable wood floor finish and you can practically enjoy your wooden floor looking flawless for many years. However, one major enemy of real wood flooring remains water. Despite the fact that the modern flooring industry has come with a lot of ways and options to make real wood flooring less prone to water damage and to ensure amazing and lasting protection for wood from water and other liquids, to the point where wood flooring can now also be installed in the bathroom or a wetroom, excessive moisture and water still hide some serious risks for the condition and structural stability of your favourite wooden floor. Therefore, you want to protect it at any cost. It is definitely not as hard as you think. Simply follow the tips we provide you with below.
However, before we continue with some handy and helpful tips for preventing water damage to your wooden floor, let’s explain a bit more about how water and moisture can actually cause issues to your wooden floor. Wood is a natural material and even when it is cut into small floorboards and blocks, it still remains a natural material and has a natural response to changes in its environment. One of the biggest triggers of such changes are water and excessive moisture. Wood has a porous structure and the ability to absorb moisture which leads to the wooden floorboards expanding in size. Once the moisture is gone, the floorboards will then start shrinking. Now, this “movement” of the floorboards is assumed to be a natural process and it is usually within the control of the wood itself to be back to its initial shape and not cause serious damage to the floorboards.
However, in some cases, especially when it comes to extremely high levels of moisture content or leakage of water, wooden floorboards may expand to an extent where the structural integrity of the floor is compromised. For example, the wooden floorboards may get loose because of loose nails or weakened power of the wood floor adhesive, the wooden floorboards may even brake or snap and split, there is also the common risk of warping, cupping and ballooning of the floorboards or some damage to the wood floor finish like chipping. Furthermore, if the wooden floorboards expand too much at a certain point and then shrink back to their initial size, there will be a lot of gaps left behind between the floorboards, which not only does not look appealing but also weakens the insulation and stability of the floor significantly.
Obviously, these are some hypothetical scenarios no owner of a wooden floor would like to experience and deal with. Therefore, you would prefer to ensure great and lasting protection of your wooden floor from water and moisture damage and take all the required precautions in order to avoid such issues that could even be too damaging and beyond repair, making you replace the whole floor with a new one. Here are some rules you want to follow in order to save yourself all the headache, nerves, time, energy and money and make sure you will be able to enjoy your wooden floor in flawless condition for a long time.
Take Care of Your Plumbing
Before you decide on investing in and installing real wood floors, make sure you thoroughly inspect the plumbing system of your home, especially if it comes to an older house. This is a great time to make sure your plumbing system is properly working and there are no issues you have to deal with. However, in case there are some issues found, they need to be fixed and repaired, this is the right time to do so in order to avoid leakages and serious damage to the floor once it is installed. In general, it is a good idea to keep an eye on the overall condition of your plumbing system in order to avoid leakages and flooding.
Keep the Finish in Good Condition
No matter what is the finish of choice for your floor, its main purpose is to protect your floor and make sure it is in perfect condition and there are no issues with the floor’s structural integrity, durability, and lasting power of the floor. Furthermore, in case of spills and splashes, a good finish does not allow the moisture to penetrate into the wood’s structure and leave it on the surface so you can easily and quickly wipe off the liquid. Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure your floor’s finish is not worn and damaged and it is in perfect condition at all times.
Potential Wet-Floor Culprits
It may sound like a lot of work and hassle to keep your wooden floor dry at all times. However, you will soon find out it is not that hard at all. Once becoming familiar with all the dos and don'ts will make it much easier for you to know exactly when your floor needs some additional upkeep without all the overwhelming feeling and stress for you to constantly be on the lookout. As easy as that, you want to always be ready to wipe off and clean spills and splashes, which is as simple as it sounds. Usually, some areas of the house like the kitchen or the bathroom, for example, are the main areas where splashes and spills can happen. Simply keep a dry and clean cloth always ready to wipe the water off quickly and that is all. Another good piece of advice would be to keep an eye on your shoes. If the weather outside is rainy or the snow is melting, make sure to thoroughly wipe off your shoes at the front door before you enter the house with them on.
Proper Cleaning and Upkeep
Finally, you should make sure you are following the proper cleaning routine for your wooden floor. Never use an excessive amount of water when cleaning your floor with a mop. Simply make sure your mop is slightly damp, never wet and you are good to go and continue with the cleaning. In addition, everyday mopping is definitely not required for the majority of the households out there, so you can simply go with regular vacuuming and use mopping on rare occasions and when there is more significant dust and dirt buildup on the surface of the floor.