Handy Tips to Prevent Water Damage to Hardwood Floors
One of the most beautiful focal features of a home is hardwood floors. They add class and warmth to your home. But while they may be durable, proper maintenance and care must be exercised to ensure that this investment will last you for many years. The number one enemy of hardwood floors is water. Water damages wood floors in such a way that it could cost you thousands in water damage cleanup or worse, in floor replacement.
No matter what you do, there is always a possibility that you will have water on your hardwood floors, be it an ordinary spillage from a glass of water or a disastrous flash flood. Here are 6 handy tips that would help prevent water damage to your expensive hardwood floors.
Here are 6 Handy Tips
Put some finishing, whether acrylic, urethane or polyurethane on your hardwood floors, if you can. Finished floors are more water resistant and would be easy to clean with a sweeper, vacuum or damp mop. Unfinished hardwood floors are more prone to water damage.
If there is always water on the floor, find out where it came from and do some repair or replacements to prevent that source from causing water damage to your floor again. Some sources of water damage hardwood floors may have encountered are leaking pipes, leaking roofs, leaking drainage and rain splatters.
If there is water on the floor, do not let the water stand but immediately dry the floor. If the amount of water is excessive, get everything off the floor including rugs and furniture. Mop or wipe off as much water as you can. Use a blower or fan to help dry the floor as soon as possible and move the fan around.
Do not mop your floor with a very wet mop. The excess water will seep into the pores of the wood and cause warping or rotting. When you see excess water on the floor after mopping it, immediately follow-up with a dry cloth or a dry mop to absorb excess water before it penetrates into the wood.
Put mats or rugs in areas where spillages can possibly occur such as under the tables, next to sinks or counters. However, make sure that these are always dry underneath.
Have an absorbent cloth or sponge ready so that when there is an accidental spillage, you can immediately absorb as much liquid as you can.
Knowing what to do when there is a threat of damage to your hardwood floors will save you a lot of money in water damage cleanup and floor repairs.
Mold and mildew are both similar in that they are known as moisture type molds, meaning that they thrive and proliferate in moist environments. They like to grow on organic materials like wool, leather, wood, cotton and paper but can be seen in walls, floors and ceilings.
Mildew and mold in the basement are common but it is not safe to continue with this condition just a few feet away from where you sleep and eat. When they are left to grow, the molds and mildew will eventually develop a natural defense which is known as myotoxins. These are very toxic and can cause illnesses to the upper respiratory system which may be difficult to diagnose if nobody knows that it is caused by them. If you see any sign of them in the basement, immediately do mold mildew removal procedures.
Mold and Mildew Removal Tips
If you are undertaking this yourself, you need to put on protective gear like goggles, face mask, disposable clothing and long rubber gloves to protect yourself from coming in contact with the molds or the chemicals that you will be using to clean them.
Identify the source of moisture in the basement. Look for leaking pipes, laundry piles, water heaters or carpets which are ideal places to grow. Fix them immediately to prevent future growth.
Open up the windows to let the sunshine and fresh air in as it will immediately get rid of mold and mildew.
Immediately remove and dispose of affected materials in sealed plastic bags to prevent the molds and mildew from spreading.
Spray on undiluted white vinegar to severely affected areas or a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part vinegar to prevent the molds and mildew from becoming airborne.
Scrub off the mold and mildew stains with a stiff and sturdy brush using specialized mold and mildew killer chemicals or a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar, a homemade cleaning solution which is just as effective in killing them.
If you are using the natural cleaning solution, disinfect the area with a bleach solution using 1/4 cup of bleach diluted in a gallon of water. If you are using a chemical solution, there is no need to follow-up with a disinfectant because it already has a disinfectant included.
Remove water from the area well using a blow fan, heater and/or control future humidity levels with a dehumidifier.
While most instances of home floods are minimal and usually damage only the carpet and floors, there are instances when these floods will fill up the basement. Since the basement is the lowest portion of the house and is designed to be waterproof to keep water from entering it, letting out the flood water is also a problem. You cannot delay applying remedial measures to fix water damage in the basement. The longer basement water repair works are delayed, the higher the chances of permanent water damage. Even worse, molds will develop in just 48 hours and this can be toxic to you and your family.
There are two instances when you want to do the basement water repair work yourself. First is if you do not have homeowner’s or flood insurance and the expense of hiring a contractor would be more than you can afford. Second is when the water that flooded the basement is clean and the volume is not too much. But in order for you to successfully fix your basement flooding, you need to be equipped with the right tools to do the job.
If you really want the most basic method, bailing out the water using buckets is the cheapest way to go. You may not need to buy if you already have this at home. But the volume of water you can haul out with a bucket is very limited so the work will be slow and backbreaking.
You can remove more water with a sump pump. The requirement for the sump pump to siphon out the water is that it has to be submerged so when the water is very low, the sump pump will no longer work unless you have a prepared sump pit in your basement where water can flow to.
Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner
Your vacuum cleaner would be a great help in removing water in your basement, provided that it is clean and does not contain contaminants will could be a potential health hazard.
Industrial strength submersible pumps
These can be gas-powered which is useful when the flood caused a power outage in your place. These pumps can remove a lot of water in a short time and can be rented out from basement water repair contractors or bought from reputable dealers for consistent protection.
Flood Water Pumper Extractor
This can be rented out from contractors and can come in portable and truck mounted type. Both have tanks that will collect sludge and debris which can be safely disposed of later.
However, when the work is massive, it might be a better option to get a contractor to fix water damage than do it yourself. Working with a contractor will give you the guarantee that the work is being done properly and there is nothing left that will add further damage to your home and your health.
Because basements are located underground, it is always prone to flooding. Whether your home is new or old, there will always be a possibility of a basement water problem so it is important to constantly inspect the basement for any signs of water leakage or seepage. When your basement gets flooded, there will not only be costly repairs required, especially if your basement is finished, but there will be health concerns and the risk of electrocution.
There are many reasons why your basement can get flooded, even if your home is new.
Your sanitary and rainwater sewers may be combined so excess water from outside can enter through the home’s drainpipes in the floor, sink or toilet. To prevent this, standpipes should be connected to the floor drain so that when water backs up into the floor drain, it stays in the standpipe instead of getting out. In new constructions, the Clean Water Act prevents routing of rainwater to the sewer systems.
Water that has congregated in a sidewalk, driveway outside next to the foundation wall may seep in through the cracks in the foundation. There may also be excessive rainwater in the grounds around the foundation which can also cause water to come into the basement. Many home owners have basement water sealing done to their home or install sump pumps as a preventive measure but this will not guarantee against floods or leakages.
Leaking toilet or leaking or busted pipe. It may not necessarily be in the basement itself. It may be in the upper floors but the water ends up dripping down to your basement. This has to be fixed or replaced right away.
Clogged tubs or sinks. Again, it might be in the upper floors but the water will end up in the lowest part of the house, the basement. The only remedy would be to unclog and fix the drains or the pipes so the water flows down to the drain pipe instead of to the basement.
For those who perpetually suffer basement water problems, it may be a good idea not only to waterproof your basement but to install a sump pump as well which can immediately remove whatever excess water there is before it does damage to your basement.
Hopefully, these suggestions will give you an idea as to why there is a water problem in your basement.
Water is something we cannot do without in this world but water damage is something we can do without. In the event of water damage, carpet condition will have to be assessed first before you can decide on what would be the best thing to do. The extent of damage from water would depend on how long it was submerged and what effect it had on the carpet. If it was submerged for a long time, there is a possibility that its fibers have already detached from its backing. However, some carpets are durable enough not to be easily disintegrated when submerged in water.
Carpet Water Damage
To start off, first find out what kind of water has flooded your carpet. Clean water from pipe leak or break, sink or tub overflow and rainwater will not cause too much damage to your carpet and will only require cleaning if there are no signs of damage. Water coming from toilet overflow, leaks from the hot water heater or other leaks that can possibly carry small contaminants can also be vacuumed off if the water volume is not too much but would require a truck mounted extractor if the volume is more than your vacuum cleaner can handle. Carpets flooded with unsanitary water coming from raw sewage with major contaminants should be disposed of since the bacteria will pose a big danger to your health.
If, in your assessment, the damage is minimal and you can do this job yourself, you can start off by remediating the source of the water. If it is a leaking pipe, fix the leak or replace the pipe. Remove all the furniture in the room and remove the carpet and under padding. Remove as much of the water as you can in the earliest possible time. Hang out the carpet to dry using large fans or put them in an area with direct sunlight.
If there was a considerable amount of flooding, it would be a good idea to call in a professional to assess the size and scope of the damage. Homeowner’s insurance should cover the cost of replacing your carpet if there is severe damage from water. It might be cheaper in the long run to replace than to do remedial measures in trying to salvage your carpet. Unless it is a very rare or unique one, you might as well get rid of the carpet as it will always pose a risk that the water has not been fully extracted or dried and can even damage the floor underneath.
Whatever you do, make sure that no damp or wet carpet is left in your house which can breed molds that will be detrimental to your health.