By now, you probably know that excess water is public enemy #1 of solid hardwood flooring, but sometimes, no matter how careful we are, floods will happen. Remember Hurricane Sandy and all of Connecticut's significant rain and snowstorms? Wood's porous absorbs liquid and then cups, crowns, and warps.

First, don't panic


But do realize that wet wood flooring needs to be attended to immediately. Here is a step-by-step guide explaining what to do if this happens:

1. Remove any wet towels, rugs, blankets, etc. One poignant memory from Hurricane Sandy is rolling up and carrying a rug that must have weighed at least 1500 pounds, but we had no choice; it had to be removed off the wood floors. 

2. Use a wet vac and then manually dry the floors as thoroughly as possible. Water can hide between the seams, under the planks, and keep in mind that when a subfloor gets wet, it can travel up to the surface floor.

3. Scrub with a disinfectant (no suds!) to remove dirt, debris and to prevent bacteria from growing.

4. Remove remaining water with a wet vac and use a wood cleaner to remove the disinfectant, leaving a residue.  

5. Thoroughly dry, using dehumidifiers and fans. If weather permits, open windows.

6. Check for mold and mildew once the floor is dry. If you see any sign of mold, scrub with a paste of baking soda and water.

7. Use a moisture meter but call a professional immediately if you have even the slightest doubt about the remaining water.

As always, prevention is better than cure


Weather aside, avoid anything you might do that generates moisture. Wipe spills immediately and put mats at entrances. If you clean and polish the floor, wipe it dry to ensure nothing seeps between the seams. 

Also, consider engineered flooring. It’s a version of hardwood flooring that looks similar to solid but has a construction that makes it more stable and better able to handle water. As a result, it can be installed even over concrete subfloors, which are generally too damp for solid, and can be installed in any house grade, including basements. Like solid, it can be refinished and adds value to a property.