Tips To Help You Clean Up And Restore Your Wood Floors After Flood Damage

Posted on: 14 July 2016

When your hardwood floors have become water damaged from flooding, the boards can warp with the high moisture content and it is necessary to dry them out to prevent mold growth. Unfortunately, you cannot dry out hardwood floors quickly, as this can cause the boards to permanently warp and become useless, needing replacement. To preserve your hardwood flooring and prevent their need for replacement, drying them slowly is the best option. But, because a slow drying process of your hardwood floors can promote mold growth, you will need to clean up any mold growth as the boards dry. Here is information to help you clean up water damage after flooding to your hardwood floors while cleaning up mold growth.

Clean Up Mold

Whenever you clean up mold, such as on your wood floors, it is important to protect your health from the mold spores. Inhaling mold spores can cause a range of allergic reactions, including shortness or breath, wheezing, and other breathing problems. Wear a respirator or dust mask to protect yourself from mold spore inhalation while you clean up, and wear rubber or latex gloves to protect your skin from mold spore contact. Also, if you have not already done so, open all the windows in your home to help ventilate the area during the mold clean-up.

Combine a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and three percent hydrogen peroxide and spray this over mold growth on the floorboards. You can use a spray bottle for smaller areas or a garden sprayer for large affected areas. Let it sit over the porous wood surface for 15 minutes, then wipe up the mold with a cloth or sponge. 

If you don't have hydrogen peroxide, you can use straight white vinegar, spraying it onto the mold. Let the vinegar sit for one-half hour and wipe the mold from the wood.  Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide both will seep into the pores of the wood to kill any mold spores or roots that have grown into the wood grain.

It is not necessary to rinse the vinegar or hydrogen peroxide from the wood. Allowing the liquids to remain in the wood can help protect the wood from additional mold growth. Any vinegar odor will dissipate after several hours.

Dry Out Floors

Now that you have treated and removed any mold growth from your hardwood floorboards, you can begin the drying process. Crack open windows in your home a couple inches to help ventilate the moisture from your home. If it is humid outside, you can turn on your home's furnace or air conditioner to help dehumidify the air. Position several fans onto the floorboards to help their drying process. 

If you have a basement or crawlspace below the hardwood-covered floor, direct some fans onto the under side of the floor from the basement space. If your basement or crawlspace has drywall installed beneath the hardwood flooring, it is best to cut an opening in the basement drywall for the fans to reach the boards and joists of the hardwood flooring. In a flood situation, you may have already removed any water-saturated drywall. This will aid in the drying out of your hardwood flooring by allowing more air to circulate beneath the flooring.

To prevent the water-soaked boards from swelling and bucking, it is helpful to remove several floorboards from the room's flooring to provide more space and relieve pressure as they dry. This can also help you divert and blow fan air down into the sub-floor below the hardwood boards during the drying process. Place the boards in another room or outside in a protected area while they dry. Then, you can replace them back into your floor once the wood's swelling has gone down. You may also want to remove any baseboards in the room to help them dry as well. Then, a dehumidifier can be helpful to pull moisture from the air of your home while you continue to dry out your floors. 

Use this information to help dry out and clean up any mold growth from your home's hardwood flooring after a flood. You might also want to contact a company like Complete Restoration Services for assistance.