Excessive water from a flood or plumbing leak is a hassle, especially when it causes damage to your floors. Water damage manifests in a variety of different ways, and water can affect different flooring in different ways.
Common Signs of Water Damage
If you smell an odd, musty odor coming up from your floors, it could be a sign of unseen water damage. Strange odors usually mean that mold is growing in your floors because there is too much moisture. You may also notice slight swelling if you have wood floors; this is a common sign of water damage that many homeowners face if they live in a high-humidity area.
Floor discoloration or buckling is more likely to happen when there has been extensive water damage. When the entire floor has been immersed in water, particularly wood floors, mold can grow and rot the wood, leaving you with an unsightly, unstable mess.
How Different Flooring Types Handle Water Damage:
- Ceramic/Porcelain Tile: Fairly resilient. The only time you should remove the tile is if the grout has loosened or the plywood underneath has gotten wet.
- Hardwood: Because wood is semi-porous, it depends on how long the water has been on the wood. A short time should see a rapid recovery but wood floors that have been under water for a long time may need to be replaced.
- Linoleum: Linoleum works as a vapor barrier and should be fairly water resistant unless water gets below the material, in which case it will need to be removed so the subfloor can dry.
- Vinyl: Like linoleum, vinyl is resilient but may need to be removed if the floor underneath gets wet. Because it works as a vapor barrier, excess moisture below the material cannot evaporate.
- Laminate: Water and laminate flooring are not friends. Because laminate is made of a combination of wood and particle or pressboard, it will fall apart if it suffers water damage.
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