Why am I being told that my waterproof laminate flooring needs to be pulled up after water damage?
Laminate flooring is often sold as being waterproof and highly durable, along with being a great way to add that hardwood floor look to your home. While it is very resilient to daily wear, enough water will eventually ruin your flooring, and if water gets underneath it, it makes it very difficult if not impossible to dry the subfloor below it. Let’s explore how to properly deal with a laminate floor that got wet in a flood or leak. From drying to preventing mold, let’s review the basics of repairing laminate floor water damage.
When Should Laminate Flooring Be Replaced After Water Damage?
When should you replace your laminate flooring? You should always replace wet laminate flooring when the damage is a result of a sewage backup due to the risk of mold and bacteria or if you cannot start cleaning up right away after a flood, if water has been present for more than 24 hours, or if you notice the laminate floor is starting to swell or buckle.
How Long Does It Take to Dry Laminate Flooring?
If you remove the flooring and use high-volume fans and dehumidifiers, it should only take 1 to 3 days to completely dry laminate flooring. The exact amount of time varies based on the number planks and the equipment you use.
Using regular house fans, It could take up to a week to dry laminate floors, especially if the relative humidity level in your house is above 40% .You should never dry wet laminate flooring in place as this could take weeks and creates a big opportunity for mold or bacteria to grow on the underside of the flooring.
Will Wet Laminate Dry Out on Its Own?
While wet laminate flooring will eventually dry out, it can take several weeks or longer to do so on its own. Not only does this increase the risk of mold, but it’s also likely the floor will start to degrade and fall apart too.
How Long Does It Take for Mold to Grow Under Wet Laminate?
It only takes as little as 24 hours for mold to start growing under wet laminate flooring, if the water is dirty, it has come from a dishwasher, outside groundwater, a toilet or dirty carpet it can start growing bacteria even quicker, in as little as 12 hours. The longer you wait to begin cleanup, the greater the chances you will have mold or unhealthy bacteria.
How Do You Get Moisture out of Laminate Flooring?
The best way to get rid of moisture in laminate flooring is to remove the boards and lay them flat to dry while positioning high-volume fans and dehumidifiers for the fastest drying time. Do not use heat, as this can damage the boards by causing them to warp or shrink.
Call Now for Expert Water Damage Restoration Services
Dealing with a laminate floor after water damage can be overwhelming. If you need help, our restoration specialists have the training and equipment to repair your flooring and your home fast. Call 770-609-2301 for a free estimate for water damage cleanup and repair.
Can You Fix Water Damaged Laminate Flooring?
Although there is a risk of swelling and warping, you can fix water damaged laminate flooring in many cases. The key to saving your flooring is to begin cleanup quickly and dry boards thoroughly. The longer you wait to start cleanup, the more likely the water will ruin your floor. Often insurance companies will prefer to just help you replace your water damaged laminate flooring rather than going to the expense of removing, cleaning, drying and then replacing it. It is often less expensive to simply dispose of the damaged laminate flooring and replace with new.
How Does Water Damage Laminate Flooring?
But I thought my laminate flooring was waterproof or water resistant? While the top layers of the laminate usually ism water can seep between the seams or if the source of the water is coming from within a wall, or enough water is in the room to reach the walls, the water can get underneath the water proof surface. The water will damage laminate flooring by soaking into the layers. Once inside the boards, it causes them to swell and warp. It also weakens the glue that holds them together and they can eventually fall apart.
It is also important to keep in mind that it is more important to clean underneath the laminate flooring as it is to get it dried out. This helps prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
Laminate floorboards typically have four different layers:
- Backing Layer – The backing layer is the bottom-most layer that touches the floor. It acts as both a moisture barrier and helps to balance the board on the floor below.
- Base or Core Layer – On top of the backing is the base or core layer. This forms the main structure of each board. It’s usually made of a composite wood material called high-density fiberboard.
- Design or Image Layer – Next is the design layer, which gives the floorboard it’s pattern or design. An image is printed on a thin paper or resin layer and glued to the base layer.
- Wear Layer – Finally, the board is coated in several layers of clear resin. This helps protect the board against scratches and everyday wear. It also serves as a moisture barrier to keep out water.
The base layer is most susceptible to water damage. Once the base layer is ruined, replacing the laminate flooring is the only option.
Can You Save Water Damaged Laminate Flooring?
When it comes to whether you can save water damaged laminate flooring, there are three things to consider:
- Amount of Water – The more water you have, the less likely you can save your flooring.
- Amount of Time – The longer laminate floors are wet, the lower the chance that you can save them.
- Source of the Water – You can normally save laminate damaged by clean water from a burst pipe or water tank flood that has not been sitting for more than 24 hours or that has become contaminated by going through walls, or dirty rugs, sewage backups or groundwater flooding also contains mold and bacteria that pose additional risks.
How Do You Dry Laminate Flooring After Water Damage?
The following steps explain how to dry laminate flooring after water damage like a flood or a major leak. If you only spilled water on your laminate floor, you can just wipe it up with a towel.
- Remove Standing Water – If your laminate floor is still covered with water, you need to remove that first. For less than an inch of water, use a mop or towels to soak it up. For larger amounts of water, use either a pump or a wet-dry vacuum.
- Remove the Flooring – Next, you need to remove all of the floorboards. Pry up the trim, then carefully remove each board. This will make it much easier to dry your laminate flooring.
- Dry Each Plank– Then dry the flooring with high-volume fans and dehumidifiers. While you should lift each board up to speed drying, make sure you keep them flat. Otherwise, they can bend or warp which makes reinstalling them more difficult.
- Dry and Clean the Subflooring – While the laminate boards are drying, remove any remaining water from the subflooring. Use towels to soak up excess water, then use fans and a dehumidifier to thoroughly dry the area. If necessary, clean the subfloor with soap and warm water. Then disinfect with a plant based antimicrobial to kill any potential mold or bacteria that may be present.
- Clean and Disinfect the Floorboards – Once the boards are completely dry, wash them with soap and warm water. Dry them with a clean towel before disinfecting them with a plant based antimicrobial. This will kill mold and help prevent odors. Let them dry before reinstalling.
- Reinstall Your Laminate Planks – Next, reinstall your laminate flooring. Depending on the amount of damage, it may be necessary to replace some boards.