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Laminate and floating timber plank is an extremely versatile flooring product. It can be installed in virtually any room of your home, over wood or concrete subflooring. Durability and low maintenance, along with a wide variety of design choices, make laminate flooring a favourite floor covering choice for Sydney residents. As with almost all construction materials, however, leaving water on your laminate timer flooring will cause irreversible damage.
Excess water that is allowed to sit on wood floors for an extended period of time may cause the floors to become warped or create white cloudy stains / spots and discoloration of the top coat polyurethane. Fast Wet timber drying is vital to prevent damage to your floors, Once any excess water is cleaned up, a fan should be placed on the floor to help dry the timber planks, not completely moisture free timber flooring will develop mould,
In many cases, the laminate / floating /solid timber floorboards becomes flooded in hallway, lounge room or kitchen when a dishwasher, washing machine, or burst pipe leaks, though of course standing water of any kind can cause damage. Once the source of the water is determined and fixed, the laminate floor should be dried thoroughly. This task can usually be completed by mopping or using a wet-dry vacuum, depending on the amount of water. Wood floors pose special problems for extraction as water becomes trapped under and between the planks. This problem is compounded by the existence of wood sub-floors.
Wood flooring is potentially the most damaged because it tends to swell and buckle as it becomes wet and cannot be dried out rapidly or adequately. Wooden floors should be dried gradually and equally, you need to get the moisture out, but at the right rate. Too fast, and you run the risk of splitting the wood. Too slow, and you run the risk of warping /cupping/ etc. Buckling or warping is almost always as a result of moisture and/ or water damage. High moisture content in the air can sometimes lead to buckling or warping. Excessive water on the surface of the floor can also lead to buckling or warping.
The laminate timber flooring is typically resistant to water damage, but standing water and large amount of moisture that gets under the floor (as the water has no place to evaporate) can eventually destroy the floor and delaminate the product. The laminate flooring is damaged beyond restoration when wet in between the interlocking parts and the core of a laminate floor plank (middle section is made from HDF).
Prior to removing an existing flooring or installing a new floor or repairing an existing laminate floor, if there are visible indications of mold or mildew or the presence of a strong musty odour in the area where flooring is to be removed or installed, the source of the problem should be identified and corrected.
How to clean and dry wet laminate timber flooring?
- Remove / vacuum / mop up excess water, work slowly to remove as much water as possible. Wring out your mop into the mop bucket periodically so that the mop is as absorbent as possible.
- Do not allow excess liquid to remain on the surface of your laminate floor. Dry any remaining standing moisture with clean, dry rags. Soak up the water, and wring out the rags into your mop bucket. Dry the floor as thoroughly as possible in this manner
- Blot up spills or water from surface of timer flooring, wet feet or footwear immediately with a clean, dry cloth, sponge, or paper towel.
- A damp cloth or mop can be used without damage to clean stains from the laminate flooring panels, but do not use excessive water. Dry the floor thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth.
- Do hire fan (carpet blower) to speed up drying process, . Place a fan in one corner that points into the wet area room, and turn it on. Open doors and windows to help circulate the air in the room.
- Do not use heaters as this may cause the wood to split and crack.
- Do place weights or shoring on the floors to discourage warping and buckling. If some boards do warp, wait until the floor is completely dry before replacing them as drying may help to straighten them.
- Do not steam clean or use chemicals that may damage the laminate flooring surface.
- Do not use soap-based detergents, abrasive cleaners, or combined “clean and shine” products on your laminate floor.
- Do not use steel wool or other scouring pads that may scratch laminate timber panels.
- Do not wax or polish your laminate flooring.
- Do inspect moisture and standing water in skirting and expansion gaps beneath them. Water could penetrate under floorboards from the gaps next to walls and destroy flooring.
An expansion gap is a necessary part of any successful installation because it allows space for the expansion of the floor as it responds to these external influences of temperature and humidity.
If you choose to dry out your timber floor by yourself, be sure allow the wood to dry equally and gradually. Never use heaters to dry wood floors as the heat will cause sudden focused drying and you will cause permanent damage to the heated area. Air circulation is a good drying method. Open the windows and doors of the damaged room to allow air to free-flow. You can speed up the process by using fans to promote faster air circulation.
Wet laminate and floating floorboards common problems
Buckling or Warping: Buckling or warping is almost always as a result of moisture and/ or water damage. Laminate flooring is affected by water in a number of ways. High moisture content in the air can sometimes lead to buckling or warping. Excessive water on the surface of the floor can also lead to buckling or warping. For this reason, it is important never to wet mop a laminate floor. The most common cause of edge-warping or buckling is water or dampness rising from the subfloor in conjunction with the lack of a sufficient moisture barrier.
Mold and Mildew: Issues concerning mold and mildew are gaining increased attention from both residential and commercial property owners as well as the public at large. In virtually all situations if there is a mold issue, there is an excessive moisture issue. In order to prevent, control, or eradicate mold and mildew, one must first identify, evaluate, and eliminate the source of excessive moisture.
After a flood or water damage, some damages on the timber floorboards may be difficult to see or may develop later, if water damaged timber floor is not completely dry and sanitised, more likely mold begin grow within few weeks. You may need special equipment to measure moisture content and professional help may be your best route especially where you have doubts.
Prior to removing an existing flooring or installing a new floor or repairing an existing laminate floor, if there are visible indications of mold or mildew or the presence of a strong musty odor in the area where flooring is to be removed or installed, the source of the problem should be identified and corrected.
Stains and Odour: Once the wood has been soaked by Water, timber may develop discoloration or failure of the top coat polyurethane and/or stains on the wood planks surface. A white stain or haze typically indicates minimal damage to the surface of timber floor. To remove this spot, use light pressure to buff the finish of the wood with a mild cleanser and a cotton cloth.
Depending upon what caused the flood and respond time, wet timber floorboards develop unpleasant odor.(timber floor damaged by unsanitary water must be replaced) A black stain can indicate greater issues, such as mold growth. Wood is especially susceptible to mold growth, so you need to ensure that the floor and sub-floor are completely dry.
Expanding High Density Fiber Board (HDF): The core (middle section) of a laminate floor plank is made from HDF. Most laminate cores however are treated with water repellent chemicals. If your flooring core is water damaged, your only remedy is to replace the affected boards.
How to repair or replace the flood damaged timber floorboards
For more serious water damages, it might be necessary to replace the damaged boards. The glue-less laminate and floating timer flooring is both easy to install and repair. For this, you will need additional laminate flooring, although depend on damage level some floorboards may reuse after drying
Floor boards that are situated close to walls or skirting / moldings
1. Start by removing the baseboard or molding. Do this carefully so as not to damage the molding.
2. Remove the boards starting from the molding until the damaged board is accessible.
3. Replace the damaged board and then the rest of the boards you removed, by clicking them back in place.
4. Replace the molding.
The process of repairing a laminate floorboard closer to the center of the room is more detailed and time consuming. The process involves removing the damaged board utilizing a saw or router, then replacing the board utilizing a sufficient water resistant adhesive.
1) Mark the damaged board 3cm from ends and side. Drill holes at corners of marked area.
2) Cut along lines between the drilled holes and remove the center section. Then cut remaining piece in the center on both sides and remove.
3) Prepare a replacement board by cutting and removing the factory tongue along the long and short end of the board.
4) Apply a resinous (PVA) adhesive to the cut edges and replace the board by aligning the groove on the replacement board with the tongue of the abutting board, and snap back into place.
5) Make sure all edges are even on either side of the joints. Utilize a heavy object to apply pressure for at least 24 hours. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed across the new piece.