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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Techniques Do Professional Restorers Use to Remove Water from Different Types of Flooring?

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

One Mitigation and Remediation Approach Does Not Fit All Wet Floors, but Highly Qualified SERVPRO Crews Choose and Implement Appropriate Strategies for Water Removal in Sarasota 

Most homes in Sarasota feature a variety of flooring materials. Although homeowners expect stability and durability from floor coverings, some types handle water loss better than others. You can count on our managers and crews to use their Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) courses and certifications, combined with hands-on experience to arrive at the most successful result for all of your water-damaged floors.

Is Water Removal and Drying Enough to Save Laminate Flooring?

When Sarasota homes feature laminate flooring, water removal can prove inadequate to restore the appearance and functionality of this engineered material. Laminate floors mimic hardwood, stone, tile, and other desired looks. Manufacturers produce laminate flooring with easy to install strips or panels that float over or glue down to a resilient substrate. The finished laminate product typically is made of:

  • A photographic applique layer that resembles a natural surface or ceramic tile 
  • A transparent protective synthetic layer that overlies the applique
  • An inner core layer often composed of melamine resin and fiberboard materials (engineered wood)

Whether it be from a plumbing break, appliance breakdown, or failure of other water sources within a structure, flooding over laminate flooring normally results in rapid delamination of the layers and any adhesives used in installation fail. The foam underpinning, and subfloor also become wet. Water removal and drying can restore the plywood or OSB subfloor, but the laminate nearly always needs at least partial removal and replacement. SERVPRO is a licensed general contractor, prepared to manage the demolition and reinstallation of a laminate floor seamlessly as part of the overall water damage restoration project.

Are Hardwood Floors as Delicate as Laminate Floors?

When discussing plans for hardwood flooring water removal in Sarasota with your SERVPRO project manager, we offer various strategies to remove standing water, dry out residual moisture, and refinish damaged areas. Finished hardwood flooring is dense and naturally resistant to water. Warping or distortion of the planks can occur as water drains between the planks or strip joints and under the baseboards. 

Why Do Distortions Occur in Wet Hardwood Floors and What Are Solutions?

  • Water trapped between the subfloor and hardwood planks wicks up through the unfinished underside of the hardwood.
  • Usually, the malformation is in the form of "cupping," where the sides of the planks or strips swell, pushing up and leaving the center of each section lower, like a cup-bottom.
  • The extraction of standing water must be followed by moisture detection and metering to locate the water soaked into the substrate.
  • While drying removes most of the distortion, once moisture levels are returned to normal sanding can resolve any residual cupping, and refinishing returns the luster.

Our options to remove the absorbed water include:

  • Loosening ends of strips or planks to permit dry, warm air to flow over and under
  • Using negative air pressure (suction) to pull water out of several layers, delivered through an adhesive floor mat system connected by hoses to an extractor
  • Positioning heaters and air movers beneath the affected subfloor (best results where no ceiling or vapor barriers are present)
  • Consistent monitoring of the drying process to a material moisture level of about 12 – 15 percent (or equaling wood floor moisture levels in unaffected areas of your home)

Note: SERVPRO takes monitoring of moisture levels seriously, as "crowning," (a reaction to over-drying that can cause the center of the plank to convex) is not as amenable to sanding and refinishing compared to cupping.

What Challenges are Associated with Drying Tile Floors?

Resilient floors like vinyl and asphalt tiles can handle water damage better, needing pumping of water deeper than 2 inches and squeegeeing and removing residual wetness with truck-mounted or portable extractors. Sometimes glued vinyl tiles loosen and are usually best replaced with new materials. If asphalt tiles show signs of asbestos, licensed remediation technicians must contain and lawfully dispose of the materials, and tile replacement becomes essential.

How Are Ceramic Tile Floors Handled During Water Removal?

In theory, ceramic tile floors should be nearly waterproof. However, over time grout and other sealants can crack or dry out, permitting water to percolate to the subfloor. If it has been wet for an extended period of time, it may not be salvageable due to microbial growth and potential damage to the subfloor. SERVPRO looks for dislodged tiles and musty odors to discern if water has drained through. We also can employ infrared imaging and moisture detectors to test for water incursion. The drying process is similar to that for extracting and drying for hardwood floors:

  • We employ floor mat negative pressure extraction systems.
  • We loosen tiles in strategic spots to permit access for water removal and to enhance drying.
  • We check for mold issues and refer to our certified mold remediation team if indicated.

The IICRC-trained managers and crews of SERVPRO of South Sarasota have a comprehensive understanding of how moisture-damaged flooring materials respond to the many water removal strategies we apply to make it "Like it never even happened." Call for a consultation at (941) 552-6319.

Contractor Licenses:

General: CGC1504870

Mold Remediation: MRSR3181

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