Wood floors may be attractive, but in order to keep them looking nice, they need to be taken care of. And one thing that wooden floors absolutely hate is excess moisture. That's why it's very important to deal with any flooding or leaks on wooden floors quickly and professionally.
Any pooling or standing water on a wooden floor should be removed right away to prevent it from soaking into the wood. Removing pooling water is a simple task – a mop and bucket are enough to soak up most spills.
Standing water is more difficult. In order to get rid of it quickly, you need to pump it off the floor. The best way to do this is a wet/dry vacuum, so if you have one, you're in luck. Don't try to use a regular vacuum for this, however, as you'll just end up damaging it. And if you don't have a wet/dry vacuum, it's important to get a hold of one as quickly as you can – borrow one from someone you know, rent one from a hardware store, or hire a water damage restoration company to bring one out to your home.
Drying Out The Floor
If you were able to clear the water off the floor quickly, there's a chance you won't need to dry out the floor as well. But if water was pooling and not cleaned up immediately or you had standing water, you should have the floor professionally dried by a damage restoration company.
You may think that drying out a wooden floor is something that you can do yourself, but the problem is that moisture penetrates through wooden floors, much of it ending up deep in the wood. With large amounts of water, some of it may even soak through to the subfloor.
Because of this, it's not enough to dry out the surface. If you run hot air over your floor with fans, for instance, it is likely to do more damage than good. While this will dry out the topmost part of the wood, it won't penetrate deeply enough to dry it out completely. The wood will end up warping and buckling, and mold can grow in the damp lower portions.
Restoration companies, on the other hand, have specialized equipment for wooden floors. There are rubber vacuum mats, for example, that can be placed to cover a wooden floor and then suck the moisture out through the small spaces between boards. Heavy-duty fans and dehumidifiers can be used as well.
If caught quickly, there's a good chance that a water-logged wooden floor can be saved; the longer the moisture remains, however, the more likely it is that you will need to replace your wood flooring.