Water Damage to Your Hardwood Floors: Repair or Replace?

Hardwood floor repair professionals serving Calgary, Chestermere, Okotoks and area

Water Damage to Your Hardwood Floors: Repair or Replace?

Water is the natural enemy of every hardwood floor. You do everything you can to stay on top of spills, but you can’t control everything, and now the worst has happened! Your once gleaming hardwood floor has been damaged by water!


What Does Water Do to a Hardwood Floor?

Wood is an organic material that can only resist the effects of water for a short time. That’s why expediency is key to preventing damage from occurring. But sometimes, things happen that you can’t plan for. For example, you’re away on vacation and while you’re lying on a beach soaking up the sun, a pipe breaks and floods your kitchen which then remains that way for several days. Now what?

Signs of Water Damage on hardwood Floors

Depending on how long the floor was wet, damage can vary. Here are some signs of damage to look for:

1. Staining and/or discoloration

2. Cupping and buckling from absorbed moisture

3. Popping nails

4. Lifting of floorboards (especially at the ends)

5. Mold growth (can occur within 48 hours of flooding)

Considering that the normal moisture content in a typical hardwood floor is somewhere between 6 and 12 percent and a flooded hardwood floor can have a moisture content of up to 40 percent, damage can be severe. Much of it has to do with the amount of time that the floor is exposed to the water. More moisture will be retained if the floor is left to dry on its own.

Deciding Factors for Replacement or Repair your hardwood floor

Determining whether a water-damaged hardwood floor can be repaired or must be torn up and replaced will depend on a number of factors such as:

1. the length of time the floor has been exposed to water

2. whether your floor is solid hardwood or engineered hardwood

3. the severity of the damage (Has the water penetrated into to the subfloor?)

4. the floor’s finish (It can be difficult to match certain stain colors when replacing isolated floorboards, especially if the stain has “mellowed” with time.)


If the damage is minor, the floor can sometimes be saved by replacing affected boards and then sanding and refinishing the whole hardwood floor. If the damage is severe or extensive causing significant expansion, the entire hardwood floor may need replacing — and sometimes even the subfloor will have to be replaced.

If you suspect water damage, the first step is to have the floor’s condition assessed by a hardwood flooring professional. Call Advantage Hardwood at 403 995 9779 and one of our hardwood water damage repair experts can help assess the situation and give you an estimate on repairing or replacing your hardwood floors.

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