How to Cleanup, Dry, and Repair Flooded Hardwood, Composite, Engineered and Laminate Floors Without Needing to Tear Them Out

Many homes have real hardwood floors. Others have composite or laminate floors. And when these floors get wet from flooding, slab leaks, burst pipes, etc, the cost can be huge to replace them depending on the type and cost of flooring. And the frustration can be huge on the building owner / occupants. We have a process and specialized machines that can dry them in place and save thousands of dollars over other companies as well as save weeks of unneeded repair work.

When hardwood floors get wet it is extremely important to call us immediately so that we can respond immediately and start the water removal and dryout process. The first step is always to get the water shut off so that further damage does not occur. The main shutoff valve for most homes is located in the garage, near the water heater, and / or the street curb. We can help assist you over the phone to get it shutoff immediately or one of our technicians can be on-site immediately to do it for you.

Hardwood floors will warp and buckle if they are kept wet for too long. The duration it takes to warp hardwood floors depends on the type of wood, how it was attached to the underlayment, and what type of water proofer it has on top of it. As a rule of thumb if we are on-site within a few hours to up to a couple days of flooding we can safe them. The quicker we start, the greater the chance that they can be saved.

Our process first involves removing the excess water from the surface. Then we can use several processes to extract the water from underneath the planks including floor matt drying systems that suck the water through the crack, perforating the varnish to all the floors to breath and release trapped water, extracting from the perimeter, tenting using dehumidifiers and/or desiccant driers, heat drying, etc. The method we use depends on the situation.

If the wood does warp many times we can still save the floor completely or later they can be re-sanded. Our goal is to dry them in-place without the need for sanding and refinishing later. Other times the warping will lay back down with time when the humidity of the wood flooring reaches equilibrium with the air in the building. As a rule of thumb this can be anywhere between a few days to a few weeks and again depends on factors like if the flooring was glued down originally, what type of wood the flooring is, the grain direction of the floor, if there is a varnish on top holding the planks together, etc.

Can laminate or engineered flooring be saved once it is wet? The answer is sometimes. These types of flooring range in composition of 100% synthetic floor to pictures of wood on top of plywood to partial real hardwood flooring on top of composite underlayment pieces. Therefore, the question is difficult to answer if it can be saved without knowing the length of time it has been wet and the type of product it is. But as a general rule of thumb laminate or engineered wood flooring will be much less likely to be saved compared to real hardwood floors. Additionally, a good rule of thumb is that we would need to start the drying process within a couple hours to 24 hours of it being wet, or less, to be able to save them. However, some of them will have a layer on top with real hardwood that can sometimes be sanded and refinished if the layer is thick enough, typically ¼” or greater can potentially go through this process.

Hard wood flooring needs to constantly be looked after, not just when it’s wet. You should be cleaning your hardwood floor at least once a week, but preferably more! A common myth about vacuuming is that these devices should be avoided for hardwood floors as they tend to scratch and damage the flooring. While this could be true for some vacuums that are specially designed for carpets, the advanced scratch-free vacuum cleaners are completely safe for hardwood floors. 10BestRanked has produced a review for the top 10 best vacuums for Hardwood floors, if you have one you should take a look.

If you have real hardwood floors or laminate floors, or composite floors that have gotten wet due to flooding, call us 24/7 at 619.597.2003 for emergency extraction and drying. Other services we do are mold remediation, fire / smoke remediation, and associated reconstruction services.


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