When you have water damage on a hardwood floor patience rewards hardwood floor drying.
There is no question that the appearance of a wet hardwood floor can go from bad to worse during the drying process.
All too often, restoration contractors default to the demolition option when another day, week or weeks of drying can make all the difference and the floor can be completely restored. When it comes to drying hardwood floors, the most important yet most often overlooked tool is patience.
When hardwood flooring is exposed to water, the finish protects the top of the flooring and water is absorbed into the unfinished underside of the wood. The back of the wood expands, causing the long outside edges of the floor to raise, an appearance referred to as cupping.
This cupping is not always evident during the initial water extraction, but it may appear during the drying process, causing concern with the contractor and property owner. However, when the drying system is properly set up, as the moisture content (MC) will drop in both the wood floor and underlay. This is the clearest evidence of the progress we’re looking for.
Continue drying until the MC reaches the drying goal (or dry standard). If cupping is still evident, it is likely due to minor differences in MC between the top and bottom of the wood flooring. Allow this to finish equalizing naturally (it might take several days or weeks), and the cupping will dissipate.
Once the flooring has completely flattened out, it can be cleaned and top-coated with polyurethane, usually without the need for sanding.
Remember these points:
Hardwood flooring can be restored when exposed to Category 1 water
The longer the floor is wet, the longer it will take to dry
Cupping may or may not be present initially and may appear during the drying process
Cupping is totally reversible
The drying process is done when both the MC returns to normal
Also when floors are above a crawl space the moisture can be coming from below and the crawl space needs to be dealt with then the floors will relax back down.
Patience is important.