How to Dry Water Under Laminate Flooring? (A Step-By-Step Approach)
Laminated floors are usually built on a level basis, and the sections have an interlocking system. Plus, laminate floors are usually made of thin layers glued together to create a solid surface, making installation easier and faster.
However, when water gets in between seams or layers, it can lead to numerous problems.
Water is not just a risk to your home. It can also be a nightmare for your flooring. When water leaks under the laminate flooring and doesn’t dry out quickly, the moisture will eventually cause warping and damage.
Therefore, the first step is to mop out all the excess water from the outer surface. After that, you can follow these steps to dry water under laminate flooring.
Symptoms of Water Damage on Laminate Flooring
If water makes its way into the structure of laminate flooring, it can cause serious damage. The water can seep in deep and cause bubbling or buckling, which will ruin the flooring.
The best way to prevent water damage is by installing a high-quality underlayment or moisture barrier. But sometimes, the damage has already been done, and you need to resolve it as soon as possible.
Suppose you are experiencing any of the following problems. In that case, there is a good chance that water has started damaging your floors.
- Warped boards
- Soft Spots
- Musty Odors
- Discoloration or Hazy appearance
What Happens If Water Gets Under Laminate Flooring?
Whenever water gets under laminate flooring, it soaks into the boards. Although the top layer of laminate flooring is water-resistant, the materials beneath it are not. Water can penetrate the material and cause it to expand and warp over time.
Despite laminate flooring not having much airflow, moisture can remain trapped. In addition to damaging the floorboards, water can also damage the padding and subfloor under the laminate, causing further damage. Also, it can cause mildew and mold to grow.
How To Dry Water Under Laminate Flooring?
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to dry water under laminate flooring:
Step 1: Locate the Source of Water
Water can be dangerous to laminate flooring. If it leaks under the flooring, it can blister the top layer, which can be sanded down and refinished.
The first thing you should do when you discover that water has gotten under laminate flooring is to locate the source of the flooding and stop it. If your floor gets wet, or even just one part of it, it is wise not to leave the water on the floor. Take immediate action.
Step 2: Dry the Surface Moisture
Water that accumulates on the outside surface of laminate floors needs to be removed as soon as possible. It prevents moisture from soaking under your floorboards.
It’s advisable to use a mop, towel, or dry cloth to clean this mess. If the liquid mess is quite large, do not push the rag or cloth into it. It prevents water from draining into the seams, which can cause water to seep under laminate flooring.
Use a thicker cloth like a towel to quickly soak a spill. Place your piece of cloth directly onto the spill and allow it to soak without pushing it.
Step 3: Utilize Large Fans or Dehumidifiers
Try to dry your floor with fans and dehumidifiers. A dehumidifier will eliminate moisture from the air, while fans will improve air circulation and accelerate the drying process.
Apart from speeding up the drying process, these two also help to prevent mildew and mold.
It is smart to introduce a space heater or use an HVAC system to accelerate the drying process, which adds warmth and accelerates evaporation.
Step 4: Take Out the Floorboards
You will start by removing the trim on the groove side of the board, then removing the boards one at a time. Only the first row will require some difficulty; the rest will come out easily.
Keep the dry boards separate from the wet ones to keep them dry.
Also See: How to Remove Laminate Flooring?
Step 5: Dry the Wet Flooring
Once you have removed the floorboards, place them near a fan or dehumidifier to speed up the drying process. Make sure the boards are placed flat to prevent warping.
An unusable board can be rendered unusable depending on the extent of the damage caused by the water. A warp will only make reinstallation more difficult. If the bend is extreme, reinstalling that laminate floorboard will destroy the boards nearby. Replacing the board is the advisable option.
Step 6: Clean the Underlayment
Laminate flooring is typically installed over an underlayment for padding. If you have laminate flooring with underlayment, you need to clean the surface to remove any moisture. Although the pads are water-resistant, not all are waterproof.
Hence, you should check under the pads for any moisture that might have seeped through. Failure to do so increases mold growth and damages your floor. If the underlayment is severely damaged, the only option is to replace it.
Adding a layer of padding to your floor makes it more comfortable underfoot and reduces noise.
Step 7: Disinfect the Subfloor
After removing the underlayment, it’s time to dry out any water standing on the floor.
Keep moisture from reaching the dry parts of the subfloor. Disinfect the subfloor based on the type of spill. If the spill is not water, you can use ammonia-free dish soap and warm, clean water.
Additionally, you can clean your subfloor with a bleach solution to tackle odors and prevent mold growth. The subfloor should be completely dry after disinfecting. If it has been damp for some time, showing signs of damage, replacing it may be the most effective option.
Step 8: Disinfect Your Floorboards
Now that the floorboards are dry, it’s time to disinfect them. Mix ammonia-free dish soap with warm water, but do not soak them while you clean.
Afterward, dry them with a clean cloth and then use bleach to disinfect them. Check your laminate floorboards for damage such as warping, delamination, cupping, and bulging.
It indicates that your laminate floorboards are too damaged for reuse. Separate the damaged boards from the ones in good condition to determine the number of floorboards that need to be replaced.
Step 9: Reinstall Both the Flooring and Underlayment
Whether using the old underlayment or replacing it, you need to reposition it before reinstalling the flooring. Use adhesive tape to hold the underlayment in place.
If you are installing brand-new underlayment, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Check where the pads stick to the walls and attach the points.
Reinstalling laminate flooring is easy. If the damage is not extreme and each board is reusable, you can place each board in the same position. If you are installing brand-new laminate flooring, you might have to trim the boards to fit in place.
FAQs: How to Dry Water Under Laminate Flooring?
How long does it take laminate flooring to dry?
After intense cleaning, a laminate floor can dry for two to three days. Laminate being a dense fiberboard, will take quite some time to dry. If the damage on your floor is severe, It can take about a week to dry.
Unfortunately, your laminate flooring will never get back to its original form even after drying enough.
How long does it take for mold to grow under my wet laminate?
Within 48 hours, mold will grow under your wet laminate. Laminate flooring is better and more beautiful than a carpeted or hardwood floor, but it still needs maintenance. If it gets into contact with water, mold will automatically grow.
How much water can Laminate flooring take?
The edge of your laminate base can handle about two hours of submerged water exposure. However, after that, the laminate flooring starts to soak water, causing it to bubble up.
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