Help me forgive my mother. (Water damage to parquet)

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Old 01-09-08, 12:27 PM
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Help me forgive my mother. (Water damage to parquet)



This is part therapy, part plea for help. Sorry for the rambling, if it offends anyone.

My house, which I just moved into a couple of weeks ago, has a parquet-type manufactured floor that covers much of the house including the kitchen, dining room, entry foyer and hallway. The floor isn't in horrible shape but it's got problems, the most apparent being visible wear in the high-traffic areas such as the hallway and kitchen. The wood isn't worn, but it appears that the finish on the floor has been worn down. This is especially noticeable when you compare the floor with the edges under the kitchen cabinets, or with the area that was previously covered by a throw rug.

Several times over the past few weeks my mother has offered me a floor scrubber to clean the floors. The scrubber is basically two very stiff circular nylon brushes (each about 6" in diameter) attached to the bottom of a stainless steel-enclosed motor assembly, with a broom-like rod on a hinge sticking up out of the top so you can push it around. I have repeatedly declined her offer telling her that there's no need to clean the floors until we've finished moving in (painting, etc) and that when I do get around to it I'll hire a professional to come in and do the whole house.

Last Friday while my wife and I were at work, my mother (who was babysitting our daughter that day) brought the scrubber with her and proceeded to "clean" the kitchen floor while we were at work. She didn't tell us about it; she just showed up and did it while we were out. I didn't find out about this until I got home from work.

She couldn't have done more damage to the floor if she had a belt sander. The floor is now completely unprotected; whatever finish that was on the floor is utterly gone. You can shine a light on the floor and get exactly zero reflection. Worse, several of the boards (i'd say about 5% of the floor) are now cupped and warped, having very sharp exposed corners and edges sticking up where before there was none.

My mother refuses to admit to the problem or even acknowledge that a problem exists, insisting that the floor is a lot cleaner now (which, to be fair, it is) and that the shine on the floor was caused by the 'natural wear' of the wood (it wasn't) and the warped boards were there before (they weren't). When I confronted her with this over the phone she was ready with immediate answers. That, in conjunction with the fact that she stopped scrubbing once she hit the dining room floor (which was FAR dirtier), told me that she saw the damage and knew she erred and needed to have a ready excuse.

After I hung up on her (yes, literally; that's how upset I was/am) I grabbed the scrubber (which she left behind), got into my car, drove to her house, dropped the scrubber on her front door, rang the doorbell and left. As I pulled away I saw her retrieve the scrubber from the door step. We haven't exchanged so much as a "hello" since then. I've heard "through the grapevine" as it were that she thinks I'm overreacting, that the warped boards were always there, and that I'm only upset because now the warped boards are more visible. In the meantime, I've got a bandage on my foot from where I stepped barefoot on one of the warped corners and got a nice inch-long gash. I guess I imagined that too.

SO.

That being mostly out of my system, my first question is: How, if at all, can the floor be fixed? Replacing the floor, in whole or in part, is not an option. We simply don't have the money for it and likely won't for at least a couple of years. Is there a way to "unwarp" the boards? One non-experienced idea I had was to spray the boards with water, shoot a little "Gorilla Glue" under the warped area, rest a plank on top of it and then a couple of cinder blocks on top of that until the water dried and, theoretically, flattened the board and reglued it to the spot.

My second question is: How, if at all, can the floor be protected? Right now there's literally no protection. You drip a little water and the wood soaks it right up. I live in terror for the first time my wife spills pasta sauce or my little girl spills milk or grape juice. (Actually, as it is right now my little girl isn't going to be allowed in the kitchen at all due to the sharp corners of the warped floor boards.)

My third question is: How, if at all, can this be done (fixing and protecting) without making it look too horrible next to the other flooring that hasn't been destroyed by my mother? I'm concerned that if I were to, say, put polyurethane on the manufactured floor (can I even do that?) it'll look really bad when you step off the kitchen floor and onto the dining room floor.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 01-11-08 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Nonprogressive language edited
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Old 01-09-08, 12:41 PM
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I'm not sure I know what manufactured parquet is I have the parquet wood 1'x1' "tiles" in several room in my house. Is that what you have?

Once you have fixed the cupping and any other problems you can apply a coat or two of poly. Oil base poly will darken the wood - similiar to what it looks like wet with thinner - maybe with water. latex poly does very little to change the look of the wood except for providing a shine.
 
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Old 01-09-08, 12:49 PM
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floors

Floors can always be fixed/replaced. You only have one Mother. Work on the important problems first.
 
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Old 01-09-08, 12:52 PM
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Here's a picture of the kitchen (prior to my mother's attack) which shows the floor.

<img src="http://www.happymac.us/diy/parquet.jpg">
 
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Old 01-09-08, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
Floors can always be fixed/replaced. You only have one Mother. Work on the important problems first.
The wisdom is understood. I'm not at a point where I'm never speaking to my mother again. I'm PO'd at her, yeah, but I'll get over it. I know that I need to fix the problem before I talk to her again or it'll hang over us like a rotten apple. Once the floor is fixed then it'll be a lot easier to talk to her again.
 
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Old 01-10-08, 10:12 AM
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That would really irritate me if she won't admit she made a mistake. I'd get over the floor damage but it would take me a long time to get over the denials of my mother.
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 01-11-08 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Nonprogressive language edited
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Old 01-11-08, 10:17 AM
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She flooded the floor!!!! Then I bet she used floor stripper, to boot.


Well you can get dehumidifiers and fans running, to lower the moisture levels in the wood. It may go back down, but it tells me, there is water sitting under the floor. Like she poured a bucket out submerging the floor, and got after it!!!
 
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Old 01-11-08, 10:26 AM
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Wood and water do not mix. Wood floors should be damp mopped with a mop squeezed nearly dry. As suggested, run dehumidifiers to expedite the drying out of the floors.

Wood without protective finish will absorb soils and liquids and acquire stains. Parquet has a very thin veneer of real wood. The veneer can not withstand much sanding.

The floors, after drying out is complete and repairs made, can be sanded, stained, and new polyurethane finish applied.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 07:41 AM
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Thanks all for the replies.

The wood is, as best as I can tell, as dry as it can be. I had fans running across the floor for a few days, then I put down some blotter paper with some bags of sand on top of them and found no discoloration on the paper that would indicate moisture. So, the floors are dry.

As for the long-term damage, many corners and edges have curled up. I do not know how to fix this or even if a fix is possible. My only thought here is to squirt a little construction adhesive under the curled part, put a board on top of it to give it a flat/level surface, then rest some sand bags or cinder blocks on top of that to push down and theoretically flatten it out. Prayer will likely be involved too. Thoughts?

There is a very clear line between where my mother scrubbed and where she didn't scrub (under the cabinet overhang, for example, and the line between the kitchen and dining room). I want to re-seal the floor but how can I do that without sealing in that line? Will I have to effectively destroy the wood that she missed so that it's all "equally destroyed" before I reseal it? At this point I'm just about ready to say to Hell with making it look good; I think it's beyond that point already, and I should just seal it and acknowledge that it looks like $h|. Is there a special kind of sealant that I should use or will standard polyurethane work? Apply with a roller or brush?
 
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Old 01-15-08, 08:40 AM
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That was a pretty nice looking floor. I have to ask, ripping it out and replacing it is not an option?
 
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Old 01-15-08, 09:25 AM
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All areas would have to be lightly sanded before sealing in order to achieve consistent color, including the area beneath cabinet toe kick. Remember, depending on thickness of veneer layer, parquet can't take much sanding.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 09:34 AM
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Ouch

The scary thing is that I own one of those very same scrubbers (from the 1960's). I ingereted it from my mother when she passed away.

Anyway, the one thing I do not know about your flooring is- how "thick" is the wooden surface on top?

Once you have water damage like you described, there is NO WAY that I know of that will "push down" the curled parts back down and level.

The only thing I can think of is to hire someone to come in and "refinish" (sand flat, then poly coat) your flooring. But-- that only applies to the "real wood" flooring(s) that are thicker on top. If yours is a real-wood "laminate" of sorts, and just the top layer (wood laminate part) is peeling up die to the water- then I think the floor is toast...
 
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Old 01-15-08, 04:08 PM
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The floor is still wet if the boards are still cupped!!!!


The bottom of the boards are "wetter" then the top, thus the cupping. If you sand it now, your going to have the reverse condition, once the flooring does regain moisture content equilibrium. Called crowning, where the middle of each board is higher.
 
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Old 01-15-08, 04:43 PM
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There is no guarantee that tiles will return to original flatness. Continue to run fans and dehumidifiers. The edges may be remaining cupped, as indicated, because the moisture trapped beneath is escaping along the edges. Hopefully, these will settle down and you will not experience loose tiles. And, as indicated, do not proceed with refinishing until all is thoroughly dried out. This could take several weeks.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 08:21 AM
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Thanks again, all.

I've set up the fans again and will continue to have them running. I've also got a small electric space heater (the kind that blows hot air); would I be causing more damage if I were to set up the heater as well? Should I just let 'natural' air flow do the job or can I use the heater without causing more harm?

I don't know how thick the floor is overall (base+laminate), but the part that's curled up is maybe 1/8" thick. I'll try to take a close-up picture tonight.

Replacing the floor is not an option at this point. My wife and I just moved into the house less than a month ago; we almost drained our savings account and we have virtually no money available for such a project. (I'm even recycling old materials to save money. The dining room was covered in ugly wood paneling which I removed. After I repaired the walls behind it I cut down the wood paneling, stained the back side, and used it to trim the doorways.) It doesn't look as nice as "real" wood trim but it's good enough and only cost me about $75 in edging and a can of Minwax.) Plus, the floor covers not only the kitchen but also the dining room, entry foyer and hallway. As all of the floor has various stages of wear, we are planning (hoping, etc) to replace the entire floor at once when we can afford it since replacing it piecemeal would wind up looking very odd and probably cost more in the long run.

Given what I've learned here, I'm wondering what my next step should be. I'll continue using the fans until the wood flattens out (hopefully), but then I have to do something about sealing it. I realize my belt sander would destroy the floor in a heartbeat (plus I still couldn't get under the cabinets with it) so I guess I do some block sanding by hand to get under there? And then what about the rest of the floor? There's no way I can sand the whole floor by hand at once, at least not without killing myself. Since I apparently can't seal it without sanding it, what are my sanding options?
 
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Old 01-16-08, 10:42 AM
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All the parquet I've been around was made up of little solid 1/4" [?] thick pieces of oak. They say they can be sanded once down to raw wood and then be refinished.

I'd be leary of using a belt sander - too easy to mess up I'd use a palm sander or maybe a 1/2 sheet sander and lightly sand the finish. You probably won't get it looking great but you should be able to get the floor where it will accept a new coat of poly.

Once you are sure the wood is good and dry, 2 coats of poly should help the looks some and will help it to survive until you are ready to install new floors.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
All the parquet I've been around was made up of little solid 1/4" [?] thick pieces of oak. They say they can be sanded once down to raw wood and then be refinished.
Like I said, it's not a "real" wood floor. It's a manufactured (laminate) floor that looks like the real thing. The wood is only about 1/8" thick.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 12:55 PM
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Sorry...butting in here. Laminate Parquet? If it's laminate (photo of wood so it looks like wood) as far as I know...you can't fix that. Laminate wood can't be sanded
 
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Old 01-16-08, 01:29 PM
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Parquet flooring consists of wood tiles constructed of a veneer layer of real wood installed in strips over layers of substrate lesser quality material like our 'engineered' wood flooring. The strips of veneer can be found in straight strips in a variety of patterns like herringbone, basketweave, or other. Sometimes a variety of wood species are used. The layers are glued together. Often times there are a couple small metal bands that hold the tiles together.



Photo Credit: iFloor

Ornamental wood flooring known as parquetry has been around since the late 1600s in France in the homes of royalty and the more affluent. Parquet floors were the first introduction to interior wood floors.
 
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Old 01-16-08, 08:14 PM
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The plies are delaminating??

"I don't know how thick the floor is overall (base+laminate), but the part that's curled up is maybe 1/8" thick."


If so, you have defective flooring. That is a manufacturing related defect, if it is engineered ply.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 09:03 AM
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Apologies if I'm using the wrong terminology. I'm more at home in front of a keyboard or under the hood of a car than with home ownership, and I don't always know the lingo.

I am calling my floor a "laminate" floor because it appears to consist of thin strips of wood that have been adhered to a base/foundation piece. IOW, a cross-section of the floor would reveal the topmost wood on top of a base/foundation piece on top of the plywood floor. Is this the correct terminology?

I couldn't get a good picture of the floor but I can Photoshop well enough to give you an idea. I don't know if the floor qualifies as a true "parquet" floor; that's the pattern that it reminds me of. Again, apologies if it's the wrong term. I am assuming that my floor is composed of tiles consisting of a wood base/foundation with strips of wood adhered to the top. If that's correct, then one "tile" of my floor is thus:

<img src="http://www.happymac.us/diy/woodtile.jpg">

There are nine separate pieces of wood per tile (ten, if you include the base/foundation for each tile) and the wood pieces are about 1/8" thick. The thickness of the entire tile is probably around 3/8" to 1/2" thick; I base this on the fact that the wood floor does not extend below the baseboard trim and there's about a 3/8" to 1/2" gap below the bottom of the baseboard.

I don't think this is a manufacturing defect. The floor was quite flat and only started cupping after my mother took the scrubbing machine to it. I am also estimating that the floor is about 18 years old, and I doubt that a manufacturing defect would wait so long to become apparent. (I base the age of the floor on the assumption that the floor was laid down at the same time the kitchen was remodeled, and the refrigerator in the kitchen was manufactured in 1990.)
 
  #22  
Old 01-17-08, 11:15 AM
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It looks like parquet tiles. Curling secondary to moisture may settle down as you continue to run fans and dehumidifier. As it is taking place along the edges of the tiles, perhaps installation of shoe molding or quarter round can improve or disguise the curling. The molding would also hide the gap beneath the baseboard.
 
  #23  
Old 01-17-08, 11:43 AM
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The curling isn't at the edge of the tiles (i.e., not where the tile meets the wall), it's on each individual piece of wood. On pretty much every tile on the floor, at least one of those nine pieces of laminate wood has curled/cupped since the attack. Molding isn't going to help with that.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 12:39 PM
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Sorry re: misunderstanding. If curling is on the edge of tiles, only time will tell if they will lie back down with continued running of fans and dehumidifier. If curling is not too extreme, perhaps when sanded for refinishing that the sanding can minimize or remove the curl.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 03:05 PM
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Be sure to allow plenty of time for drying! even though one would think it has already had enough time

While parquet tiles can be sanded, it's a lot like russian roulette, if you sand too deep - there is no choice but to replace. A fresh coat or 2 of poly will seal the wood and help to prevent any further damage. If the cupping isn't real bad I'd be tempted to leave most of it like it is. IMO it would be better to have a less than perfect floor than take a chance of ruining it with no funds to replace it
 
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