Dealing with a water damaged floor is a terrible task for any homeowner; however, with the proper knowledge and procedure, you can effectively repair your floor after water damage. Follow these steps to repair a water damaged floor.
Step 1 - Remove the Water
Start out by removing any excess water on the floor. Until you thoroughly dry the area, you will not be able to properly make any repairs. Use the wet vacuum to remove the water. You should also place fans in the water damaged area. Doing so will help dry the water much more quickly. Another good idea is to leave dehumidifiers in the room for a few days. Laminate and hardwood floors will sometimes go back to normal once they are dry. However, many times more work will be required.
Step 2 - Remove the Floor
If the floor is still damaged after it has dried, you will need to remove the affected area. Use a saw to cut into the flooring. If you are dealing with hardwood, the hole you saw will give you a good place to insert a pry bar. You will then be able to use the pry bar to remove the damaged boards. For laminate floors, you should start removing the flooring along the nearest wall. You may have to remove boards which are not damaged in order to reach the ones that are.
Step 3 - Check the Subfloor
Once the old flooring is out of the way, you will need to check the condition of the subfloor. If you are dealing with a plywood subfloor, you will most likely need to replace it. Use your saw to cut out the damaged areas and fill the holes with new plywood. If you are dealing with a concrete subfloor, you need to make sure that it is completely dry. If it is not, keep using the fans and dehumidifiers.
Step 4 - Replace the Floor
If you are dealing with laminate flooring, you should be able to snap-in some replacement boards and re-install the rest of the floor. You will most likely need to install a new pad under the damaged areas as well. Find the exact same flooring that you originally had in order to make a perfect match. For solid wood flooring, you may be able to install raw wood before refinishing the floor to match. Put the new boards in place and nail them into the floor.
Step 5 - Sand the Floor
Use a sander to smooth the new and old flooring. Then vacuum away all of the dust from the room.
Step 6 - Stain and Coat
Stain all of the wood flooring to match. Allow the stain to dry and then apply a second coat. After that coat dries, you should apply a few more coats of polyurethane finish. Let the finish dry. Your floor should then be ready to use.