Hardwood is often described as being one of the most desirable flooring materials because of its natural beauty, enticing warmth and impressive durability. However, like the tree that it came from, wood responds to water and moisture. What does this mean for your floor?
In the presence of water or moisture, wood will expand and contract. This often results in a condition called ‘cupping’, where the unfinished underside of the floorboards expands more than the top. It makes the wood appear raised at the seams and gives your floor a permanently warped, wavy appearance. The wood can also crack, peel, rot and fall apart. If water seeps into your floorboards, it will cause irreparable damage. Even if you get your floor restored, it will not be the same as it was before.
It is not just spillages and leaks that can damage your floor but humidity as well. The moisture in the air can still seep into your floorboards and cause the same type of damage that a burst radiator pipe might cause. Water damage can be the result of a faulty plumbing system, high humidity, insulations issues, spillages and a range of problems that may not always be visible. If you notice any signs of water damage to your wood floor, you should notify a professional restoration technician as soon as possible. If you allow water damage to last and spread, it can encourage the growth of black mould in your home. Black mould can cause health issues such as coughing, red and itchy eyes, a sore throat, and a skin rash. It is also particularly dangerous to people who already have an existing respiratory issue, such as asthma.
While there are many risks when it comes to water and wood flooring, that should dissuade you from having your dream, natural floor! There are ways to protect your floor from water damage. You can use mats at the house entrances to prevent water from being brought in from the outside. It is not advisable to use plastic, paper, carpet or other non-breathable coverings as they will trap the moisture that is usually released by the boards. As well as this, when you are cleaning your floor, you should sweep, dry mop and vacuum. Our microfibre mops (which can be viewed here) are excellent for removing dust from your floors. Microfibre mops can be used both wet and dry. Dry particles like hair and dust are much easier to clean when dry. When the mops are wet, they are more suited to cleaning stains and marks on the floor. It is not recommended to use a broom as the bristles can damage the surface of your wood floor.
What about laminate flooring? Like all wood floors, laminate floors are susceptible to water damage. The surface of the floor can get wet but if the sides or bottom get wet, the image layer and surface may begin to de-laminate from the top of the board. That being said, our laminate flooring with Aqua+ technology also provides a water-resistant flooring solution that is up to five times more resistant to water swelling than a standard laminate and offers a lifetime guarantee in residential applications. This type of wood flooring would give your home the extra protection it may need from spills, stains and water damage. Check our Aqua+ floors here.