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While water is essential to the life and health of a tree, even the smallest amount of moisture can be extremely detrimental to wood products in a home.
Take hardwood floors for instance. Hardwood floors should have zero moisture content. When the floor's moisture content is increased due to water damage, homeowners may face a myriad of problems. These problems may range from minor to serious depending on the severity of the water damage. Thankfully, there are solutions to even the most deleterious water damage. Below are some of the consequences of and solutions to water damage wood.
When the moisture content of wood products in a home is increased, swelling will occur. Swelling will cause problems such as buckling, cupping, and crowning. Buckling typically occurs when a wood product, such as hardwood flooring, has been submerged in water. The flooring will separate from the subfloor to which it is attached. Cupping occurs when the boards of the hardwood floors are higher at that the edges than in the center. Cupping is indicative of imbalanced moisture content in the flooring. Crowning occurs when the center of the board is higher than the edges. Crowning may occur for at least two reasons: 1. excessive moisture on top of the floor; 2. premature sanding after a previous incident of water damage wood.
Regardless of the type or extent of water damage wood, the first step in the solution is the same for each: remove the moisture immediately. With water damaged wood, it is imperative to dry the wood as quickly as possible. There are several ways in which to do this. Drying may be accomplished by using fans, dehumidifiers, opening the doors and windows of the home, or with forced air heat. Once the wood is thoroughly dried, restorative processes and procedures may be initiated. Sanding, filling, recoating, and refinishing may begin when the wood and the underlying floor system is completely free of moisture.