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Drying hardwood floors
May 22, 2006 8:30 PM   Subscribe

How do I dry hardwood flooring?

My cousin has a couple of potted plants over hardwood flooring onin her house. She overzelously watered them this week and water has seeped into the flooring darking the areas where the planks meet. Is there a way to dry them and avoid warping?
posted by phyrewerx to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
 
Please excuse the grammar. My fingers were frozen and there is a correlation between my inability to type and my inability to proofread.
posted by phyrewerx at 9:22 PM on May 22, 2006


I had a huge flood that soaked the oak flooring in two rooms. The boards cupped terribly, but three weeks later they were almost back to being completely flat. We used fans to speed it up; if the weather had been humid, we'd have used an air conditioner. Just let the floor dry, and don't worry that the wood will become, or stay, misshapen.

There is a chance of some darkening, and I don't know how much water and how much time is needed in order for it to appear.

One way I've heard of to coax water out of wood: douse it with alcohol, which combines with the water, and then the mixture of the two evaporates faster than water alone. The floor installation guys suggested this when we had a leak in a bathroom. (They were talking about denatured alcohol, which you can buy in gallons.)
posted by wryly at 10:26 PM on May 22, 2006


My mom had a flooded area that warped the wood floor. The super put something very heavy over the warping area as it dried and the floor returned to flatness. I dunno how the area dried while weighted, or if it was weighted after it had dried though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:41 AM on May 23, 2006


I'm a carpenter, but not a flooring guy, so please take my comments with the appropriate amount of salt...

Despite what wood might think, water is not it's friend. bascially, you need to get the moisture out, but at the right rate. Too fast, and you run the risk of splitting the wood. Too slow, and you run the risk of warping/cupping/etc. For this kind of problem, I would suggest putting a fan right above the affected area, and let it run air over the spot for a day or two. You could try adding some heat to the mix (with a space heater or some such thing), but this could be tricky. If the house is climate controlled well (tight windows, central heat/AC) then you could try tinkering with your thermostat settings. Add more heat or run the AC harder. If you have an older place, then it isn't going to be so air-tight and these options might not work so well. A portable heater or de-humidifier would help, particularly if you can isolate the room by closing doors. I wouldn't bother putting weight on the spot unless the wood was already visibly moving, since anything heavy is going to slow down the transfer of moisture that needs to happen.

Havign said all fo this, I should add that I have much the same thing (over watered a large pot, causing water to seep through and leave dark circles on the old wood floors) and all I did was move the pot. The first time it happened (oh yes, it happened several times!), I even had mildew growing in the wet spot! I wiped of the mildew with some spray on cleaner and just left it. You can't see any evidence that this happened, which is a good thing for my security deposit! (In this case, the wet spot was in a place where the sun swept across it everyday for several hours. This helped a lot, I'm sure.)
posted by schwap23 at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2006


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