Can I battle the parquet floor bulge?
July 31, 2015 10:37 AM   Subscribe

What can I do about parquet floor squares that are bulging away from the floor because of water?

Two evenings ago the coolant pipes of my air conditioning system clogged and began leaking water at a rather high rate. Quite a bit of water found its way under the parquet floor surrounding the area.

One service call and several hundred dollars later, the leak has been stopped. However, I now have an area of parquet squares which have lifted away from the foundation; in some places they’ve bulged as high as three inches.

What can I do about this? Should I just hope the water evaporates and the parquet squares lower themselves back down? Or will I have to replace the squares?
posted by the matching mole to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This definitely may resolve over time. Get a dehumidifier for the space as well as a fan blowing on the section of floor. Maybe also/or run a space heater nearby.

Even if the bulge resolves, unfortunately you will need to keep an eye out for rot.
posted by amaire at 10:43 AM on July 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is the bulge in the middle of the room, or at the edge? If at the edge, it might be easiest just to replace the squares after thoroughly drying and cleaning the area. Usually parquet is glued to the floor, and it's not likely it would properly re-attach well after the moisture leaves. If the bulge is in the middle of the room, replacing the parquet is complicated by the tongues-and-grooves of the individual tiles. New ones won't fit, so you would need to cut off the tongues and live with the knowing that not everything is completely locked together.

Also, the fact that it's buckling means that it's not able to expand sufficiently, which may be caused by tiles expanding to the walls, running out of space, and then pushing inward. You're supposed to leave 1/2" or so next to walls for expansion that can happen due to heat and humidity. So if you replace them be sure to leave some space.

I've seen a video of someone drilling small holes in wood flooring and injecting glue with a syringe. This technique may work for you, but as mentioned by amaire, you need to get the moisture out first and that can take a while. In my experience, space heaters do work well for expediting that, but that's hard to tolerate in summer. Dehumidifiers will work but take longer.

I live in a humid area with no A/C and my parquet has buckled in extreme humidity, but it has always resumed its shape eventually. Just don't step on the buckled area. No good can come of that.

Good luck!
posted by tempestuoso at 11:56 AM on July 31, 2015

I had the exact same problem happen to me...there's a crew downstairs as I type this removing my entire laminate flooring, they will then dry out the floor. They are also removing all the baseboards and cutting holes in the drywall to check for mold/water damage.
Why am I telling you this? Because you need to have the flooring removed (at least some of it) and dried out otherwise you're going to get mold, and the damage to your floor may be greater than what it looks like. So don't let it dry out...remove, dry, and replace.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 12:42 PM on July 31, 2015

At the least, your floor will probably need sanding and finishing. Call some floor companies and ask about your

At the least your I had a similar problem -- washing machine flooded the first floor of my house with 1/4" of water everywhere. We removed the water and rented blowers, turned the heat up and let it dry. I can't remember how long it took -- at least two weeks, but maybe a month. Gradually, the wood shrank and flattened and eventually looked pretty good. The floor guys used a moisture meter to decide when it was dry enough to refinish. We have had no hint of mold. I live in San Francisco so the weather couldn't have been dry or hot at the time.

Our floor is solid boards, not parquet. It now looks as if nothing had happened to it.
posted by wryly at 2:36 PM on July 31, 2015

Run a fan to dry the area. Put on some pledge or oil. Then sit something heavy on it. Put a dry towel under the heavy object.
posted by Oyéah at 7:34 PM on July 31, 2015

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