Water Damage Under the Floor

But do you know how to diagnose water damage? Of course not, which is why you’re here. Luckily, this article will outline all the signs of water damage under the floor.

Water disasters beneath the floor can make your home look unpleasant and unhygienic.

The wreckage often spreads toxic mold spores and ruins your gadgets or furnishings. In severe cases, it can result in collapse and structural hazards.

Water Damaged Floorboards

A water-defaced floorboard is a horrible event that can happen to anyone.

Your durable hardwood floor can give way due to seeping groundwater, added humidity, and invisible leaks. To tackle such a situation, you’ll need to assess the root cause, which can be daunting.

As you read this page, we’ll highlight some common causes of hardwood water destruction.

Additionally, we’ll outline some tips on recovering from water-damaged floors, preventive measures, signs of damage, and more. Let’s cut to the chase and begin right away.

Signs Of Water Damage Under the Floor

It would be best to take swift action when your home or business encounters a critical water emergency. Spotting the warnings of water wreckage under the floor is a vital step.

It’ll help you stop the destruction before it gets excessive.

An unknown leak or sneaky spill may happen while you’re away.

Such spills will gradually and secretly cause damage without leaving apparent evidence. We’ve listed several indicators to help you understand the early signals for such impediments.

They include:

  • Discolored Floorboard

The discolored floorboard for homeowners with wooden floors is an obvious sign of a water hazard.

Whenever the floorboard absorbs water and dries out, it leaves washed-out minerals and salts. Such particles create stains and dark patches on the floor.

Furthermore, specific wood finishes react to water, leaving white steaks and rings behind. If left unattended, they can result in discoloration over time.

  • Warped or Expanded Floorboards

Floorboards are highly sensitive to high temperatures, humidity, and excess moisture under the floor. So when there’s a dramatic change in moisture level, your floorboard is more likely to warp.

The same happens if it absorbs enough water. Both the wood and laminate floorboards will start to swell or curl in shape.

Sometimes, the soaked wood expands and softens, causing the floor to become malleable. They can shift and push into other planks, morphing into humped shapes when the water dries.

  • Pool of Water

Percolating water anywhere shouldn’t be an obvious sign of disaster under the floor. But check for possible soaking if stagnant water is close to devices, fixtures, or pipes.

These items are creating leaks through the roof down to the underfloor. Therefore, you’re to conduct a thorough inspection on your rooftop.

  • Rapid Mold Growth

Mold and mildew are fungi that do well in moist environments. Anytime you find them growing around your home, it means there’s surplus water entering from somewhere.

Mold on water-damaged wooden floors varies in appearance. It can be flat blotches of black, gray, orange, brown, or green.

Mold Hardwood Floor Water Damage

Other obvious signs of mold are a foul, musty odor, humid indoor air, and newly spongy flooring. Furthermore, this fungus is known to release harmful toxins into the air.

Research indicates that prolonged mold exposure can cause health issues. These include skin rashes, dry skin, eye irritation, persistent coughs, allergy or asthma flare-ups, etc.

  • Peeling of Paint

Moisture buildup beneath the floor or inside the wall can make paint puff up or peel off. Such wetness is formed due to water pipes leaking or sweating under the ground.

The humidity, staining, and decay under the floor can surface due to poor subfloor ventilation. Bad basement plumbing is another resulting factor.

  • Loose Tiles

Broken tiles are further obvious evidence of a water disaster.

If you realize your tiles are no longer attaching to the ground, it implies water is present underground. Such damages often cause tiles to get shaky or loose.

  • Funky Odor

Remember, damp areas are perfect spots for microorganisms. When there’s a water disaster under the floor, fungi multiply until they become a big concern.

The harm is usually undetectable under the ground or in the walls. However, you’ll sense a musty and woody smell akin to wet foliage.

Wiping the floors or scrubbing the windows won’t eliminate such a funky odor. That’s because the primary source of the problem still needs to be taken care of.

Causes of Water Damage

Several factors can lead to a water disaster under the floor.

While some of them are common, others might look strange. If you notice such an emergency in your home, these are some common causes.

  • Broken Appliances

Certain home appliances, when broken, can cause severe water damage under the floor.

Such gadgets comprise cleaning machines, dishwashers, and bathtub heaters. When these units of devices burst, they overflow the area if they are not handled on time.

In other cases, they’ll generate excess humidity where they’re mounted. So mold and other contaminants will surface once the environment becomes wet and warm.

  • Ice Damming

Icy damming is another factor that can cause such damage. When a ridge of ice forms on the edge of your roof, it will prevent water from draining efficiently.

Therefore, the melting snow on your roof will likely cause water damage. If the puddle is large enough, it can result in leaks and floor damage.

  • Leaky Pipes

Your underground pipes can leak due to water pressure or degrading seals. Climate-induced conditions like freezing can also cause water pipes to leak.

At the initial stage, the leakage may be minimal. If not noticed on time, it can gradually turn into massive water damage down the road.

  • Broken Drainages

This is another common source of such disaster, but most people overlook it. Ideally, gutters redirect water far from your house’s footing and walls.

That way, your underfloor, siding, foundation, lawn, and walls will be free from water damage.

When your gutter gets blocked, it won’t be able to redirect water where it should. Instead, it will channel it to your walls and underfloor, triggering damage.

  • Toilet Overflow

Another common source of water disaster under the floor is overflow in the toilet.

If you have a backup, it’s more likely to overflow.

When such events happen on multiple occasions, it will result in residual moisture collecting on the subflooring of your hardwood floors.

Other reasons for such destruction on the floor besides those listed above exist. They include rain, water table height, leaky roofs, floods, damaged sprinklers, and severe weather conditions.

You’re to take note of these elements to help you prevent or deal with current water damage in your home.

Floorboard Water Damage Repair

You’ll need to take immediate action after noticing your flooring is damaged.

If not, the wood cellulose soaking up water will become a breeding ground for molds and other organisms. The following steps will guide you in eliminating water from such a flooring system.

  • Fix All Leakages

Before heading up for any repairs, you’ll need to eliminate all sources of water leakage.

That way, you’ll keep the new floor from getting waterlogged next time. Now, clean water is safe to stop. If you have some plumbing skills, you can manage the leaks yourself.

However, water leakage, such as black and gray water, must be handled carefully. You can hire professionals to do the job to avoid putting yourself at risk.

  • Clean Surface Water

Water damage often leaves some remains, which you must be cleaned up. You can use a shop vacuum for such an operation.

If your vacuum is attached to the horse, you can cover large areas quickly. You can also use a squeegee to gather the water and soak it with a vacuum.

  • Scrub the Floorboard

The next thing to do is clean your floorboard and all related woodwork using a stiff brush. You’re to mix mild detergent and friendly disinfectant for the cleaning.

Scrub the floor thoroughly to ensure all dirt, mud, silt, and organic matter are correctly removed. While scrubbing, rinse your scrubbing brush frequently.

However, avoid pouring water on the floor to prevent further damage.

  • Clean Areas That Show Signs of Mold

When you’re done scrubbing the surface, the next step is to treat the moldy areas. You can use TSP or its substitute mixed with water for such treatment.

It would be best to scrub the affected areas with the solution until all mold and discoloration were gone. Next, rinse the surface with clean water and dry it with an absorbent cloth immediately.

  • Dry the Floorboard Naturally

Once you’re done with the cleaning and treatment, allow it to dry naturally. In this case, you must open your windows and doors and turn on the fans.

By doing so, enough air will circulate through the space. The moisture content in the wood will be removed in no time.

  • Address Mold on Wood Under Paint

Usually, water damage can result in mold growth under the paint on a painted floorboard.

Dealing with such events is trickier than you think. Yet you can begin by scratching off the stain and brushing the wood with an aggressive cleaner.

After that, follow the drying tips above to remove the moisture. Replace your hardwood or laminate floor when you’re done.

Floor Water Damage Prevention Measures

Anyone who has experienced water damage might want something other than repetition. In this case, you’ll need to take specific preventive measures.

A few include installing water-resistant flooring. For those who live in areas prone to flooding, you may consider installing waterproof floors such as tile, vinyl, or concrete.

Secondly, you’ll need to measure the moisture around your home’s floor and walls. You can use a moisture meter for such an examination.

Furthermore, you should find the source of leakages in your space. If you notice water under your floorboards, immediately locate the source to prevent further damage.

Finally, keep the flooring and water separate. How do you achieve that? You must avoid placing wet items on the floor and immediately wipe up any spills or leaks.

By following these simple preventive measures, you’ll protect your floorboards from water damage.


Several factors can cause such an emergency in your home. They include leaking pipes, plumbing issues, flooding, roof leaks, condensation, poor insulation, and groundwater.

Water pipes underneath your floorboard can leak due to corrosion, damage, or wear and tear. When such leakage occurs, your floorboard will begin to seep the water.

Next, defective pipes and fixtures, such as lavatories, sinks, and showers, can trigger liquid to seep through the floorboard. In wet areas, ice buildup can also develop on water lines.

This will, in turn, lead to humidity retention and water mischief beneath the floorboards.

You can also suffer the same issue if you stay in hurricane- or flood-prone zones. Then, if your rooftop is leaking, fluid can flow into the walls and ceilings.

Eventually, the liquid will procure its way beneath the floorboard.

  • Signs of Water Damage

Several signs of water damage on the floorboards exist. While some can be seen on the surface, others must be examined.

Some common symptoms of water damage to hardwood floorboards include cupping, discoloration, dark spots, buckling, and crowning.

The board edges will curl upward, leaving the midsection with a slight dip.

Call Water Damage Experts

If you cannot deal with water damage, it’s best to seek professional help. They specialize in water damage restoration services, including repairs to hardwood floors.

Some companies have teams of experts trained to assess the extent of the damage quickly. Plus, to develop an action plan to remove standing water.

They can also thoroughly dry affected areas and repair or replace damaged flooring. You don’t have to worry about the neatness and efficiency of the job.

They will use state-of-the-art equipment to ensure complete drying and prevent mold growth.

Experts such as Superior Restoration offer emergency services 24/7. They also focus on quality artistry and customer satisfaction. This makes them the top choice for water damage restoration.


Hardwood water damage isn’t a situation you’ll want to find yourself in. Your beautiful floors will be severely destroyed and pose various risks.

You must care for and maintain your floorboard correctly to avoid such occurrences. Meanwhile, if your hardwood floor is under attack by water, you can see the procedure to remove such moisture.

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