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Flooded Flooring: How Water Damage Affects Flooring

Posted by Luke Henning on Fri, Dec 15, 2017

When a flood occurs within a property one of the biggest factors in the long term damage is the type of flooring. Some types of flooring are significantly more resilient than others. A tiled floor in a home in El Cajon is going to react much differently to water than a carpeted floor in an apartment in Mission Valley. In this article, we here at Clean Earth Restorations want to talk about how each type of flooring may react to flooding.

Indoor Carpet

If there is water damage to indoor carpet you should probably have it removed as soon as possible. Carpeting is heavier than other types of flooring and takes longer to dry, and can be a breeding ground for mold, as well as potentially buckle or ruin subflooring.

Outdoor Carpet

If the carpet is on concrete subflooring, it may be salvageable if there is only minimal water damage. Homeowners with basements that may be vulnerable to light flooding (not especially common in San Diego) typically use a combination of outdoor carpeting/concrete subflooring to reduce carpet replacement costs.

Hardwood Flooring

A more patient approach often works best when it comes to hardwood flooring. If you find that any of the planks have begun to warp or buckle due to moisture exposure, don’t try to straighten them out until they’re dry. Once dry, it is a good idea to remove a few planks to see how the subfloor looks and feels. A moist subfloor that isn’t drying properly can be an unseen breeding ground for mold. Water can also form bubbles in hardwood flooring that will probably require stripping and re-waxing the finish on some hardwood floors.

Vinyl Flooring

The most tell-tale sign for water damage with vinyl flooring is moisture bubbles formed between the vinyl and the subfloor. If the floor pops up in any areas, there are probably air bubbles that may require a full removal of the vinyl until the subfloor is dry enough to replace.


Tile can be somewhat more resilient than other types of flooring when it comes to flooding but it still may present some problems. Usually it can be saved just by drying the surface quickly but in some cases water may get between the tile and the subfloor where mold may be able to form. This is rare but it is important to check below cracked or broken parts of the floor as soon as possible.


With any flooring situation, be sure you get a professional set of eyes on it as soon as possible after flooding occurs. If if everything seems to be fine once the floor has been dried mold may still be able to form under many types of flooring.

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Topics: Carpet Water Damage, Carpets, flooring

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