How to Dry Out Your Floor After a Water Leak
If you have a leak in your home, you may see water cascading down the wall or water in the ceiling. You may also, however, not see anything at all. Water goes along with gravity, following the path of least resistance which often means that it will slowly seep from its starting place and end up pooling on or under your floor. If you walk into your basement and feel your feet squish beneath the tiles, floor panels or carpet, you know for sure that you’ve got a problem. So how should you dry out your floor after a leak? Let’s take a look at a few ways that can help preserve your floor and keep your costs down.
Identify and stop the leak
This likely goes without saying, but make sure you’ve stopped the leak before you start the cleanup process. There’s no use spending time and energy drying something that will end up wet again. It could be, however, that you can’t find the leak, and a dry floor may be able to help you narrow it down. In this case, dry things thoroughly and remove any furniture or other valuables from the area. Then, check frequently and see what gets wet first.
Clean up the water and waterlogged material
Water leaks, in many ways, are far worse when on your floor. Ceilings and walls are often made of drywall which, though irritating, can be readily replaced. Floors, on the other hand, are difficult to work with; it’s also not always possible to simply replace a portion of the floor. If you’ve got continuous, wall-to-wall carpeting, you won’t be able to simply replace a small corner of a room that’s gotten wet.
No matter what material the floor is made of, be sure to clean up the water thoroughly and remove the waterlogged floor coverings. If it’s carpet, you may have to make several cuts and roll the carpet to remove it. Additionally, remove the padding under the carpet. If you have tile or wooden floors, carefully clean up any dampness.
AIr flow and chemicals.
Proper air flow is an absolute must when you’re drying out anything that was wet, particular things that can absorb water like wood or carpeting. Ensure that the flooring is completely exposed, open all of your windows, and get the air moving in your home. You may need to rent air movers from your local big box store. The goal here is to make everything bone dry.
If you have tile floors or exposed cracks where water may have seeped in, you might want to invest in a mildewcide. Available at any hardware store, these chemicals can help inhibit the growth of mold.
What problems should I expect?
The cost of reclamation and what you might expect will depend heavily on the area that was damaged. The larger the area, or the longer it was wet, the more you should be prepared to deal with structural damage. If you have a leaky toilet that you discovered early, you may just be looking at replacing the toilet itself.
- Structural damage: If something has been leaking for quite some time, causing your floor and the structure holding it, to become saturated, you could be looking at some serious structural damage. This is especially true if the floor in question is built on a wood joist system. Wood begins to rot when it gets wet, reducing its ability to hold weight. This is a safety issue that must be addressed.
- Mold and mildew: Aside and in addition to structural damage is mold and mildew. This is why it is critical to completely dry any area that gets wet. Mold loves damp, dark places. Be sure that you don’t give it a habitat in which to thrive.
- Stench: You may have cleaned up long ago, but a smell can linger in your home after significant flooding. If you do have an ongoing problem with the wet, earthy smell, consider looking around for mold as well.
In short, ensure that you remove anything that’s wet including carpeting and padding. Then, thoroughly dry the area using fans, open windows and professional air movers if needed. Be prepared for this to take a few days. Finally, ensure that you use a chemical of some kind to inhibit the growth of mold. Does all this sound too much? Consider contacting a professional who can quickly and easily develop a plan and help you begin the clean up process.