Water standing on floors

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Q: We live in Portland and we’re having some heavy rain. Unfortunately, when we came home yesterday we found water standing on our laminate floors in the finished basement area.

We’re not sure how long the water was there. It rained heavily all day and wasn’t noticed until we got home. We cleaned up all the water, and couldn’t find the source. Everything stayed dry over night and through the morning.

We had more heavy rain this afternoon and evening, so we now know our water source because we have more standing water. We’re having a new sump pump put in tonight which should resolve the problem.

I’m wondering what to do now? There are dark lines along the end-to-end seams of the floor. We obviously live in a wet and damp place, so I’m worried about mold. We’re not sure what’s under the floor. Do we need to find someone to come pull everything up? Run fans and let things dry out and wait for a certain amount of time? I’m more concerned about mold than the cost of replacing the floors because it’s a pretty small area (one bedroom and a hallway) that’s impacted.

A: Well sadly it’s probably best to remove at least some of it. It is likely a click together floor so this shouldn’t be difficult to do. Of course if you can’t match what you remove, then the entire floor would need to be removed. The odds are pretty high that it is wet under the floor and unless you expose the water or wet concrete it could take weeks to dry, and that sort of environment does feed mold growth.

Related Q: We had our sump pump fail in the basement where we have engineered hardwood floors that are glued together, floating over the underlayment. I have three dehumidifiers running, three fans, and the furnace on at 72* with all vents open in the basement. The floors aren’t buckling, but I’m wondering if the underlayment will dry out? Or start to mold under the wood?

A: I’m surprised you haven’t seen any negative reaction with the floor. It will dry out eventually and it’s normal for some air borne moisture to migrate through wood products. The idea is to have this happen slowly. So, yes it will eventually dry out. Will there be mold under the floor? There might be some. But mold requires a warm and moist environment to grow so unless you expect to make this a habit, at this point I wouldn’t worry to much about it. I’m more interested to see if you lose the floor or not.

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