Toilet overflowed onto hardwood floor

Q: We had a 2nd floor toilet overflow est. 5-8 gallons of clean water covering approx. 50 sq. feet of engineered wood floor. (It seeped through to first story.) We immediately soaked up all standing water with towels and dry-mopped the floor. Now, 36 hours later, there are no visible signs of deformity to the wood.

This bathroom has no exhaust fan and we are in humid southeast USA (Georgia). We take at least two hot showers per day.

We bought the home with this flooring already installed, so we don’t know the extent it can resist such an event, or what preparations were made. Have we dodged a bullet, or is the damage yet to show? Not sure how long it would take. Should we fire up a dehumidifier in this bathroom, or will this risk bringing the humidity level too far below the “typical” level this room has on a daily basis?

A: Are you saying this engineered floor is in the washroom? There are numerous variables which are not known to give any definite answers. You likely don’t have a moisture meter to actually check the engineered floor to see how much water is in the wood. Also, you may not have a hygrometer to keep check on the humidity levels in the room. On a positive note, given that the water went straight down to the first floor, you can hope that most of it is not still trapped under the engineered floor. If you have been having these showers in humid Georgia with no effect on this floor, I wouldn’t worry, at this point, about now using a humidifier. The only reason I might use one for maybe a week, is to help remove any excess moisture that may be working it’s way through the flooring. This is going to be one of those wait and see deals. If you could get hold of a moisture meter that would give you a better idea of how wet the floor is.

Follow-up: Thanks, Craig. On day 5 now and floor looks same as before. Looks like we got lucky. Thanks for your quick reply and for providing so much helpful information on your blog!

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