Floor boards bowing after refrigerator leak

Q: Our refrigerator leaked water onto our 2 year old hardwood floor, in the kitchen, and pooled in an area all day until we came home from work. Now about a week later, in that area, the boards are bowing.

Is there any way to fix this without ripping up that part of the floor and replacing it?

A: It may be worthwhile to wait and let it dry out. It wouldn’t be the first time a hardwood floor has been through this and after it dried, flattened almost totally to the way it was. A dehumidifier place near the spot would help. I would give it at least a month. You will be in a better position to assess the damage then and decide if you can just sand the area, replace it or do nothing at all.

Related Q: My fridge leaked and now I have cupping on four or five boards. I am currently waiting for the oak to settle, but assuming it approaches normal again can I use a hand held orbital sander to smooth out the area? Obviously won’t match exactly, but looking to avoid redoing the whole floor for a couple years.

A: That would likely work if it isn’t cupped too badly.