Water damage to my solid hardwood floors when a pipe broke

Q: I had water damage to my solid hardwood floors when a pipe broke. My floors are parquet and probably 50 years old. They buckled. I brought in a dehumidifier and the floor actually dried out and is now flat down. Now, they are still cupped and there are some gaps in the floor.

I can’t decide if I need to replace the floor or if the damage could be fixed by refinishing. I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

A: The structural stability of the floor has likely been compromised. A water-soluble adhesive was likely used when installed. When the flood occurred the adhesive softened and the floor buckled. It has gone flat since, but how well has it bonded to the adhesive? I would suspect the entire floor or large parts of it are now or will become loose.

I would probably consider the floor lost. Somebody is going to have to sand it to get it really flat again and all these pieces/slats are going to start popping loose.

Follow-up Q: Thanks for your reply! The floor was put down in the 1950s using a black, tar-like adhesive. The adhesive appears to have come loose in the part of the floor most affected.

The problem is, only about 20% of the floor was affected and the rest is still in pretty good shape. They don’t make the floor anymore so I guess I am looking at a total replacement. I hate the thought of all that good wood going in the landfill!

A: Is this parquet block? Tongue and groove, possibly 3/4 thick? Have your floor guy put his moisture meter on the floor. If it is stable, it can be sanded over. If these are blocks and some are damaged you may be able to make your own from 2 1/4 wide strip.

Repairing a few buckled floorboards from water damage

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors:  We have recently purchased a home with carpet over hardwood floors. Our humidifier leaked through the carpet & pad and the hardwood underneath buckled. How would we fix the hardwood so it is flat again? Appearance does not matter, as it is covered by the carpet.”

A: Standard strip flooring is still common and you should be able to buy what you need from a Hardwood retailer in your area or possibly a building supply store. Common widths are 1 3/4 or 1 1/2 X 3/8. You can either remove just the damaged boards or take out the floor from where the damage starts and replace it up to the wall.

Original / moved link https://faceliftfloors.com/q-and-a/buckledfloors.php

Floorboards may drop back on their own

Related Q: I have tongue and groove, soft pine flooring. I had a water leak on a section of the floor. The floor did get wet, and after using the shop vac to get the water up the floor starting drying and started producing a cracking sound. Now several of the floorboards have risen up along where they come together. What can I do to repair them, short of replacing them?

A: I would leave it for a month and see if it drops back down on its own. If not, it will have to be sanded flat.