When some type of flooding event or another type of water-related incident occurs in a home, business, or other location, the flooring typically is in the bullseye for damage. There are a number of important facts and factors you need to bear in mind when it comes to flooring damage arising from flooding or some other type of water-related incident at your property. These include appreciating what options you have in regard to your flooring when it comes to the prospect of water damage. 

Most Common Types of Incidents That Cause Water Damage To Flooring

Water damage to flooring can happen in a variety of different ways. The most commonplace types of water-related incidents that cause damage to flooring in a residence or business are:

  • Storm-related flooding
  • Leaky roofs
  • Foundation seepage
  • Leaky windows
  • Leaky, frozen, burst, or broken pipes
  • Overflowing toilets, sinks, showers, or bathtubs
  • Flooded basements
  • Clogged drains
  • Sewage backups 
  • Septic tank backups
  • Dishwasher or washing machine malfunctions
  • Hot water tank malfunctions
  • Sump pump failures

Categorizing Flooding and Water Incidents at Your Home or Business

There are three broad categories of flooding or water incidents that can occur in your home or place of business. These include events such as the break or rupture of a fresh water pipe at a residence, business, or other location

There are water incidents that involve what technically is called “gray water.” Graywater is water that contains substances like soap or cleaning agents. Examples of these types of water incidents include issues with bathtub, shower, or kitchen sink leaks.

Finally, there are water incidents that involve what is known as “black water.” Black water is water that contains biohazardous matter, including human feces, human urine, blood, and other biological materials that contain dangerous pathogens.

The response to addressing water damage and flooring materials depends, in part, on the specific category of water that is entering into a home, business, or other location – fresh water, gray water, or black water. 

Flooding and Wood Floors

The potential exists to save, dry, clean, sanitize, and restore wood floors following a water damage incident at your home or business. There are a number of important elements to the effective remediation of wood floors that have been the target of water leaks or flooding – including situations involving fresh water, gray water, and black water.

The most fundamental aspect of addressing wood flooring inundated by water is an immediate response. There are some variables that can impact the window of opportunity to protect and restore wooden floors. At best that window calls for the drying of wooden flooring within 24 to 48 hours. Cleaning and sanitization can follow this initial time period provided the drying process is completed in the manner set forth here.  

If there is a weather event that last beyond this timeframe, the ability to remediate a water situation involving wooden floors may become a moot point. However, in many cases, it is possible to commence the process of drying and remediating wood flooring within a time frame that permits an effective, successful drying of the floor.

Flooding and Carpeted Floors

Carpeted floors present a unique and oftentimes insurmountable challenge when it comes to flooding. There are limited situations in which carpeting can be restored following certain types of water damage.

If carpeting becomes wet as the result of freshwater damage, if the carpet can be dried within a 24 to 48 hour time period, this type of floor covering may be able to be saved. The same cannot be said if the incident involves gray water or black water. 

The stark reality is that only a professional has any chance of remediating a carpet inundated with water containing biohazardous waste that can be present when flooding occurs because of a weather event or some type of other sewage related issue. The bottom line is that when carpeting is water damaged because of weather related flooding, sewage issues, and any other situation that isn’t limited to freshwater inundation, the recommended course is to remove and dispose of the contaminated carpeting.

Bear in mind that there are special removal and disposal considerations when it comes to removing and disposing of carpeting damaged by weather related or sewage system flooding. Anyone involved in the removal and disposal process must have proper personal protective equipment of PPE. In addition, anyone involved in this type of removal and disposal process must fully understand how items contaminated with biohazardous materials are to be disposed. 

The prospect also exists that carpeting inundated with water as the result of a storm event is also likely to be contaminated with hazardous chemicals of other types. These chemicals also demand specialized removal considerations and the following specific protocols for disposal. 

Professional water damage remediation is the recommended course when it comes to dealing with carpeting issues arising from storm-related flooding and sewage issues. Even in cases of freshwater inundation of carpeting, the surest course to expeditious drying, cleaning, and restoration is engaging a professional water damage restoration company.

Flooding and Synthetic Floors

When flooding occurs, synthetic flooring provides the best alternative when it comes to water damage remediation. Although drying needs to be commenced in a timely manner in order to effectively save synthetic flooring after a water or flooding incident, odds are strong that the floor will be restored. 

If there is a delay in initiating the drying process, synthetic flooring can begin to peel upward and can end up in a position in which removal may become necessary. The same optimal drying period is 24 to 48 hours, as is the case for wood flooring.

Damage to Underflooring Elements

When it comes to water damage and flooring, it is not only the surface flooring material that is at issue. In addition, attention must be paid to the underflooring elements. 

With some luck, underflooring elements are spared direct contact with the water. Such a scenario depends on a rapid response following a flood or other type of water incident. 

It also must be noted that when water is impacting the underflooring elements of a room, professional assistance is recommended. The fact is that only a water damage restoration specialist has the experience and resources to effectively take on this type of issue.