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We have hardwood floors in our kitchen, and had a floor mat at the sink area that turned out not be be waterproof. It often got wet, and held the moisture against the hardwood. The moisture soaked into the joints, expanding the wood and causing swollen ridges along the joint lines:

floor damage

Roughly the top 1/3 of the picture (2 horizontal joints), and the bottom 1/4 (1 horizontal joint), show undamaged areas. The planks are completely flat and the only way to see the joints is via the differences in wood grain. The damage in the middle of the picture was hard to capture in a photo, but you can see light reflections off the raised joints and small gaps along the joints.

I expect that the wood will dry out over time, but it isn't clear whether the swelling will ever completely return to normal. If I sand it smooth and then the swelling reduces, the joints will look like chamfered edges.

So I'm looking for how to approach fixing this.

  • Is there a way to speed drying, especially that allows the wood to shrink rather than locking the distortion in place?
  • Is there a way to know when all the shrinkage that will happen is done happening?
  • Is drying, sanding, and finish repair the standard solution?
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If you protect the raised edges and let it dry out over the next 2 weeks to a month, it should go back on its own. There is no discoloration from the dampness. As long as the raised edges do not get cracked before it goes back down...

  • That's my hope, but I've had hardwood similarly affected in the past and it improved but didn't return to its original appearance (always a slight ridge at the joints). I learned that hardwood and puppies aren't a good combination. :-) – fixer1234 Apr 23 '17 at 23:10
  • The 2 weeks to a month estimate was optimistic. It's been 8 months and now the swelling is almost completely gone (the worst area still has a tiny amount to go). So I'm glad I left it alone and didn't try to fix it. – fixer1234 Dec 26 '17 at 18:31
  • Thanks for the update, I will adjust my time reference. I should have realized that it would take longer than that since it is locked in on three sides and only exposed only on the top surface... – Jack Dec 26 '17 at 18:35

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