I bought my house over a year ago and had the hardwood oak floors refinished. One of the bedrooms had water damage from a leaking roof (previous owners fixed this before I purchased the house) so they did not put poly on that floor and told me I should let it dry out before finishing it.

Long story short, there was a puddle of water in the crawlspace beneath this area which is why the subfloor was damp. I remedied all of this... no more puddles, no more soaked under-floor insulation, no more leaks. A year later and after trying multiple methods to dry it out, the hardwood floor was still wet so I finally decided to rip out parts of the floor.

Just as I suspected, the subfloor beneath still has a significant amount of moisture. The tar paper between the subfloor and hardwood was also damp.

Here is a picture of the affected area. You can pretty clearly see the color difference between the damp and dry areas. For the record, the damp areas don't FEEL considerably wet or anything, and there is 0 rot or mold: damp area of floor

Now that I'm at the subfloor, what can I do to finish drying this out so I can finally finish this darned bedroom!?

  • 2
    Just put a fan on it and let capillary action do its thing. I'm amazed that it's still wet, though, and wonder if there's not a lingering water problem that you're not aware of.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 22:39
  • @isherwood cool. That's what i'd been doing but didn't know if something was better than that. I have a heating fan that I keep on low just to speed it up a bit. I'll throw that back on it. I'm 100% sure there is no other water problem. I rebuilt the entire bathroom, above and below the subfloor, which is right behind that wall on the right so I'm pretty intimately familiar with the underside of this floor, lol.
    – tbox
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 23:24
  • When did you remedy the problem. Wood does not say damp for years without a water source. If the remedy was long ago, there must be a continuing water source.
    – Yehuda_NYC
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 1:00

1 Answer 1


You say, "The tar paper between the subfloor and hardwood was also damp." I don't see the "tar paper". You MUST have a moisture barrier.

However, your question is about drying the area out. I agree with @isherwood, keep a fan blowing on it and it will dry out faster. However, be aware that the rapid drying could warp the oak flooring. To minimize this problem, I'd re-assemble the oak boards to keep the boards straight.

Btw, I'm surprised I don't see "damaged" edges along the edges of the oak flooring from being nailed in place.

Also, I thought this type of floor needed to be installed on "sleepers".

  • I removed the tar paper that was beneath the boards I removed which is why it's not visible :) I will put more tar paper down after the subfloor is dried and before I put flooring back down.
    – tbox
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 0:34

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