Recently we had an overflow from our washing machine, because we washed pillows on the high speed setting. The powder room where the washing machine is located had water on the floor underneath, but thankfully it was limited to one corner. We attempted to dry the area with fans, and now have a pan in place to catch some spills.

We checked out the area a month later, and noticed that the top of a few boards are lifting in an area and there are some black bits. I uploaded a YouTube video of the damage

I suspect it'd be best to replace the damaged floorboards, but that's beyond what I can do in the very short term. My preferred flooring guy is booked steady for a while, and it's a decent round trip for him. I was going to start with the approach for removing stains, but should I remove that board to investigate further?

I'm assuming this is tongue and groove board so it'll be trickier to remove. Is it safe to just remove the surface area that is lifting, dry that further, prep it and apply polyurethane as an interim solution. If there is an easy way to remove the board and avoid collateral damage I'd be interested in knowing that.

  • It wasn't clear from the video whether the whole board is lifting or if the surface polyurethane has lifted and dragged a tiny sliver of wood with it; it looked like the latter. I'd start by waiting until winter, possibly putting a needle in the bubble on top of the board to let it vent a bit, and then making the decision to live with it or to refinish the floor.
    – gbronner
    Sep 10, 2014 at 6:37
  • If your flooring person has you on the schedule, my advice is to bite the bullet and sit tight. Per your question, this is not something you are comfortable fixing, therefore it is simply a question of what state of disrepair you choose live with in the meantime. Seeing as it took a month to notice, the current state is probably better than the state after you have taken the floor apart.
    – user23752
    Sep 10, 2014 at 13:35

1 Answer 1

  1. If as @gbronner mentioned its just the surface layer, that's pretty easy to fix: Scrape it clean, sand a bit, remove the dust, then apply poly. I wouldn't necessarily recommend this in the middle of a living room floor, but in a laundry room, I at least am less concerned about the appearance of the floor.

  2. But if those boards are soft in the middle, they definitely need to be replaced and since they are being replaced you should also take a look at the sub floor to ensure there was no permanent damage to what is underneath. That said, If you have stopped the leakage you shouldn't have issues waiting for a contractor.

Please clarify the scenario we are working with here, surface damage or soft/rotted wood. If you are interested in fixing it yourself, I would suggest getting us a picture of the layout of the room (dimensions, and where the damage fits within those dimensions). We can suggest a best course from there.

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