Wipe off any excess water from the surface and remove the board. Dry it with a fan or dehumidifier and then disinfect for any mold or germs. After that, sanitize your subfloor and underlayment before putting the board back again.
Drying Your Laminate Flooring When Water Makes Its Way Under It
Water can significantly damage laminate planks.
Especially when the fluid makes its way under the material, it can cause mold and other irreversible damage, including discoloration and decay.
But the good news is that almost all laminate products can resist water for some time. There won’t be any permanent harm if you are swift and follow the right procedures.
This article discusses everything regarding how to dry laminate flooring with water under it.
Step By Step Method On How To Dry Laminate Flooring With Water Under It
Drying laminate flooring is a long process, but is doable as long as you follow the right steps. Furthermore, you’ll need to gather some materials before getting into it.
Things You Will Need
- Paper Towel or Clean Cloth
- High-Voltage Fan
Step 1: Stop The Leak
If your laminate flooring is wet due to a leak, you first need to find the spot where the pipe has broken. After that, close the shutoff valve, which is responsible for blocking the water flow in that part of the pipe.
If you aren’t sure where the water is coming from, it’s better to close the main valve of the plumbing system. It’s generally present in the basement.
In case you don’t have a leak, start from the next step.
Step 2: Clear Surface Moisture
Use a paper towel or a clean cloth to wipe off the water on the surface of the plank. Be as quick as possible, and you may need to use a lot of paper towels depending on the level of the spill.
Don’t press the towel very hard, as it increases the risk of more water falling into the back of the flooring.
If there’s a puddle or a lot of water, you may need a mop or a wet vacuum. All in all, try to remove as much moisture as possible, as the more you do, the easier the next steps become.
Step 3: Remove Every Floor Board From The Room
You can use a saw to cut the part where the floor meets the wall. On the other hand, you can slide in a drywall knife between the wall and the board and insert a flat bar as you peel the plank out.
Don’t forget to wear protective clothing, including goggles and a glove. As you remove the wet boards, keep them away from the dry ones.
At this time, you can inspect if the board is significantly bent. If it is, then it’s better to throw it away, as it can damage its neighboring boards upon reinstallation.
Tip: While removing floorboards, mark the ones touching the wall with a pencil. Do the same for smaller pieces that have been cut to fit in.
Step 4: Dry The Floorboards
As soon as you remove the floorboard, place it flatly on a surface indoors. Then, you’ll crank up the heater in the room and then run a fan or an air humidifier near the wet planks.
Both your dehumidifier and fan should be at their maximum settings. Also, if you have multiple fans, direct one or two on the lower layer of the floorboard.
You can also open the windows, but don’t do it if it’s raining, as you don’t want any extra humidity.
Step 5: Inspect For Mold
Inspection for mold and mildew should be done after the flooring is dry.
Mold is generally fuzzy and can cause dark stains that are green, red, or black.
On the other hand, mildew is flat and white/ gray in its early stages. It causes stains that are like dots.
Clearing Mold And Mildew From A Laminate Plank
If you find a very dark mold, the recommended option would be to dispose of the floorboard immediately, as it can cause various allergic reactions and breathing problems.
On the other hand, if the effect isn’t very significant or you only have mildew, you can scrub the affected area with water and baking soda.
You could also use a mixture of 1:4 chlorine bleach and water or soapy water to remove mildew.
Step 6: Disinfect The Floorboard
Now that the mold is gone, the next step is to remove any other germ particles from the board.
For this, mix a 1:4 ratio of water and white vinegar and soak it with a sponge or a clean piece of cloth. Then, apply the solution to the top of the floorboard. Just make sure you don’t get the material overly wet.
After disinfection, again, remove any excess moisture, and continue the drying process.
Step 7: Clean The Underlayment
Underlayment is the material placed between the flooring and the subflooring. You may, or you may not have it, and if you do, it’s usually made of fiber, felt, rubber or foam.
If the underlayment is made of fiber or felt, you should remove the material from the floor before cleaning it. Wash it gently with your hands, and if you don’t want to do so, placing it in a delicate cycle on your washing machine can do the trick.
You can first wash them with mild dish soap and water for rubber or foam. After that, remove and dry them, and treat them with a 4:1 mixture of water and white vinegar. Leave them out to dry again.
Step 8: Clean The Subfloor
Cleaning the subfloor for laminate is slightly different from carpet or other floorings. You need to disinfect the area and also make sure there isn’t a single drop of water left by the time you are installing your floorboard.
For cleaning a subfloor, you can start by mixing water and dish soap. Clean the area with that solution and once you are done, wipe it off with a towel.
Step 9: Disinfect The Subfloor
You can disinfect your subfloor in three ways:
- By using an enzymatic cleaner available in most hygiene stores. Read the instructions on the back of the label before using it.
- By treating the subfloor with a mixture of 250 ml of warm water, about 60 ml of mild dishwashing soap, and about 85 ml of white vinegar.
- By cleaning it with a mixture of one part bleach with three parts of warm water.
Note: You can substitute the bleach with hydrogen peroxide. Nevertheless, wear protective goggles, masks, and gloves as any solution containing bleach or hydrogen peroxide can produce fumes.
After disinfecting, let out the subfloor to dry. Finally, you can place your flooring back again when all is done.
How To Reinstall My Laminate Flooring After Drying It?
You can finally put the planks back after you’re sure they’ve completely dried. Here’s the process for it:
Things You Will Need
- Rubber Mallet
- Laminated Planks
- Protective Gloves
Step 1: Wear your protective gloves and goggles and cover yourself with thick clothes.
Step 2: Remove any dust from the subfloor and install the underlayment. The edges should touch each other, but can’t overlap.
Step 3: The planks that touched the wall before you removed them have their tongue cut. We had mentioned earlier in this article to mark them with a pencil. Find them and line them up with the longest wall.
Step 4: Starting from one side of your room, interlock every plank tightly in the first row. You can use a hammer to gently tap them so that they fit with one another.
Step 5: If you haven’t marked the smaller planks, chances are that you may need to cut some boards with a saw for everything to fit. You’ll need to make sure that the ones that you saw are connected directly to the wall base and aren’t in the middle of the floor.
Step 6: For the subsequent rows, find the tongue edge of the board you wish to install and interlock it with the groove of the preceding row.
Step 7: Install the last row. It would be tricky if you were installing the boards for the first time, but since they’ve already been cut to fit in the small space, it’s easier for you.
FAQs On How To Dry Laminate Flooring With Water Under It
Can You Dry The Floorboard In The Sun?
It really depends on the material quality. High-end laminate products aren’t affected, but some floorings can be discolored due to the ultraviolet rays released by the Sun.
How Much Time Does It Take For Laminate Flooring To Dry?
Based on the size of the board, damage, and other environmental factors, it can take any time between 12 to 36 hours. You are recommended to run a fan or a dehumidifier for at least 24 hours.
Can You Reinstall Laminate Flooring After Removing It?
As long as you don’t damage the material before removing it, you can definitely reinstall your laminate flooring. Mostly glued floorboards are prone to breaking, but these days, most laminate floorings consist of adhesive-free joints, allowing you to remove them without cracks.