Having water under your laminate flooring can cause several types of damage to your laminate floor. So how do you dry water under a laminate floor?
To dry water under a laminate floor, you’ll have to remove some of the planks where there is water. This will allow you to gain access underneath the laminate floor where you’ll need to suck excess water out either by using a wet/dry vacuum or a shop vac.
After, you should use rags to wipe the water on the subfloor and allow each laminate plank to dry before reinstalling the floor. Damaged laminate planks should be replaced. If the water is caused by a leak or cracked pipe, you’ll need to fix the problem before reinstalling the laminate planks.
This post reveals all you need to know about drying water underneath your laminate floor. So, let’s dive in.
- 1 Is Laminate Flooring Waterproof?
- 2 What Happens If Water Gets Under Laminate Flooring?
- 3 Will Water Under Laminate Floor Dry Out On Its Own?
- 4 How To Dry Water Underneath Laminate Flooring?
- 5 Can Water Damage Laminate Flooring?
- 6 How To Know If Laminate Flooring Has Water Damage?
- 7 How To Prevent Water From Getting Under Laminate Flooring?
Is Laminate Flooring Waterproof?
Laminate flooring is not waterproof but the planks are water-resistant. This means that your laminate floor can withstand moisture or water to a certain degree and for a limited period. If the laminate floor is exposed to more water than it can withstand or if you expose the laminate planks to moisture for extended periods, the water will eventually penetrate the laminate flooring.
Generally, laminate floors are not waterproof. Being waterproof means that the material can’t be penetrated by water. But, laminate floors can be penetrated although not immediately. This is why the laminate floors are regarded as “water-resistant” and not waterproof.
As a water-resistant floor, the laminate planks can withstand a certain level of water for a limited period. For instance, if you accidentally spill a drink on a laminate floor, the drink will not penetrate the laminate flooring immediately. Instead, it will stay on the laminate flooring for some time but if the spill isn’t wiped off, the drink will eventually affect the laminate planks.
Water can penetrate a laminate floor through the acclimation gaps between the planks and the base wall and the locking mechanism between the planks. This is why laminate planks can’t be used in high moisture areas like the bathroom or laundry room but they can be used in low moisture areas like the kitchen and dining room.
What Happens If Water Gets Under Laminate Flooring?
When water gets under a laminate floor, the laminate boards will begin to absorb water. This is because laminate floor is usually water-resistant from top to bottom but not from bottom to top. Since the bottom layer of the laminate planks is not waterproof, the laminate floor will absorb water that gets underneath the floor. When this happens, you’ll notice the planks swelling, lifting, and separating.
Laminate planks are usually designed with a thin layer of waterproof sheeting as the top layer of the floor. The layer prevents the laminate planks from absorbing water quickly and this is what makes the laminate flooring water-resistant.
However, laminate planks don’t have this waterproof layer beneath the planks meaning that the laminate planks are not waterproof from bottom to top. So, if water gets underneath a laminate floor, the water will be absorbed easily.
When water is absorbed by the laminate planks, the planks will begin to swell to accommodate the extra volume of water in the planks. This swelling can also cause bubbles on the top layer of the laminate floor. After some time, the swelling will put pressure on the locks between the laminate planks causing gaps in the floor.
Asides from that, the laminate floor will also feel wet when walked on. When it gets to this stage, you may start to notice mold growth under the laminate flooring. So, will water under a laminate floor dry out on its own? Let’s take a closer look.
Will Water Under Laminate Floor Dry Out On Its Own?
Water under laminate flooring rarely dries out itself. This is because there is very little space and provision for evaporation to occur underneath your laminate flooring.
If there is water underneath your laminate floor, you’ll have to dry it out manually. However, if it’s just a spill that you are worried about, you can increase the room temperature to dry out the spill from underneath your laminate planks.
Sometimes, water under your laminate flooring dries itself. But, this only happens when there is very little moisture under the floor. In this case, you can turn on the room heater or dehumidifier and the little moisture under your laminate floor will be dried out naturally. However, if you are dealing with a leak or flood, the water will not dry itself because evaporation can’t take place.
You should also know that it’s not advised to leave water under your laminate floor to dry itself. If you notice moisture under your floor, it’s best to dry it out manually because the chances of it drying itself are slim. Even if the water dries out itself, it will take some time and the laminate planks may have been damaged before that happens.
Next, let’s check out how to dry water underneath a laminate floor easily.
How To Dry Water Underneath Laminate Flooring?
To dry water from under a laminate floor, you’ll need the following tools and supplies:
- A mop
- Moisture meter
- A shop vac
- Floor scraper
1. Wipe The Water On The Laminate floor
If the top of the laminate floor is wet, you need to wipe off the water first before tackling the one underneath the planks. If you don’t take care of the water on top, it may affect the level of water below the laminate planks.
To wipe the laminate floor, use rags and or a mop. Remember to only wipe the moisture off. If you press the rag on the laminate plank, you may push moisture from the surface beneath the laminate floor.
2. Remove The Planks
The next step is to remove some of the laminate planks. You can do this using a floor scraper or a crowbar. Ensure to remove the planks gently to prevent damage. You should only remove the planks in the area of the floor where there seems to be the most moisture damage. You should remove all the wet planks so you can dry them out.
3. Suck and Clean The Water Out
After removing the needed planks, you can suck and clean out the water under the laminate floor. To do this, you can use a wet/dry vacuum or a shop vac.
Put the suction hose of the vacuum or shop vac under the laminate planks where you have water. Then turn on the vacuum to suck the water from under the floor. You should wait till the moisture levels drop below 6% before turning off the vacuum. You can test the moisture level using a moisture meter.
When the water level is dropped, you can wipe off the remaining water using a rag or cloth.
4. Turn On The Heater and Dehumidifier
Turning on the room heater or increasing the room temperature will increase the rate of evaporation on the laminate flooring.
This way, any leftover water under the floor can be evaporated or dried out. Using dehumidifiers also works to dry laminate flooring quicker because dehumidifiers reduce the moisture levels in the air.
Turning on both equipment will ensure there is no moisture left under the laminate floor. You can leave the dehumidifier on overnight.
5. Reinstall The Laminate Planks
After the laminate planks have dried, you can reinstall them. Ensure to click the locks well in place to prevent separation of the planks. Also, ensure to only reinstall the laminate planks on a waterproof underlayment.
Damaged, warped, buckled, and rotten wood should all be replaced. After reinstalling or replacing the planks, you can reinstall the baseboard trims. If the planks have been affected by mold, you should remove the mold and disinfect the affected plank(s).
Can Water Damage Laminate Flooring?
Water can damage laminate flooring. Though laminate floors are usually water-resistant, the laminate plank will suffer water damage if you expose the laminate floor to too much water or leave water on the plank for too long. In both cases, water will damage the laminate flooring.
Here are the stages of water damage that you’ll experience on a laminate floor:
Wet Spots – These are white or dark rings on the laminate flooring. When the laminate floor is affected by water, this is the first damage you’ll notice.
Bubbles – The next damage you’ll notice is bubbles. The bubbles form due to the absorption of water by the laminate planks.
Swollen or Warping – You’ll also notice the laminate planks swelling or warping. Sometimes, the planks will also buckle as the floor begins to dip or arch in the center.
Separation – The next damage you’ll notice is delamination or separation of laminate floors. This is when the laminate planks start to pull apart due to moisture damage.
Wood Rot and Odor – Wood rot and odor occur at the latter stages of the water damage. This will only happen if you neglected the moisture damage or left the water to dry itself under the laminae flooring.
So you can see that water can damage a laminate floor in several ways. So how do you know when you have water damage under your laminate flooring? Let’s take a closer look.
How To Know If Laminate Flooring Has Water Damage?
Here are signs that tell you when you have water under your laminate flooring:
Swollen or Bubbled Planks
When you notice that some of the planks are swollen or bubbled, it’s usually caused by excess moisture underneath the laminate planks. When the planks start to absorb moisture, the wood fiber expands to accommodate the moisture being sucked in. This causes the planks to either swell or form bubbles.
Moist Feeling on The Floor
When you walk on the laminate floor, it should feel dry but if the planks are starting to feel cold or moist, it could be because of moisture under your laminate flooring.
Mold growth is another sign of water under your vinyl flooring because mold will grow anywhere as long as there is moisture and air. When you start to see mold growing under and around the laminate planks, it’s usually due to long-term exposure to water.
Warped Laminate Planks
When you notice that the laminate planks have become warped or twisted, it’s usually due to exposure to moisture beneath the laminate flooring. The warped planks occur due to the shrinking of the laminate planks. When the laminate planks become shrunk, the layers in the plank begin to detach and lift causing the warping effect on the laminate floor.
Delamination occurs when the laminate flooring starts to split into layers. This is usually caused by moisture under the vinyl flooring. The moisture puts stress on the laminate locks causing the planks to buckle or separate and causing gaps in the floor.
Here are other signs that may indicate water damage underneath a laminate flooring:
- Discoloration – if it’s water damage, some parts will look deeper or duller than others
- Loose laminate adhesive – if you used laminate adhesive, water can wash the glue from beneath the planks
- Wood rot and odors – laminate planks are at least 70-80% wood which means that if there is water damage beneath the floor, the planks will rot and give off the wet wood smell.
Now that you know how to spot if a laminate floor has water damage and how to fix it, let’s find out how to prevent water from getting under a laminate floor.
How To Prevent Water From Getting Under Laminate Flooring?
The following tips will help prevent water from getting underneath your laminate flooring:
- Always seal spaces and acclimation gaps in the laminate floor with latex or acrylic latex caulk
- Wipe and clean water and spills immediately they occur
- Always seal the seams of the laminate flooring
- Seal the laminate planks but ensure to apply a sealant that is compatible with laminate planks
- Cover your laminate flooring with a waterproof floor mat or carpet
- Do not install laminate flooring in high moisture areas in the home like bathrooms
- Go for laminate planks with pre-attached underlayment. It’s more difficult for water to get under such laminate planks because the planks already have a waterproof underlay.
In summary, water under your laminate floor is no joke and it’s a problem that you want to resolve as quickly as possible. If you leave the water under the laminate floor to dry itself, the chances of that happening are slim because evaporation can’t occur beneath your laminate floor.
So the best way to get rid of water from underneath a laminate floor is to do so manually. Simply pull out a few planks, suck out the water, and leave the planks to dry. Remember to replace the damaged planks.