Water damage in the parquet: how to repair/replace?

When parquet curves or swells, too high humidity is often the reason.

While superficial water damage is quick and easy to detect, the cause can also be hidden under the floor. Learn in this article what can cause too much moisture under the parquet and how to best deal with water damage.

How does parquet react to moisture?

As a natural wooden floor, parquet always reacts to water.

What is of great advantage in terms of indoor climate and feel-good atmosphere on the one hand can lead to damage in the parquet floor on the other hand.

Too high humidity leads to an increased swelling behavior of the parquet – unsightly deformations are the result.

Depending on where the water comes from, a different picture emerges:

  • Moisture spreads from below, parquet forms convex – it swells up and the middle of the rods curves upwards or comes up.
  • If moisture enters from above, the deformations are concave – it comes to the so-called “bowl“, the parquet deforms like a bowl, with the edges upwards.
Construction dryer for drying after water damage on parquet
Construction dryers after water damage: depending on the ground and extent of the damage, construction dryers with or without hole bore in the underground are necessary.

Causes of water damage in the parquet

Water damage in the parquet can have many causes. While a fallen water bucket or a room flooded by an leaking washing machine is quickly discovered, there are a number of water damage that is not so obvious.

Thus, the damage is often not noticed until the parquet is swelled or curves. Then it is said to get to the bottom of the matter quickly in order to limit the damage as much as possible.

There are the following options:

Too moist screed

If it is a new building, the parquet may have been on a screed that was too damp.

In order for a newly erected screed to be suitable for laying parquet, it must be completely dry.

The guideline is a drying time of approx. one week per cm of screed – usually a classic cement screed is therefore sufficiently dried after about 4 weeks. In order to be sure, a residual moisture determination must be carried out before laying the parquet using the CM method, which precisely determines whether the values are within the approved standard.

Defective water pipes or heating pipes

If water or heating pipes – for example from an underfloor heating – are under the parquet,the water damage may also have been caused by a leak in these pipes. In this case, moisture penetrates the parquet from below, but this can go unnoticed for a while.

Too high humidity

Especially with floating laid parquet,a bulge can also be caused by too high humidity. In addition, if too little distance was maintained in the edge area or at door sills in order to give the parquet the necessary leeway to source and shrink, it mainly comes up at the impacts.

Water damage in the parquet – what to do?

No matter what the cause is – in case of water damage in the parquet, the motto applies:

The faster the damage is repaired, the fewer consequences and the more likely the parquet can be repaired.

As soon as a water damage has been detected in the parquet, the therefore be acted upon as soon as possible. In this way, it is not only avoid irreparable damage, but it also prevents mold formation, which could sometimes spread to the entire floor construction.

Parquet has the great advantage that it can be easily repaired in most cases with slight to moderate water damage.

A real wood floor is completely destroyed only if the water is on the floor for a long time or the parquet elements in it “float”.

In contrast to other floor coverings, such as laminate, parquet can therefore usually be easily renovated – repair of individual damaged areas is also possible.

The cost of repairing or remediation measures depends accordingly on the extent of the water damage.

Construction drying with bore after water damage in the parquet
Construction dryer with bore in the ground: in order to dry everything even under the screed, drilling in the parquet is also necessary for some damage. After completion of the drying, the damaged rods are then replaced and the parquet is rehabilitated.

Eliminate superficial water damage in the parquet

Water damage to the surface of the parquet is best repaired by first wiping the water as quickly as possible.

Afterwards, the parquet must dry completely.

If the ground was only in contact with the water for a short time – for example, because a bucket was poured over – it is sufficient to provide the necessary passage in the room by airing. Subsequently, the affected area can be re-treated with a suitable care product.

In the case of larger or longer floods – e.g. due to leaking washing machines or floods – the residual moisture from the parquet and the air must be removed over a longer period of time by a dehumidifier.

It is important to keep windows and doors closedduring the entire drying phase , with the exception of shock ventilation.

Suitable equipment can be borrowed in DIY stores or specialist companies,the costs for this are usually covered by the insurance.

In addition, in the event of major superficial damage, the water may also have penetrated into the cracks of the parquet, causing moisture to spread under the floor.

If this risk exists, it is essential to consult a specialist or expert who will carefully check the water damage and, if necessary, plan appropriate further measures.

Repair water damage below the parquet

If the source of the water damage is below the parquet, has probably already passed some time, which is the expense of the Damage is eliminated.

The most important thing is to eliminate the cause of water inlet. For this purpose, it is usually necessary to remove the parquet at the affected place.

Once the damage has been repaired, the entire underbody – especially the screed – must first completely dry up before the hole can be closed again.

The use of a drying device is also recommended for this purpose.

In addition, any existing bulk material should be removed. Only when the soil has completely dried out and there are no signs of mold formation, the affected area can be filled with new bulk material and the hole can be closed with new parquet elements.

The old parquet will probably be too damaged by the water exposure to reuse it. Color differences in the décor can be compensated by special oils or varnishes or a new seal.

Signs of mold infestation

If a musty, fashionable or earthy smell goes out after a water damage, this is usually an indication that mold has formed under the parquet.

The extent of the infestation and the possible spread to the dwelling can be investigated by means of an appropriate expert opinion.

If mold formation is actually detected, the parquet must be completely removed and often the underlying screed must be rehabilitated.

A new screed may only be introduced if the residual moisture in the room is below 4 percent – after that, the corresponding drying time must be observed before a new parquet can be laid.

Since the highest care is required in the refurbishment of parquet after a water damage with mould infestation, the measures should be carried out by a specialist.