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Water Damage 101

During this year’s spring thaw, an increasingly common phenomenon damaged a lot of floors in Calgary. It’s called ice damming and it occurs when a ridge of ice forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow water from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas including floors.

Snow and Icicles and Ice Dam on Roof and Gutter
Ruined wooden floor

It’s a peculiar phenomenon, but as far as we flooring contractors are concerned, ice-damming is just another kind of water damage, something we are well-versed with at Floorscapes. Unfortunately, small floods are common and when they do occur, they often wreaks havoc on floor coverings.

Being porous natural materials, Hardwood, Cork and some Laminates are especially susceptible to warping. Other materials like Carpet and Tile can delaminate or crack if the flood is large enough to damage the subfloor. All in all, repairing water-damaged floors is a delicate process. But having specialized in restoration for the last decade, Floorscapes has cultivated a proven job process from removal to reinstallation, providing Calgary homeowners like yourself with beautifully restored floors.


Removal, Monitoring and Preparation

Removal, Monitoring and Preparation of water damage with fan and dryer

The first thing that needs to happen when a floor has been flooded is to promptly remove the damaged floor covering and dry the sub-floor. Enough time needs to pass for the subfloor to dry out sufficiently. It must reach a satisfactory moisture level suitable to the type of floor covering that will be installed over top.

While carpet jobs can be more forgiving, reinstalling hardwood requires subfloor moisture levels to be below a certain percentage. Using our moisture meters and doing multiple spot checks around the affected area, we can measure these levels quite accurately.


How much to Replace?

Replacing floor tiles

A common question with water damage losses: when to replace the affected area, when to reuse the pre-existing floor and when to replace the entire floor. Often times water damage occurs in a relatively small area and leaves the rest of the floor covering unaffected. If the water is clean or even grey (the relatively clean waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances), and thus doesn’t present potential hygenic problems, it might seem wasteful to remove and replace an entire floor. However, with the majority of floor coverings, you do need to replace the entire floor.

It has to do with product availability more than anything. Flooring manufacturers change their lines frequently, so if a floor is over a few years old, it might be impossible to find an exact match. If we can’t find a match, then replacing the entire floor is a necessity.


When to Save the Existing Floor

Wet carpet

Some types of floor coverings can be saved if flooded by clean water. If Carpet has been wet the pad needs to be replaced, but the Carpet itself can often be dried out and reused. As long as the backing hasn’t started to delaminate during the drying process, the carpet is still good.

Vinyl Plank is a completely waterproof product. If a floating Vinyl Plank has suffered a small flood, it can simply be dried and reinstalled. Ceramic Tile too should resist smaller floods. If it has been properly installed (with sufficient adhesive coverage), Ceramic Tile shouldn’t need to be replaced.


Site Finished Hardwood

Installer installing hardwood floor after a flooding

Site-finished Hardwood is an exception to the replace or reuse rule. Because site finished Hardwood is sanded and finished on site, it can more readily be colour-matched. Not to say that this is a simple process.

First off, there are many factors involved with matching, including matching species and grade variation with decades-old wood... thankfully Floorscapes has a keen eye and plenty of experience matching. Second, a partial replacement of site-finished hardwood takes finesse on the part of the installer. We call it “feathering” in the flooring industry, because installing new boards requires delicate placement and often times custom cutting in order to match millwork. Then there’s the sanding and finishing, which requires the precise craftsmanship of an experienced crew in order to get a cohesive appearance and avoid any marks or blemishes from the sanding process.


At Floorscapes we have plenty of experience restoring water-damaged floors. We know exactly what needs to be done in each context and with each type of flooring, so we can offer you an efficient and cost-effective solution that will last with time.



Written by guest author Eric Osborne



Floorscapes Inc.
a creative voice in the world of Calgary flooring
Where You Can Find Us:
Floorscapes Inc.
525 58 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, T2H 0P7, Canada
Phone: 403-296-0985