Repairing Water Damaged Wood: A Comprehensive Guide for Commercial Property Owners May 26, 2020 – Posted in: Blog
Water damage is one of the most challenging issues that a property owner can face because of different factors. First, they can cause severe damage to one’s establishment and belongings when left unresolved. Second, it can cause the growth of mold that can severely affect your property’s indoor air quality and can even be detrimental to you and your tenants’ health. Finally, it significantly brings the value of your property down that can be a problem if you’re planning to resell it soon.
But don’t worry, it’s not something that can’t be resolved. If you’ve found yourself asking “Can you fix water damage on wood?” after discovering a severe case developing in your property, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we are going to talk all about water damage, focusing on how to deal with water damaged wood and more. Let’s get started.
What is water damage?
In a nutshell, it is the type of damage done on a structure and the belongings within due to excessive moisture and collected water. This usually happens in least-visited spaces of the establishment where water can collect without notice. They are also usually the lowest depths of one’s property like crawl spaces and basements.
Is Wood Ruined If It Gets Wet?
Now, wood is usually treated to withstand the elements, especially if it’s going to be used in construction, however, since it is still a natural material, it can still break down and rot when exposed to moisture for an extended period of time.
What Does Water Damaged Wood Look Like?
Surprisingly, though, water damage and termite damage may seem very similar at first. However, there are tell-tale signs that differentiate them from each other. For instance, water damaged wood break down into cube-sized chunks while termite damaged wood develops tunnels due to termites munching on the softer grain first.
The Effects of Water Damage on Different Types of Wood
Expanding on that, various types of wood react differently to water damage. For instance, hardwood floor water damage looks different from plywood and particleboard. Due to the limited space in this guide, we’ll only be talking about these three most common types of wood.
Water damage on the hardwood will show through staining and discoloration. Aside from that, it will also lift floorboards and the nails that are holding them down. You can pretty much say goodbye to your pretty flooring.
Another common type of wood that you might have in your establishment is particleboard. It is usually treated with a water-resistant veneer surface and is usually used as the primary material for desks and cabinets. Excessive moisture can cause your particleboard to sag, though, and weaken, causing almost permanent damage.
Finally, there’s plywood that is usually used for walls and furniture. What some of us don’t realize, though, is that plywood is made up of different layers of wood glued together. Hence, excessive moisture can cause these layers to warp and eventually fall apart.
How to Fix Water Damaged Wood?
Regardless of what type of wood you have in your commercial property, though, one thing is clear. It can be damaged by water. Hence, why don’t we move on to the next part of our guide and talk about how to repair water damaged wood.
Preparing for Restoration
The first thing that you should do is to prepare for the repair process. Do you require certain tools and materials (like auto filler putty)? Do you have the proper protective equipment? Remember, inhaling airborne contaminants caused by mold growth as a result of water damage can get you sick. Do you have the proper skill set to do the repairs yourself? Because if not, then you can always hire a commercial water damage restoration company to help you out. Finally, you should remember to seal off the area that you are going to be working in to avoid cross-contaminating other areas in your commercial space.
Repairing Water Damage: The Easy Way
Once you have prepared everything you need, then you can start the repair process. The first step is to remove any rotting wood that can’t be salvaged anymore. Once you have carved out the damaged areas, you can use auto filler putty to fill them in. Just make sure that you are able to push the putty in to completely fill the hole that you have carved out. Allow the filler to dry and sand for a smoother finish. And that’s it! All that’s left for you to do now is to prime and paint the wooden surface and it will look as good as new. In fact, why not repaint the whole area to better blend your repair job to its immediate surroundings?
However, the method that we have mentioned above is a quick fix. It must be regularly checked and maintained later on to make sure that no other damage has been done. This is also not advisable for wood that plays an integral part in your property’s structure. This type of damaged should be left to the pros to handle to prevent causing more damage to the integrity of your architecture.
Preventing Mold Growth
Speaking of maintenance, a huge chunk of that should be dedicated to preventing mold growth. Hence, here are some tips on how to do just that:
- There are different cleaning products that can efficiently deal with different types of mold. Make sure that you are also able to spot the main culprit behind the water damage in the first place. Is it a leaky pipe? Is there a hole somewhere that lets the rain in? Deal with it immediately.
- The best way to handle mold removal is to prevent mold growth in the first place. Hence, make sure to dry the area completely. Install dehumidifiers as well, in order to control the moisture within that room.
- Remove any items or furniture that are still wet to dry outside. Discard any items that are too damaged to save properly to prevent cross-contamination. This will also prevent them from affecting the indoor air quality of your establishment.
- Finally, while you’re outside, go ahead and check if there’s water collecting in the ground. They can easily seep into the interiors of your property and cause more damage.
Replace Damaged Wood
There are different ways on how to remove moisture from the wood. In fact, if you’re wondering about how to get water stains out of wood, then you’ll be pleased to learn that you can even remove them by using an iron, or by spreading mayonnaise on the problem area! Yes, you’ve read that right. Mayo. However, if you think that the damage is simply too severe, then there’s nothing else to do than to replace the damaged wood, especially if you’re going to be sacrificing your tenants’ safety if you push through with “salvaging” it. It’s simply not worth it.
How to Fix Water Damaged Swollen Wood Furniture
Do you have a wood table that has become swollen due to excessive moisture? Do you have other water damaged furniture? Then let it completely dry first. Proceed on cleaning the mold out that piece with bleach or your preferred mold-cleaning solution. Once you’re done cleaning, cut away and replace severely damaged parts if necessary. If not, then you can move on to sand the piece to restore it to its originally smooth surface. Finally, it would be up to you to decide how you’re going to finish your repair work. Are you going to cure the wood? Add a new finish? Repaint it? It’s up to you.
How to Fix a Water Damaged Floor
The method that you are going to take on how to minimize water damage to the wood floor will greatly depend on a number of different factors. What type of wood has been used on your flooring? How long did it take for you to notice the damage? How severe is it? You see, it is sometimes cheaper to get the damaged flooring replaced instead of trying to save it. And since it is a crucial part of your property, we sincerely recommend having it checked by a professional mold remediation team instead. Having the pros take over is still the best way to deal with wood floor water damage.
Water Damage Restoration Equipment for Drying Water Damaged Wood
We do understand why you’d want to handle most of the restorations yourself, though. After all, you own the property in question. Hence, if you really want to deal with the issue yourself, then there is some water damage restoration equipment that we believe will greatly benefit you:
As the name suggests, it is an equipment used to move air, but in its process, it actually helps dry water-damaged flooring and surfaces by forcing moisture to evaporate more quickly.
Another piece of equipment that can help in water damage restoration is the dehumidifier since it is specifically designed to deal with excessive moisture. Aside from that, it can also help maintain the humidity of an area to a set level.
You would probably have to deal with airborne contaminants as well, especially if you can smell the musk of mold in the air. You will need an air scrubber for that which filters out any particles in your indoor air.
Restoration Moisture Meters
Finally, you will need a restoration moisture meter. It is a device that gauges the severity of water damage on a surface or an area by assessing the moisture present. It is a must for you to have if you’re planning to do all the restoration on your own.
And that’s it! We hope that you have found our guide helpful in your current predicament. Don’t worry, by keeping the tips we have shared with you above in mind, we’re sure that your commercial property will be able to pull through water damage in no time. Good luck!