Water Under your Vinyl flooring or it has Bulged & Discolored from water damage? Not sure what can be done?
In this guide you will learn:
- If vinyl flooring can get wet and is it Waterproof,
- Signs of Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring,
- How to Dry out Vinyl Flooring and UNDER It,
- How to Repair & Replace water Damaged Vinyl Flooring.
Can vinyl flooring be water damaged
Technically speaking, vinyl flooring is classed as waterproof, but it is still susceptible to water damage as a result of flooding and extreme moisture, some of the most common issues include:
- Bulging of the vinyl board/edges
- Buckling of creases and edges of your vinyl floor
- Mold growth under Vinyl Flooring
First Steps to Prevent Water Damage to Vinyl Flooring
One crucial thing to know is what exactly you are looking for, there are a few tell-tale signs as to what is causing the water damage and knowing this enables you to know how to fix it quickly and effectively, the signs to look for are
- Clear water – These are primarily leaks from in your household and from rainwater, expect this kind of water when flooding occurs.
- Grey water- appliances in your home and toilet water, usually containing waste of sorts which causes the grey colour
- Black water-contaminated water, primarily sewage and drain water
Clearwater and greywater are usually safe to do yourself provided you have some basic knowledge of plumbing and are wearing the correct equipment
Black/contaminated water – call a professional, this needs to be handled safely and properly to ensure there is no lingering damage, also due to what could be in the water it needs the expertise of somebody qualified in dealing with black water.
For small pools of water on or under your vinyl flooring, the first step to take would be to try drying out the floor first but the practice can vary for the type of flooring itself,these include:
- Vinyl roll (usually the standard in most homes)
- Vinyl planks/tiles
- Luxury vinyl flooring
Water Damaged Vinyl Roll Flooring
- If the amount of water is not enormous, waiting up to 48 hours could dry it with good air circulation, also a fan in the room or dehumidifier can speed things along.
- A squeegee or dry mop is also effective but ensure you are not pushing water towards any potential fitting gaps against the wall
Water Damaged Vinyl Planks / Vinyl Tiles
As these are usually glued to the subfloor, water underneath can be a little trickier to remove, the usual methods would be to:
- A shop vac is your best friend, use it to remove as much water as possible followed by fan/humidifier drying again.
- If there is water underneath isolate the area and dependant upon the amount of water, you may have to consider pulling up the planks in that area to access any pools of water underneath.
- If all else fails, consult an expert immediately as water underneath will weaken the glue bonding to the floor and it is a breeding ground for black mold if left unattended.
Water Damaged Luxury vinyl tile flooring
Due to the increased amount of layers compared to standard vinyl flooring, Luxury Vinyl tile Flooring is practically immune to surface water damage and the best choice by far.
Bare in mind. due to the many seals between tiles and planks, there is still a slight chance of water leaking through the gaps, but the flooring itself is immune, good circulation and a wipe with a dry cloth/mop should clear it up.
Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring?
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How to Repair Water Damaged Vinyl Flooring
Sometimes mopping and airing out simply won’t do the job, for example in the case of a flood, now is the time to get your hands dirty and pull the floor up to find the source, consult or hire a professional beforehand to make sure everything you do is safe and will achieve what you are trying to do,
Below is a comprehensive guide on how to pull up and dry your vinyl flooring in a safe and effective manner.
pulling up the Water Damaged vinyl flooring
Use a heat gun if possible in any dry spots to break down the glue bonding to the floor while wiggling the tile/vinyl free with a chisel or floor scraper.
If the flooring is soggy/too damaged, use a utility knife or Stanley to cut the damaged section for removal, this will need to be replaced with fresh vinyl once the floor has dried.
The vinyl tiles/flooring should come up very easily using a floor scraper.
To get started, you might find it easier to remove just one tile and then you can get the floor scraper under the of the floor tiles to prise them up quickly.
Once the water damaged vinyl has been lifted you will be left with the subfloor which will be more than likely covered in a sticky, wet adhesive, this will need to be removed as it could be retaining some of the water which leaked under the vinyl.
removing the adhesive
There are two ways this could go, if the floor has been down for several years, the adhesive will more than likely be rock solid, do not attempt to remove this with a scraper, as chances are its brittle.
If this is the case, you’ll go straight through it with the scraper and damage the flooring underneath, the best choice is a small hammer and a bolster chisel to break it off in chunks.
If the adhesive is still moist and sticky, a scourer mixed with some adhesive remover should remove it. Bear in mind this will be a tedious process as this glue is tough, the floor has to last, so should the glue.
The Heat gun used to pry off the boards can be effective at lifting the adhesive, but use it 6-8 inches away from the subfloor to avoid any possible permanent damage.
replacing the vinyl Flooring
Depending upon the size of the vinyl floor damage, and budget determine whether your room would require a full refloor or if a cut-out would be preferable.
Depending on the severity of the water damage, often a full floor replace would be more beneficial, as the rest of the room could be compromised by bacteria in the water
If you have a spongy sub-floor I would also recommend laying ¼ inch plywood underneath the vinyl to give it more rigidity and extra protection because when your subfloor begins to rot, that’s when it becomes a full upheaval.
Lay ¼ inch plywood board on top of your sub-floor and attach with either adhesive (glue) or hammer and nails, I would recommend glue as it is safer to lay the floor and doesn’t weaken the structural integrity of the sub-floor.
The next action would be to lay your vinyl flooring, once again, I would recommend beaded glue adhesive.
A great tip is to glue each corner of your plywood flooring and pressing the vinyl into that. This will ensure there is no bulging and the glue is spread evenly across the whole floor.
You can also use hammer and nails to “tack” the floor in at each corner and intersection, both work and both would hold.
The only concern with nailing the vinyl to the floor is that there is also a chance of leaving small gaps.
These gaps would impose the risk of moisture getting under your vinyl as well as any creepy crawlies that fancy making a nest in your home, it more than likely would not happen, but glue is the golden way.
Another type of vinyl flooring to try would be click-fit rather than sheets that need to be glued, these come in pre-measured boards to fit your room.
They are simple to install, press each board together until the clips lock and there you have it, there’s no need to glue as they are measured to exactly the size of your room so there will be no gaps in the corners and no bulging.
They are an excellent choice, but due to their great efficiency and ease of use, they do come with a bit higher price tag as expected. This type of flooring is also known as luxury vinyl tile flooring.
Importance of Drying out Water under Vinyl Flooring
If water has seeped under your vinyl flooring, it’s crucial to dry out any moisture under your vinyl flooring.
If not done properly, this will cause the glue to weaken and cause bulging of your vinyl flooring.
Worse yet – the moisture can cause mold to grow under your vinyl flooring which can also cause dry rot in your wooden subfloor.
Dry rot in your subfloor will weaken the structural integrity of your whole house and can lead to extremely expensive repairs.
When to call a professional
While it’s possible in most cases to repair/replace your water damaged vinyl flooring yourself, there are some cases that require an experts knowledge.
If you have experienced a flood/large leak very recently, it’s crucial to remove the water as fast as possible, this can save your vinyl flooring from needing to be replaced!
A water damage restoration company will have the equipment to remove large amounts of water and dry out any remaining moisture before it has the chance to weaken the vinyl’s glue or worse yet – Discolor it!
We have Water Damage Restoration Technicians that can help Dry out your Vinyl Flooring & Repair any Damage Caused.
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