Wondering if Water can damage concrete floors? If so what are the signs?
In this guide you will learn:
- How Fast Can Water Damage Concrete floors
- Common Causes of Water damaged concrete floors & Signs to Look out for,
- How to Dry Concrete floors after Water leaks or Flood,
- How long do concrete Floors take to dry out after leak or flood.
Can Water Damage Concrete Floors?
Business owners and homeowners alike often feel confident in their concrete floor’s ability to resist water damage and its adverse effects.
While it may seem that concrete is as solid and impenetrable as it gets, concrete floors can absolutely get water damaged!
In the worst case, your concrete floor can start to break down from the water damage.
Water damages concrete floors much differently than it does wood or tile.
Since concrete is much tougher than wood or tile, concrete slabs mostly take on damage in the form of cracks, holes caused by an excess of standing water.
In the worst case, concrete can start to break down!
The possibilities of water damaging concrete are much greater in humid areas with large fluctuations in temperature.
Having water that is in contact with concrete constantly freezing and thawing leads to a higher possibility of the water creating abrasions on concrete over time.
Does Concrete Absorb Water?
Yes, Concrete absolutely absorbs water.
Concrete absorbs water thanks to the soil, sediment, and piping system that lies under it.
When an abnormal amount of moisture gets exposed to the concrete flooring through a pipe leak, flooding, foul weather, etc., it is likely to be absorbed by the concrete above it.
This collection of moisture that concrete absorbs leads to the numerous problems that concrete floor water damage presents to homeowners or businesspeople.
This can happen very quickly…
Water can damage concrete floors rather quickly. Concrete can be deceptively strong and solid, which leads people to believe that their floors could resist water damage.
The truth is that concrete floors begin to be damaged as soon as they absorb an abnormal amount of moisture. After concrete absorbs this amount of humidity, it could experience a range of problems.
Further, repairing water damaged concrete floors takes much longer than it does for slabs and flooring to get damaged.
You should regularly monitor your concrete floors if they are prone to getting exposed to moisture to make sure that it is in the best shape possible.
Issues Caused by Water Damaged Concrete Floors
Water damage to concrete floors can spell disaster for any homeowner.
The effects of water damage can lead to the breakdown of the concrete’s bond (causing a breakdown of the entire floor), mold that can lead to unpleasant smells invading one’s home, and cracking along the surface of the concrete flooring.
1.Breakdown of flooring due to water damage.
Excessive amounts of water being retained by your concrete floor will begin to tamper with the concrete structure.
This means that the concrete floor could potentially become absolutely ruined due to damage, discoloration, or in serious cases complete erosion.
Nearly all flooring can fall victim to mold as a side effect of water damage, concrete floors are no different in this regard.
The effects of mold on concrete flooring are very similar to the damage one could see on any other floor; bad smells, discoloration, spreading of mold throughout the rest of the home, and more.
Mold can be one of the worst experiences for any homeowner, understanding that concrete floors are not immune from this is vital knowledge.
3. Cracks in concrete
If this issue could be summarized in one statement it would be as follows; Cracks spread.
Even the most insignificant appearing crack can turn into an eyesore for a homeowner.
Not just the looks of the concrete are affected however, cracks lead to a less stable structure and a potentially unsafe floor.
If one sees a crack in their concrete floor, they must understand that the crack they see is not the entire issue, it is the beginning of a much bigger one.
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Warning Signs of Concrete Floor Water Damage
An early sign of water damage to your concrete floors is the appearance of small cracks along the flooring.
These initial cracks may be hard to spot so it is important to be very careful when inspecting floors to be sure one is inspecting close enough.
These cracks, if left unattended, will start to grow and worsen the problem as time goes on.
One of the most notable signs of concrete damage, and likely the first sign a homeowner will be able to notice is that of discolouration occurring with the concrete.
This will stand out because your once neat and tidy floors will be discolored and appear to be dirty upon first glance.
This is more than an eyesore however, if one notices this the damage is beginning and there still can be a chance to keep your concrete floor stable.
Acting quickly when one first notices this is very important.
Mold will be noticeable due to its smell and appearance, this is a late-stage sign of concrete damage and means that the floors have already suffered quite a lot.
Leaving a moldy concrete floor to sit will only let the mold spread and ruin more portions of the concrete and spread further in your home.
The best course of action at this point is to call a professional if there are obvious large signs of mold damage, they are equipped with the knowledge and equipment necessary to save your floor from further damage.
Common Causes of Concrete Floor Water Damage
Most modern homes have a complicated system of tubes and pipes that transport water through the home.
If any of these run through your concrete floor and become ruptured, this water may end up soaking into your concrete floors and damaging it.
Obviously, a leaking pipe underneath your floor can lead to many other issues, particularly an uptick in your water bill, so making sure that your piping is running smoothly is paramount.
Using Poor Upkeep Methods
Some people like to clean their concrete floors with ammonia or bleach. These products are extremely abrasive and can cause damage by slowly deteriorating the exterior.
Also if your basement is unheated, in places with very harsh winters sodium chloride should be avoided when cleaning ice or frost from the concrete. These salts cause chipping in concrete if not used correctly.
In places where there are risks of flooding, the risk for external flooding damaging your concrete floors is extremely high.
When severe weather causes a nearby body of water to flood, concrete floors will be subjected to massive amounts of water and dirt.
When the amount of water that a concrete floor takes in is exceeds the amount that it could soak, it leads to water damage.
Concrete floor water damage can be traced back to a variety of factors. The most common cause of concrete floor water damage is cracking.
Your floor may be cracked thanks to a root growing underneath your basement, dropping something heavy on your floor, or even problems with piping beneath the floor.
When your floor is cracked like this, it makes it easier for moisture and soot to settle into your foundation and damage it.
How to Dry Concrete Floor After Water Leak
After a water leak, immediate action is necessary to dry your concrete floors. The longer that you wait, the more likely it is for your concrete floors to sustain water damage over time.
To effectively clean your water damaged concrete floor, which may require the following steps and a dehumidifier:
- Remove standing water
- Install a dehumidifier and dehumidify surrounding area
For a small water leak, that is all that is likely necessary to dry, but you must act quickly.
A concrete floor that is soaked is likely to require some extra steps:
- Open any windows and allow a large amount of air to circulate
- Remove as much water as you can to ensure that you concrete is not as soaked as before.
- Purchase or rent fans and dehumidifiers to evaporate any water that may have been left over from the initial drying process
- Remove debris from the area, as it is likely to have soaked any moisture and could prolong the process
You should allow the dehumidifier to run extensively, as it is largely useless if it does not have enough time to remove water.
If there is flooring above your Concrete Subfloor…
If you are wondering how to remove moisture out of a concrete subfloor without removing flooring above it, there are not many options…
It would be recommended to always Remove your Flooring if you suspect there is water stuck between the flooring and your concrete subfloor. This can cause mold growth if the moisture is not removed fast enough and Promptly.
If you are certain there isn’t much moisture trapped, again, a Dehumidifier and enough ventilation should be used to dry your concrete subfloor.
A dehumidifier will suck any moisture out of the air and surrounding area so that it does not exacerbate the creation of mold. To do so, you must place the dehumidifier near the area that Is most affected.
Many times, a dehumidifier is not enough to fully clear out any moisture that is left on the subfloor.
To speed up the process, you need to purchase fans that circulate the air around it!
When fans and dehumidifiers are placed around the subfloor, it will evaporate any water that is left there and dry out your subfloors.
Once your floor is dried out, it is extremely important to not remove the dehumidifiers and allow for enough air to circulate so that there is no way that moisture could fester in your concrete subfloors.
Again, it’s always best to actually remove the flooring to promptly dry the concrete subfloor under it!
How Long Does a Concrete Floor Take to Dry Out?
Concrete floors are notoriously difficult to dry out because the material is much less porous than other materials used to construct floors.
However, the source and magnitude of water damaged concrete floors determine how difficult it will be to dry out.
After a small leak…
After a small leak, you can expect your water damaged concrete floors to be dry after 24-48 hours.
This allows enough time for your dehumidifier and fans to carry any moisture out of your floor and for you to repair the leak that caused the water damage.
Depending on the size and number of dehumidifiers that you have present, the process could be sped up quite a bit.
After a Large Flood…
A large flood is the worst-case scenario for someone who wants to quickly fix the issue of their water damaged concrete floors.
To fix a water damaged concrete floor that became damaged from a flood, you can expect to wait a much longer time, as it may take a while to clean debris and remove any water that has become entrenched in the concrete floor.
This alone could take up to 24 hours, and may require the assistance of more heavy duty equipment or even a professional.
After this, it may be required to set up your dehumidifiers and fans up for 36-72 hours, depending on the magnitude of the water damage.
When Should I Call a Professional?
If there is a lot of water to remove, it’s important to remove it as quickly as possible and dry out your concrete floors as fast as possible.
If you don’t have the equipment needed for this, contacting a water damage restoration professional who will have industrial-grade equipment to collect large amounts of water might be your best bet.
Also After large floods, it may be necessary to call professionals if there is a large amount of electronics or other debris present at the site of the flood.
Removing this could be dangerous and may require assistance from trained professionals.
Another thing to consider is how advanced the presence of mold is in the affected floors.
Concrete floors that have a large mold infestation could also require the help of a professional.
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