Updated at: 30-08-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

When it comes to avoiding rot, coming up with treatments, and taking preventative measures, knowing how long it takes for wood to be damaged by water is crucial. There is usually instant injury, although occasionally the effects won’t be seen for a few hours. Keep reading to find out how water can wreak havoc on your wooden floors, furniture, and cabinets.

How Long Will It Take For Wood To Get Water Damaged?

As soon as water enters a structure, it can start to do harm. If you have a water leak, your home or business could be soaked in a matter of minutes. Your belongings, like your carpets, walls, and furniture, are also in danger.

How to Deal With Water Damage to Your Wood Floors | Orange Blog

A lot of harm can be done by water to wood. It is a natural substance, thus it will degrade and mold if it is exposed to too much water or moisture without proper protection.

Typically, mildew and mold will begin to spread in the second to seventh day after being exposed to moisture and humidity. Hardwood floors, window and door frames will swell and distort. Repairing water-damaged wood flooring promptly is crucial because of the potential for biohazard contamination.

Effects could be short- or long-lasting. As soon as you detect water damage, you may notice symptoms such as swelling. Some of the negative effects, though, won’t show up for a few days or weeks.

If the water damage lasts more than a week, your home is at serious risk due to structural damage, mold growth, and biohazard contamination. When restoration is put off, the cost to fix the water damage and clean up goes up significantly.

If you see water damage, it’s important to check with your insurance company or attorney right once to see if the repairs will be reimbursed.

Is Wood Instantly Ruined After Getting Wet?

Wood is completely safe from water damage. For the most part, treated wood is employed in construction because of its durability against certain environmental conditions.

It’s important to keep in mind that wood is, after all, a natural material. Decomposition and rotting can set in after extended exposure to high levels of moisture and water.

Rot sets in when the wood’s moisture content reaches 20 percent. Wooden flooring and furniture need to be dried thoroughly to prevent decay. A dehumidifier can help you with this.

What Happens To The Wood After Water Damage?

Wood is a natural material that is easily damaged by water and moisture if it is not treated or protected. Exposed to water, the wood will soften, rot, and eventually disintegrate.

If the wood’s structure is compromised by water, mold development and expensive repairs may ensue. Wood expands or contracts when its moisture content rises above or falls below the saturation threshold of its fibers.

Watermarks on furniture with a wood finish are an eyesore. The waterproofing was damaged due to these black watermarks. The stain is still there, as seen by the faint watermarks on the wood’s surface.

How Does Water Damage Affect Different Types of Wood?

It depends on the type of wood as to how it reacts to water. The fact that each person has their own set of experiences and characteristics contributes to this diversity. The reactivity of water-damaged wood varies with the type of wood involved:


Water damage frequently leaves hardwood with a brownish tinge and a stained appearance. Look for evidence of movement in the flooring or nails. Taking care of them as soon as possible may be the greatest option because it could spread to other planks.


Water damage frequently leaves hardwood with a brownish tinge and a stained appearance. Look for evidence of movement in the flooring or nails. Taking care of them as soon as possible may be the greatest option because it could spread to other planks.


Browning and staining of hardwood floors from water damage is rather prevalent. Look for moved floorboards and nicked fingernails. Because it is possible for it to spread to other planks, getting rid of them as soon as possible may be the best solution.


Wood particleboard is another common wood product. This veneer is typically treated to make it water resistant, and it is primarily used for cabinets and desks. When particleboard is exposed to moisture, it rots and degrades, causing permanent harm.

How Long Does Wood Dry After Water Damage?

Drying times might range from a few days to a week or more depending on the weather and other factors. This can be as short as an hour or as long as a few weeks. Wood that is located in places with a high level of humidity tends to remain wet for a longer period of time.

What You Need to Know About Water Damaged Wood Floors:

Step One – Stop the Cause

Drying times are conditional, but on average you can count on at least 5 days. Timeframes might vary from a few hours to several weeks. Wood in high-humidity environments stays wet for far longer than wood elsewhere.

What happens to The Wood?

Swelling, or cupping, occurs when water is allowed to soak into a hardwood floor. This causes the boards to inflate unevenly, with the bottom expanding more quickly than the top. The results of this procedure are visible as raised seams and undulating lines.

Step Two – Drying

The hardest part of cleaning up water damage to your floor is waiting for it to dry so you can put your furniture back on it. There is a chance that your washboard-like floors can flatten out over time and be repaired rather than replaced. Water-damaged hardwood floors should be dried for a week before contacting a flooring professional. A moisture test will be performed by the contractor, and depending on the results, you may have to wait a few weeks before any more evaluations are conducted.

Once the moisture content of the damaged boards has stabilized and the moisture readings are consistent across the room, repairs or refinishing can commence. Avoid sanding the floor until it is completely dry; else, you’ll end up with difficulties. Crowning is the opposite of cupping.

In extreme cases of water damage, hardwood floor planks may float four to five inches off the subfloor. In this circumstance, it is highly recommended to install new flooring. Wood floors that have been damaged by water must be removed and the subfloor allowed to dry fully before replacement flooring can be installed.

Step Three Repair, Replace and Refinish

Restoring the wood floor’s luster and sheen is the final stage. If the damage to the hardwood floor is small, it may only need to be refinished. Patching may be required to repair damaged boards before refinishing. When all other options have been exhausted, it is necessary to remove and replace the floor.

Prevent Damage

While there are some cases in which we can do nothing to prevent water damage, there are also times when we may take simple precautions to limit the possibility of accidental flooding.

As soon as you notice a water spill or puddle forming on the floor, be sure to mop it up. As soon as you detect any signs of wetness, dry the surface with a dry cloth or mop. If you respond soon, the harm to your floors will be minimalized.

Maintain a high standard of flooring care. Damage is more likely to occur on floors that no longer have a protective polyurethane covering. This page contains information about repair varnish.

Do My Wood Floors Have Water Damage? - Kade

Never use too much water or cleaning solution when cleaning your flooring. A string mop is not recommended since the handle can accumulate too much water. Wood floors should be washed with care, as the grain will absorb excess water.

How Much Does Floor Repair Cost?

When washing floors, you should never use too much water or cleaning solution. String mops are not recommended since the handle can accumulate too much water. Wood floors should be washed with care because the grain will absorb excess water.

In the first part of 2021, there was a severe scarcity of workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a significant need for those skilled in the areas of materials and construction. This could mean longer lead times for both labor and materials and higher material costs.

Average Cost to Repair Flooring*

Cost to Repair Floors: Surface, Subfloors and Joists

Surface Repair Cost

If the damage to your floor is simply cosmetic, it is more cost-effective to have it repaired rather than replaced. Minor damage can be repaired for as low as $3 to $5 per square foot, but a full replacement of a few boards can cost as much as $200. This includes things like scratches, sun fading, and minor water damage.

Surface Repair Cost Comparison*

Subfloor Repair Cost

You should expect a significant rise in expenditures if the subflooring is damaged.

You could expect a large spike in expenses if the subflooring is harmed.

Cost to Repair Subfloor*

Joist Repair Cost

In the event of damage to the subflooring, you can anticipate a substantial increase in costs.

Please explain what you mean by the phrase “joists.” The joists are the horizontal boards that hold up the flooring. They were installed at the time your house was constructed.

These solid planks are bolted to a wall sill, a long piece of wood installed perpendicular to the wall. Since joists are essential to a building’s stability, any damage to one must be fixed without delay.

The high variance in floor joist restoration costs can be attributed to two primary factors: You can save money by not replacing the flooring on top of damaged floor joists if you hire a contractor to work in your basement or crawl space.

At first, fixing up the existing sister floor joists is a lot cheaper than replacing them. It is common practice to “sister” two healthy joists together to reinforce a weaker one. This restoration can save you between $100 and $300 per joist, which is a significant amount when compared to the cost of replacing the original joists.

The most costly option for replacing joists is high-end work that requires the use of lifts. The only time you should try this method is with a trained professional. Don’t even think about attempting it with steel jacks; it’s too risky and difficult.

Floor Joist Repair Cost for a 500-Square-Foot Room

Floor Leveling Cost

Hardwood and tile floors, in particular, are notorious for being uneven. Having an uneven floor is a safety hazard, so make sure your floor is even.

Sometimes the problem can be fixed by applying a liquid self-leveling solution that has the same properties as concrete. This do-it-yourself project is cheap, costing about $0.50 to $1.50 per pound. It is necessary to replace the floor above this, though.

Because of the complexity of floor joist issues, a structural engineer should be consulted for more serious concerns. Perhaps all that’s needed to get the floor joists level is a little sistering. Sistering a floor joist is expected to cost anything from $100 to $300 per joist.

If the supporting structure is rotting, then the shims will need to be changed, which is a much more involved project. Repairing this issue will run you between $6,000 and $10,000 per room, which is comparable to the price of replacing new floor joists.

Sagging Floor Repair Cost

For the same reason that sagging is such a common source of uneven flooring, the cost to repair it is comparable to that of leveling.

Sagging can be caused by water damage, rot and disintegration of the subfloor and/or floor joists, and even foundational issues. Sagging is a possibility. Repairing sagging in the subfloor is a quick, cheap, and straightforward DIY project.

Larger problems typically come with a heftier price tag, though this might vary depending on the source of the issue. If you are worried about the origin and severity of the sinking floor, you should consult with a qualified contractor or structural engineer.


Should I repair my floor on my own or hire a professional?

If you’re competent and have done similar work before, you might be able to do this assignment on your own. However, it is important to remember that even the slightest details matter when it comes to preventing flooring from being unattractive.

If the floor damage is noticeable and the area is heavily used, it may be time to call in a professional. Subflooring and deeper layers, such as floor joists, are best handled by a contractor because any damage to them can compromise the integrity of your home’s framework.

How much does it cost to fix squeaky floors?

Get to the bottom of the squeaking first. Uneven subflooring, poor craftsmanship, and water damage are frequent reasons of noisy floors.

Settlement of the foundation, frequent in older homes, might also play a role. Repairing a squeaky floor often costs anywhere from $200 to $1,000.

Should I refinish or replace my hardwood floors?

In addition to the financial investment, several other factors must be considered when deciding whether to refinish or replace your flooring. Boards with deep gashes, buckling, or splitting cannot be fixed by refinishing, no matter how heavily they have been scratched. The appropriate course of action depends on the circumstances, but it might be either repair or replacement.

It’s also wise to evaluate how happy you are with your current flooring. If you want to give your home a sleek, dark, and ultra-modern look but your floors are oak, you’re better off spending the money to replace the floor.

What do I do if my wood has water damage?

Instead of using a hair drier or blow dryer to remove excess moisture from your hair, let it sit out in the sun for at least 24 hours. In order to prevent cracking or warping, drying furniture slowly is recommended.

Can you treat water damaged wood?

Tips for Fixing Water Damage Starting out requires the removal of any rotted or otherwise unusable wood. Auto filler putty can be used to repair any holes left by your cutting. Please make sure the putty will fit completely into the hole you have created.

How long does it take for water damage to show on wood?

Water-related destruction Within 48 hours, you can get up to seven days: Wooden floors and metal fixtures will rust, and they’ll expand and deform.

Does water damaged wood need to be replaced?

It is possible that the floor can be salvaged by sanding it down, giving it a new coat of paint, and replacing the damaged boards. Depending on the severity of the damage and the extent of the expansion, it may be necessary to replace the subfloor as well as the floor.

How do you remove moisture from wood?

Ways to Get Rid of Water Marks on Wood What it sounds like: a blow dryer for your hair. Turn your hair dryer’s heat setting all the way down and direct it at the water ring. Choose between mayonnaise or petroleum jelly. Apply a tiny amount of each substance to the affected area using the soft cloth, and gently rub in circular motions. Toothpaste. All of the metal parts are corrosion-resistant stainless steel. Over-the-counter meds.

Can water damaged hardwood floors be repaired?

If the damage to your hardwood floors is minimal, you can save money by cleaning up the four gallons of water and removing the white water stain on your own.

What happens when wood absorbs water?

Wood absorbs moisture from the air and swells when relative humidity rises. When relative humidity drops, wood loses moisture and contracts.

How do you get rid of water damage on a phone?

Shaking the device can help get rid of any water that has settled in the headphone jack, charging port, or on the device’s physical buttons. After this, wipe the exterior of the phone dry with a dry cloth, toilet paper, or paper napkins if any water remains.

How do you fix a water damaged pressboard?

Instructions on how to fix particle board that has been damaged by water. Get rid of those puddles! Remove any flaws from the raised area by sanding with sandpaper. Any ruined pieces of the board can be cut away using a knife. Fill the holes with wood filler. Sand the damaged area to finish the repair. Conclusion.

How long does it take for wood to rot through?

Oxygen, the appropriate temperature (usually between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit), moisture, and “food” are all part of this equation (wood, in this case). Dry rot spores can germinate seven to ten days after the wood has grown sufficiently moist, according to research conducted in the lab.

Does water make wood rot?

Oxygen, the appropriate temperature (usually between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit), moisture, and “food” are all part of this equation (wood, in this case). Dry rot spores can germinate seven to ten days after the wood has grown sufficiently moist, according to research conducted in the lab.

How long can furniture sit in water before being ruined?

This includes oxygen, the right temperature (often between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit), adequate moisture, and “food” (wood, in this case). The spores of dry rot can sprout seven to ten days after the wood has become sufficiently damp, according to laboratory research.

How do you get rid of water under floorboards?

Laminate Floors With Hidden Water. If water has seeped somewhat toward the flooring’s edges, remove any quarter-round (shoe molding) or baseboards around the perimeter. If the water isn’t spread out everywhere, a wet-dry vacuum might be able to remove it. Quickly removing the tainted flooring is essential.

How much does it cost to replace water damaged wood floors?

Restoration of Hardwood Floors After Water Damage There is a price range of $8 to $50 per square foot for fixing floors that have been damaged by water. Fixing or replacing damaged boards and painting them to match the rest of the room are included in the quoted price. In the event of severe water damage, it may be more cost-effective to replace the flooring altogether.

How to Repair Water Damaged Wood in 7 Simple Steps

Do I need to replace water damaged subfloor?

Damage to subfloor and floor is irreparable. Water damage in the subfloors can cause floors to swell or rise. Additionally, they may have a mushy or soft underfoot feel. If mold is present, it is especially important to replace the subfloor if it is damaged.

Does baking soda remove moisture from wood?

Applying a thick layer of baking soda might aid in the process of drying out wood furniture. When you need to dry off any furniture, bring it into the bathroom and run the dehumidifier.

How long does wood take to dry inside?

There is a wide range of species-specific drying times for wood. Wood Splitters Direct estimates that splitting softwoods takes 6-8 months and hardwoods could take up to two years.

How can you tell if a wood floor is water damaged?

Water damage to your wood flooring will manifest as staining and discoloration. Due to the cupping and the dampness, it buckled. Pulling screws out of their holes. In this case, we’ll be raising the floor joists. Mould development.

What is the average cost to sand and refinish hardwood floors?

Wood floor restoration costs an average of $1,757 but can run as high as $2,485. These costs of $3 to $8 per square foot include everything needed to complete the job. In terms of cost, the time required to refinish hardwood floors accounts for roughly 80%.

What do you do if your wood floor gets wet?

You can dry your hardwood floors at home with these do-it-yourself tricks. The contents of a flooded room should be thrown out. Utilize a moist vacuum to extract as much liquid as feasible. Before refinishing, sanitize the hardwood floor’s surface with a non-soapy cleaner. Place a dehumidifier in the room’s center and turn it up to its highest setting.


Damage to a home or its contents caused by water is among the most distressing problems a homeowner can face. Water damage is especially catastrophic for people who have wooden flooring and furniture.

If you fall into this category, arming oneself with as much knowledge as possible about the topic is perhaps your best course of action. Knowing how long wood can be exposed to water before it is irreparably damaged is crucial.