Updated at: 17-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

Knowing how long it takes for wood to be harmed by water is critical for homeowners who want to avoid rot, devise remedies, and implement preventative measures. In most situations, the damage is immediate, but in rare instances, it may take hours for symptoms to appear. Please continue reading to learn more about the dangers of water damage and how it can affect wood surfaces, flooring, and furniture!

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

Water damage can have an immediate impact. Your property might be completely saturated within minutes if you have a water leak. Your carpets, walls, furniture, and other possessions are all at risk, too.

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

When it comes to water damage, wood is particularly vulnerable. When exposed to excessive quantities of moisture or water without adequate protection, it is a natural substance that is prone to decay and mold.

A mildew and mold growth will likely occur within the first two to seven days of exposure to damp and water. Swelling and warping of wooden floors, windowsills and doors will occur. Water-damaged wood floors can be contaminated with biohazards, thus it is important to fix them as soon as possible.

Immediate or long-term impacts are possible. Swelling, for example, might develop as soon as you discover water damage. However, some of the harmful consequences will not become apparent for several days or even weeks.

The structural damage, mold development, and biohazard contamination will pose major threats and risks to your family if the water damage persists for more than a week. There is a large increase in repair costs if restoration is delayed, since it would necessitate not just water damage repairs, but also cleaning.

It’s best to contact your lawyer or insurance provider as soon as you see water damage to verify whether or not it’s covered.

Is Wood Instantly Ruined After Getting Wet?

Water does not harm wood in any way. When wood is used for construction, it is usually treated to resist specific elements.

Recall that wood is still an organic substance. For long periods of time, prolonged exposure to excessive levels of moisture and water can lead to rotting and decomposition.

When the moisture content in the wood hits 20%, rot occurs. In order to keep your wooden floors and furniture from rotting, you need dry them off completely. You can use a dehumidifier to do this task.

What Happens To The Wood After Water Damage?

Without treatment or protection, wood is a natural substance that is vulnerable to both moisture and water. The wood will soften, rot, and disintegrate if it is exposed to water.

Mold growth and costly restoration operations can be the result of water compromising the wood’s structure. When the wood’s moisture level drops below the saturation point of its fibers, swelling or shrinkage occurs.

Wood finish can leave watermarks on furniture, which can look unsightly. Because of these dark watermarks, the finishing was compromised and water got through. Light watermarks on the wood surface reveal that the stain is still present.

How Does Water Damage Affect Different Types of Wood?

Water damage affects different types of wood in different ways. This variety is influenced by the fact that everybody has unique circumstances and qualities. Wood that has been damaged by water has a different reaction depending on the type of wood:


The browning and staining caused by water damage on hardwood is common. Inspect your flooring and nails for signs that they’ve been shifted. Taking care of them as soon as possible may be the greatest option because it could spread to other planks.


When it comes to water damage, softwood isn’t all that different from hardwood. It weighs less and is frequently less expensive to use in furniture and flooring.


Furniture and walls can be made from plywood. Glued together layers of wood are what most people don’t realize about it. Warping and disintegration are possible consequences of high moisture.


Another typical type of wood is particleboard. Cabinets and desks are the primary applications for this veneer, which is often coated to be water-resistant. Moisture can cause your particleboard to rot and deteriorate, resulting in long-term damage.

How Long Does Wood Dry After Water Damage?

The drying time varies according to a variety of conditions, but on average, it takes roughly 5 days. This ranges from a few hours in some cases to several weeks in others. Wood that is located in places with a high level of humidity tends to remain wet for a longer period of time.

Hiring a water damage expert can help speed up the drying process and minimize long-term damage by using industrial tools. As a reminder, drying out is just the beginning of the process of dealing with water damage in your home or business. There are a number of phases that follow this one..

What You Need to Know About Water Damaged Wood Floors:

Step One – Stop the Cause

After a flood in your home or workplace caused by ice dams, malfunctioning appliances, burst pipes, or another occurrence, you’re left with water-damaged wood floors. You must first and foremost stop the flow of water. Second, you must use fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers to dry the floors. Repair and refinish your floors as the final phase.

What happens to The Wood?

When water is allowed to soak into a hardwood floor, it can cause a phenomenon known as cupping, or swelling. As a result, the bottom of each board expands more rapidly than the top, causing the boards to swell unevenly. Wavy lines and elevated seams are the consequence of this process.

Step Two – Drying

When dealing with water-damaged floors, the most difficult part is waiting for the floors to dry out and get back to normal. If your floors are cupped like a washboard, they may smooth out with time and save you the expense of replacing them. Give your flooring contractor a call after a week of drying out your water-damaged hardwood floors. The contractor will do a moisture test, and based on the results, you may have to wait a few weeks for more testing.

Repair or refinishing can begin as soon as the moisture content of the damaged boards stabilizes and the moisture readings are consistent across the room. If the floor is sanded before it has had a chance to properly dry, you will be left with problems. This is the opposite of cupping, known as crowning.

Hardwood floor boards can rise up to 4-5 inches from the subfloor in severe water damage situations. In this case, it is likely that new flooring will be required. It is necessary to remove water-damaged wood floors and allow the area to dry completely before placing new flooring.

Step Three Repair, Replace and Refinish

The final step is to restore your wood flooring’ gloss and sheen. Hardwood flooring may simply require refinishing if the damage is minor. Prior to refinishing, patching may be necessary to replace damaged boards. When everything else fails, the floor must be completely removed and replaced.

Prevent Damage

There are instances when we have no control over the cause of water damage, but there are other situations when we may take easy efforts to avoid unintentional water damage from happening in the first place.

Clean up any water spills or pools of water on the floor as soon as possible. Take a dry cloth or mop to the area as soon as you notice any symptoms of moisture. Your floors will be less damaged if you act quickly.

Make sure your flooring are in good condition. Floors that have lost their polyurethane coating are more vulnerable to harm than those that have a layer of polyurethane on them. Maintenance coating may be found on this page.

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 advised since it can hold too much liquid in its handle. When washing wood floors, be careful not to use too much water because the grain in the wood will soak it up.

Your plumbing and fittings should be checked. Ensure that your plumbing is in good working condition by keeping an eye on it and consulting an expert if you have any doubts. Appliances should be installed by a trained specialist at all times.

When you’re away, ask a friend or neighbor to check on your house to make sure the heat is working properly and that there aren’t any other problems. The water main to your home should be shut off if you are going to be gone for a lengthy period of time.

Here is a video that explains what happens to hardwood floors when they are damaged by water.

How Much Does Floor Repair Cost?

It costs an average of $350 to fix a piece of flooring. If the damage goes beyond the surface, the surface may need to be pulled up and replaced, which can greatly raise the cost. As an example, a small portion of floorboards can cost as little as $500, whereas floor joist restoration can cost as much as $5,000 to $10,000.

If you’ve just discovered damage to your flooring, you’re probably wondering if it’s better to fix or replace it. Many elements come into play when it comes to determining whether or not you should hire a flooring installation business to help fix the problems. We’ll show you how much money you’ll need to spend on flooring repairs or replacements and what to look out for while shopping for new flooring.

The COVID-19 epidemic resulted in an extreme labor shortage in the first half of 2021. Materials and construction occupations are in high demand as a result. As a result, the prices of materials may be higher and the lead times for both labor and materials may be longer than typical.

Average Cost to Repair Flooring*

Cost to Repair Floors: Surface, Subfloors and Joists

Surface Repair Cost

It’s best to fix your floor if the only damage is superficial than to replace it. An inexpensive, quick fix for minor damage, such as scratches, sun fading, and minor water damage, can be done for as little as $3 to $5 per square foot, while a full replacement of a few boards can cost as much as $200, depending on the number of boards that need to be replaced.

Surface Repair Cost Comparison*

Subfloor Repair Cost

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

Exactly what do you mean by the term “subflooring”? Underlayment is the flooring that is installed beneath your actual flooring to provide stability and produce an even surface. It is commonly constructed of PCB or plywood. In most cases, water damage to the subfloor is caused by leaks (think appliances or plumbing), fissures in the flooring or the exterior of your property, or high humidity.

Repairing a subfloor might cost anything from $500 to $750 per room. The cost of a new one is more like $2,500.

Cost to Repair Subfloor*

Joist Repair Cost

If your home has been severely damaged by water or pests such as termites, you may need to rebuild your joists.

What do you mean by the term “joists”? The subfloor is supported by joists, which are horizontal boards. They were put in when your house was being built.

Solid boards like these are bolted to a wall sill, which is a long piece of wood that runs parallel to the wall. A damaged joist should be repaired as soon as possible since they are crucial to the structural integrity of a home.

There are two key reasons why the cost of floor joist restoration varies so much: When you have a contractor working in your basement or crawl space, they’ll be able to access your broken floor joists and avoid having to replace the flooring on top of them.

To begin with, repairing existing sister floor joists is much less expensive than completely replacing them. Sistering is the practice of affixing a second joist to a damaged one in order to provide additional structural support. Compared to replacing the original joists, this restoration costs between $100 and $300 per joist.

High-end work that involves the use of lifts is the most expensive option for replacing joists. You should never undertake this technique on your own. It is extremely difficult and dangerous, and you should never attempt it with steel jacks.

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

Floor Leveling Cost

Hard surface flooring, such as hardwood and tile, frequently need leveling. To avoid uneven flooring, you need to make sure your floor is leveled.

A concrete-like liquid self-leveling substance can sometimes be used to fix the issue. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this DIY endeavor, which costs between $0.50 and $1.50 per pound. However, you’ll still need to replace the floor that sits on top of this.

Because floor joist problems can be so problematic, it’s advisable to see an engineer with experience in structural engineering for more serious difficulties. Sistering the joists may be all that is needed to level the floor joists. It is estimated that each floor joist will cost between $100 and $300 to be sistered.

The supporting structure may be decaying, in which case the shims must be replaced, which is a considerably more significant task. Similar or identical to the cost of installing new floor joists, this type of repair costs between $6,000 and $10,000 per room.

Sagging Floor Repair Cost

Compared to leveling, the expense of fixing a sagging floor is similar because sagging is a prevalent cause of uneven floors.

Water damage, rotting and disintegration of the subfloor and/or floor joists, or even a problem with the home’s foundation can cause sagging. Sagging can occur. Sagging in the subfloor is a simple and inexpensive DIY job that can be completed in a few hours.

A higher price tag is associated with larger issues, and this depends on where the problem originates. Talk to a competent contractor or structural engineer about the sagging floor repair cost if you’re concerned about the source and depth of the problem.


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

It’s possible that if you’re confident in your abilities and have experience with this type of project, you can undertake this task on your own. However, even the smallest of tasks must be completed correctly to avoid unsightly flooring.

A contractor may be necessary if the floor damage is evident and frequented by many people. A professional is the best choice for any problem with subflooring or deeper layers like floor joists, as these jobs can have a significant impact on the structural stability of your home.

How much does it cost to fix squeaky floors?

Start by figuring out what’s causing the squeaking. There are a few common causes of squeaky floors: uneven subflooring, shoddy workmanship, and water damage.

Foundation settlement, which is common with older homes, can also be a significant factor. Between $200 to $1,000 is the average cost to remedy a squeaky floor.

Should I refinish or replace my hardwood floors?

The decision to refinish or replace your flooring is a difficult one that extends much beyond the expense of the project. Deep gashes, buckling or splitting boards cannot be repaired by refinishing, even if the surface is extensively scuffed. Repair or replacement may be the best course of action in certain situations.

It’s also a good idea to think about how satisfied you are with the flooring you currently have. If you have oak flooring throughout your home but crave a sleek, dark, and ultra-modern style, your money will be better spent replacing the floor and enjoying it for many years to come.

What do I do if my wood has water damage?

Let it lay in the sun for at least 24 hours instead of using a hairdryer or blower to eliminate the moisture from the hair. Furniture should be dried thoroughly but not too rapidly, as drying too quickly might cause the wood to break or move.

Can you treat water damaged wood?

What You Need to Know About Water Damage Repair In order to begin, you must first remove any rotten timber that can no longer be salvaged. You can use auto filler putty to fill in the sections that have been cut out. Just be sure that you can press the putty all the way into the hole you just made.

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

Damage caused by water Up to seven days within 48 hours: They will expand and distort and metal will begin to rust, and wood flooring will be affected.

Does water damaged wood need to be replaced?

Even if the damage is slight, sanding and repainting the entire floor and replacing the damaged boards may be enough to save the floor. The entire floor, and often even the subfloor, may have to be rebuilt if the damage is serious or extensive enough to cause significant expansion.

How do you remove moisture from wood?

Water Stains on Wood: 5 Ways to Remove Them A device for drying hair. Use the lowest heat setting on your hair dryer and aim it at the water ring. Mayonnaise or petroleum jelly can be used. Use a soft cloth to apply a small amount of each material to the spot, and then rub it in circular motions. Toothpaste. It is made of stainless steel. Products sold over the counter.

Can water damaged hardwood floors be repaired?

To save money and avoid having to replace your hardwood floors, it is best to clean up four gallons of water and remove the white water stain yourself if the damage is minor.

What happens when wood absorbs water?

Wood expands when the humidity in the air rises because it absorbs moisture. The wood releases water into the air when the humidity drops, causing the wood to shrink.

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

The headphone jack, charging port, and physical buttons should be gently shaken to remove any water that may have accumulated. If there is any water left on the phone’s outside after this, completely dry it with a dry cloth, toilet paper, or paper napkins.

How do you fix a water damaged pressboard?

Step-by-step instructions for repairing water damage to particle board Clean up the puddles. Sand the elevated region using a sandpaper to remove any imperfections. Use a knife to remove any damaged sections of the board. Fill up the holes with wood filler. To complete the repair, sand the area. 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?

Water is the primary cause of wood degradation, as explained in the article “Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries.” A consequence of this is that buildings should be designed to optimize the rate at which wet wood dries or to decrease the rate at which it is wet by rain.

How long can furniture sit in water before being ruined?

Furniture that can’t be fixed should be taken apart as soon as possible and the pieces that can be salvaged should be transferred to a dry location. Mold, bacteria, and other pollutants can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours of water damage.

How do you get rid of water under floorboards?

Laminate Flooring That’s Wet Under the Surface. Remove any quarter-round (shoe molding) or baseboards around the perimeter if a tiny amount of water has leaked toward the flooring’s margins. A wet-dry vacuum might be able to get rid of the water if it’s not everywhere. The contaminated flooring should be removed as soon as possible.

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

Cost of Water Damage Restoration for Hardwood Floors From $8 to $50 per square foot, water-damaged floors can be repaired. It is included in this pricing to make any necessary repairs or replacements to the boards and to blend them into the existing room. If the water damage is extensive, it is more expensive to repair it than to replace the floor.

How to Repair Water Damaged Wood in 7 Simple Steps

Do I need to replace water damaged subfloor?

Subfloor and Floor Damaged to the Point of No Return Swollen or raised floors can be a sign of water damage in the subfloors. When trodden on, they may also feel mushy or soft. It’s usually advisable to replace damaged subflooring, especially if mold is growing on it.

Does baking soda remove moisture from wood?

You can use baking soda to help remove moisture from wood by liberally dousing the furniture. Place furniture in a bathroom with a dehumidifier to dry it out.

How long does wood take to dry inside?

The amount of time it takes for wood to dry varies depending on the species. According to Wood Splitters Direct, softwoods take 6-8 months to split, while hardwoods might take up to two years.

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

Staining and discolouration are two telltale symptoms that your wood flooring has been harmed by water. It buckled because of the cupping and the wetness. Removing screws from their sockets. Lifting the floor joists. Growth of mold.

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

Typical costs for hardwood floor refinishing range from $1,074 to $2,485, with the national average costing $1,757. Materials and labor are included in this price range of $3 to $8 per square foot. Refinishing hardwood floors costs about 80% of the total cost because of the amount of time it takes to complete the task.

What do you do if your wood floor gets wet?

Drying Hardwood Floors in Your Own Home Using These DIY Tips Items that have been soaked should be removed. To remove as much water as possible, use a wet vacuum. Scrub the hardwood floor’s surface with a non-sudsy disinfectant before refinishing. Put a dehumidifier in the middle of the room and crank it all the way up.


One of the most upsetting things that may happen to a homeowner is water damage to their home or possessions. For individuals with wooden floors and furnishings, water damage is even more devastating.

If you’re one of these people, it’s probably advisable to prepare yourself by learning as much as you can about the subject. When it comes to water damage, it’s important to know how long it takes for wood to be affected before it’s permanently ruined!