Hardwood floors should last a long time, but there are occasionally situations that can cut a floor's life tragically short. If you are in one of these situations, it still might be possible to save your floor. It might take some hard work, but an afternoon of work is worth it if you can save your floor.
As with any flood damage restorations, the key to keeping your now soaked hardwood floor is to get it dry as soon as possible. Fans, dehumidifiers, and an open window are all tools in your arsenal for getting this done. In order to prevent damage from swelling, it is often a good idea to remove a couple of strips of flooring from the center of the room. This will give the remaining boards space to expand and will allow you to determine how much water is remaining beneath the surface. If it is still very wet underneath the floorboards, you may wish to pull up all the flooring and let them dry that way. If the underside doesn't dry quickly enough, mold will set in and there will be little you can do to save the floor.
You should wait several months before attempting to refinish the floor. It can actually take that long to get all the excess moisture out of the wood so that its shape will not continue to change after you sand down and refinish the floor. If you are working with a contractor, they will use a moisture meter to determine when the floor is ready, but you can simply wait for the drying action of the winter heating season to ensure everything is back to normal. From there, simple sand and refinish as normal.
If there isn't enough support under a wood floor it will warp. This can come from an inadequate subfloor, or floor joists that are too far apart. The effect is a floor that looks more like rolling hills than a flat plain. If this is your problem, then you are going to have to pull up the boards and address the underlying issue.
If the boards themselves are fine, then all you need to do is reinstall them once you have strengthened the sub floor. If they've been damaged as well, you will have a tougher job ahead of you. You may end up replacing slats that are badly damaged, and only keeping sections of floor that are still laying flat.
Carpet (Over a Hardwood Floor)
If you discover a beautiful hardwood floor underneath some old carpet, you are probably going to want to tear out the carpet and allow your newly discovered treasure to shine. This is very doable if you are willing to be patient and patiently remove all the adhesive, nails, and staples that held down the carpet.
Once you have removed the large sections of carpet and padding, it is time to get down to the business of cleaning up the wood floor. Use a paint scraper to get rid of as much adhesive as possible, before using adhesive remover to clean away the rest. A pair of pliers and a crowbar will be your weapon of choice against the many tacks, staples, and nails that were used to attach the carpet. From there, simply sand and refinish to get the hardwood floor of your dreams.
In the end, you may decide the floor isn't worth saving, but you have now made a decision that ways the pros and cons of all your options- replacing your floor isn't your only option. If you do decide to do the work, then you may end up with a beautifully repaired wood floor to use for as long as you wish. If you do need to replace your flooring, however, visit sites like http://www.nationalcarpetmilloutlet.com for information on options.