Tips on How to Restore Your Water-Damaged Floor

Water damage can happen to any floor. Whether your pipes burst, your bathtub overfilled, or you've recently experienced storm damage, almost all flooring types can be damaged when fully saturated with water. When restoring your Florida home from water damage, repairing your floors should be among your top priorities. Be prepared, as it requires a lot of effort.

If you are looking at a rippled or buckling floor, Smart Floors is here to help with a quick guide on identifying and restoring your water-damaged floors.

Spot Water Damage on Different Floorings

How do you know if your floors are water damaged? Water damage looks different depending on the type of floor that is saturated. Wood will swell, laminate may warp, and even tile can crack or float when flooded.

Here's how to identify water damage by floor type:


Hardwood floors are the most susceptible to water because wood swells when wet. Sealed and cured hardwood may be water resistant, but most boards will swell if there has been flooding or even water damage in a specified area. 

Hardwood floors are the most susceptible to water because wood swells when wet. Sealed and cured hardwood may be water resistant, but most boards will swell if there has been flooding.

Signs of hardwood floor water damage include cupping when the edges curl up or crowning when the center of the board swells. You may notice discoloration and dark spots, but the most evident sign is buckling. Buckling occurs when two panels lift each other at the seam because both have increased size.


Laminate floors are made of layers of laminate and pressed wood. The wood in laminate board flooring is more water-resistant but will still swell if entirely saturated. You may notice signs of warping, cupping, splitting, and cracking. Laminate boards may begin to separate and swell at the edges but are less likely to buckle fully. In addition, watch out for signs and smells of mold.


When a tile floor is flooded, it may float or crack. This is caused by unpairing the tile from its supportive subfloor membrane below and the degradation of the grout in between holding your tiles in place. Signs of tile water damage include loose and moving tiles, hollow sounds, cracks, stains, and hidden mold underneath the lifted tiles.


Vinyl floors are water resistant, but if enough water floods the room, you will see moisture-filled bubbles beneath the floor. Water-damaged vinyl floors may appear discolored, bulgy, warped, or buckled.

Step 1: Stop the Leaks!

After identifying floor damage, the first step is to cut off the water source. You might have a leaky roof, a leaky pipe, or a leaky appliance. Whatever is causing water to flood your floors, make it stop. Turn off your water main and/or switch off local water valves. Have your roof inspected and your pipes repaired. Be aware of the risk of contamination, especially if flood water or sewage is involved.

Repair or Replace Water-Damaged Floors?

Should you replace or repair floors that have been water damaged? Occasionally, you can fix water-damaged floors with a few boards or tiles. Other times, it might be possible to reinstall most original materials. Generally, repairs are an option only if the damage was restricted to one area where the floor was exposed to water.

However, if the entire floor is saturated, there is a higher chance of needing the help of professionals to replace the water-damaged floor entirely.

Smart Floors - The Experts in Flooring

Has recent flooding, a broken pipe, or a leak caused water damage to your floors? Whether you need to replace a small section of your floor or refloor your entire space, Smart Floors makes your restorations swift and easy. Our efficient flooring technicians will remove all the water-damaged material and eliminate the risk of mold before your beautiful new floor goes in. We also offer dustless tile removal for tile floors, leaving your home clean with minimal cleanup. 

To explore your options for water-damaged floor restoration, contact us today!

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