Can we save this floor?

stephsgardenAugust 20, 2012

DH and I have been refinishing our kitchen, totally DIY, since last Fall. We were about 95% done, and DH was putting in the sink when disaster hit. I'll skip the details and just tell you that we learned the hard way that our kitchen was plumbed by bypassing the shut off valve at the house. The floors are (were) brand new red oak engineered floating click lock, with a plywood (not MDF) core. The underlayment is silent blue, which is foam with foil on the back--no paper or felt. We shop vac's and dried the floors immediately after the fire dept left (long story, but even they had trouble shutting off the water to our house), and the damage restoration people were there walling off the area with plastic sheeting and setting up fans and dehumidifiers within a few hours. They were pretty confident they could save the floor as most of the water was cleaned up quickly. Per their instruction, we stayed out of the area as much as possible. So no one noticed until this morning, when they came back to get new moisture readings, that the dehumidifiers were not plugged in. I don't see any cupping or buckling (yet), but it looks like the finish on the ends of sides of some planks is wrinkling or looks puckered. I only notice this when I look at the floor at an angle. The moisture reading they took today were not good. I am just sick about this whole situation. The restoration folks are coming back tomorrow to take new readings, and we have another company, recommended by our insurance broker, coming for a second opinion. I don't want to replace the floor unless we have to, because I am so tired of having our house torn apart from renovations. The flooring goes under the new cabinets, so they would have to be removed if the flooring is replaced. At the same time, I don't want to waste time and money trying to fix floor that is not salvagable or that will only cause us problems down the road. Any advice?

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I am surprised that your new cabinets sit atop the floating floor. Are you sure that is what the flooring manufacturer recommends?

As for this water event and your new is probably a total loss and will have to be pulled out and replaced.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:26PM
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Actually never thought about what the flooring manufacturer recommended. If furniture and appliances can sit on a floor, why not cabinets? We toyed with the idea of putting the cabinets on plywood and tiling or laying floor around them, but even if we had done that before our little flood, we would still have to remove the cabinets to remove the wet ply from underneath. If we take up the floor, what would you recommend putting under the cabinets?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Your flooring manufacturer may say that it is OK to place cabinets on their floating product; what do they recommend? Perhaps your insurance adjuster or restoration contractor may have a differing opinion about the necessity of removing the cabinets, but removal is probably your only option, due to the fact that it is floating over the silent blue foam.

If the manufacturer says that cabinets must not sit on the flooring, then any exterior plywood panel of the same thickness as your flooring...or any other material that won't disintegrate when exposed to water (a cementious panel, such as that made by the James Hardie) would be acceptable. If the manufacturer says that cabinets can sit on your flooring (which I doubt is true), then no filler material would be needed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 6:05PM
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Thanks. This was a tough lesson to learn about hardwood floors and water. After three kitchens with wood floors, I think we will be switching to tile. We will see what the adjuster says.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:46AM
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"I think we will be switching to tile. "

Walking on tile is like walking on concrete.

There is NO 'give' in the floor any more.

"If furniture and appliances can sit on a floor, why not cabinets? "

Furniture and appliances are not normally rigidly fastened in place like cabinets (even lowers should be attached to the wall).

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:30AM
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Stephsgarden - I saw your post on the kitchens board. I really expect that your insurance company will pay to replace everything. Wait and see what they say.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 12:43PM
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