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Laminate Flooring And Floods

Now that spring is sprung – well, almost sprung – flood season has arrived.  While just about everyone had a bad winter, the northeast, Midwest, and southeast were hit particularly hard.  As the snow melts, flooding becomes a bigger issue.  Here in northeast Ohio, our local rivers have already been flooded numerous times.  Our hearts go out to those who have suffered damages and losses from these floods or any areas around the country suffering from flooding issues at this time.

Recently, my parents had some flooding issues of their own.  A pipe leading from their kitchen sink down into their basement burst causing quite a mess on their basement floor.  They were alerted by their sump pump alarm so they were able to catch the issue right away and have the pipe repaired.  My mom asked me what I knew about water and laminate floors – as her laminate flooring in her basement was affected by this minor flood.  So here is the skinny on laminate flooring and floods!

Laminate flooring is made of high density fiberboard.  What’s that, right?  Yeah, I didn’t really know either so I looked it up.  Also called “hardboard”, high density fiberboard is an engineered wood product similar to particle board.  It’s used for heavier duty stuff like furniture…and laminate flooring, and it is very unlikely to break or crack.  However, it IS wood…and water plus wood equal damage.

In most cases, laminate flooring cannot be saved with flooding, but if you’ve got very little water and it’s not sewage type water, you may be able to clean it up quickly and save the flooring.  If water has gotten between the subfloor and the laminate flooring, though, you’re chances of saving the flooring decrease by about 100%.  (That’s code for call the insurance company stat!)  It’s just not made to take in water.  You can attempt to dry out laminate flooring, but most are unsuccessful.  It also ends up requiring more time and money than it would cost to replace it so it’s not worth the effort or funds.

I’m not sure if my mom opted to replace the floor or wing it since her water damage was minimal – literally less than a sink full of clean water.  But she did mention she had her restoration local rep clean out the part of the pipe that wasn’t replaced.  I guess it was caked with gunk because she tends to put things down the drain that do not belong there – which may have helped along the corrosion in her pipes.  Like mother, like daughter… 

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