How Flooding Can Damage Your Floors | Flooring HQ

How Flooding Can Damage Your Floors

Mold can grow on any floor where there’s been excess moisture
Read Time: 5 minutes
Oct 17, 2022

No matter what type of floor you have, flooding can cause some damage. Even the most waterproof of floors isn’t necessarily capable of withstanding the amount of water that could come in during a flood. Floridians especially may need to be aware of what kind of damage flooding could cause due to the annual hurricanes that sweep through the state.

Flooring Type #1

How Flooding Can Damage Wood Floors

Hardwood floors are beautiful, but they can take a lot of damage from flooding. This is because water is so easily absorbed into the wood. But what damage can actually occur if a flood happens?


Unless your wood floor has been waterproofed, even a small spill could cause staining. A flood would have a much more widespread impact on the coloring of your floor.


Wooden planks that have absorbed a lot of water could start to warp. This may be in the form of buckling or cupping. Buckling is when the centers of the planks rise, causing bumps to appear on your floor. Cupping is the opposite and is when the center of each plank sinks, causing a groove.

Mold Growth

Anywhere the moisture exists for a period of time is somewhere that mold can grow. Mold isn’t always visible, so after a flood, pay attention to any musty smells in areas that were affected.

Flooring Type #2

How Flooding Can Damage Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring has many advantages, including that it can look just like wood while also being more water-resistant. Something like a spill won’t harm a laminate floor, but they’re not completely waterproof, which means that a flood could still cause some damage.


Excess moisture can cause your laminate flooring to become discolored due to water stains.


bubbling occurring after a flood on a laminate floor

Just like wood floors, laminate flooring can also start to warp if there’s too much moisture. The planks could start to buckle, bubble, or otherwise change shape.

Loose Planks

laminate flooring planks loosening due to a flood

Another possibility is that a flood could cause your laminate floor’s planks to loosen. Slats could give way when you walk across them. This could also allow water to get into the subfloor, causing further damage and providing a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

Flooring Type #3

How Flooding Can Damage Tile Flooring

tile floor with standing water due to a flood

Tile is typically very resistant to water. This is why it’s so often used in moisture-filled rooms like bathrooms and kitchens. However, even a tile floor isn’t immune to the vast quantities of water that can enter a room during a flood.

Loose Tiles

If too much water gets onto your tile floor, the tiles could start to come loose. This could cause them to float above the surface to which they were formerly attached. This could also result in the tiles becoming cracked.

Mold Growth

While mold and mildew are easy to clean off of the tiles themselves, the surface of the tile isn’t the only part of the floor that can get damaged by a flood. Water can seep underneath the tiles and damage the subfloor, where mold and mildew could also grow.

Damaged Subfloor

If there’s enough water coming in from the flood, whether it’s from a broken dishwasher or due to a hurricane, then water could get underneath the tiles and damage the subfloor. This could cause the wood there to rot or become moldy. Additionally, the damp and damaged wood could start to attract insects like termites.

Flooring Type #4

How Flooding Can Damage Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a popular option because of its affordability. It’s also easy to maintain and is typically water-resistant. However, that water resistance isn’t enough to protect it against something like a flood. Too much water could cause a lot of damage even to your vinyl floor.

Lifted Edges

If water has seeped underneath the vinyl flooring, then it could cause the edges of the vinyl to start lifting up. This can occur whether the vinyl is floating or glued down because the water can weaken the bonds of the glue.

Bubbling Floor

If moisture gets underneath the vinyl, it can cause bubbles to appear in the middle of the floor. This is because the moisture causes it to lift up from the subfloor, ruining its smooth appearance.

Mold Growth

mold growing on the wall and floor of an apartment

Mold can grow wherever there is excessive moisture over a period of time and vinyl flooring is no exception. Mold can start to grow on the vinyl or on the subfloor underneath after a flood.

Deteriorating Vinyl

Too much water can also cause the vinyl to start deteriorating. The vinyl may also be much softer as a result, which reduces its durability.

Flooring Type #5

How Flooding Can Damage Carpet

a professional cleaning a carpet

Carpet is another popular option for flooring due to its soft nature and the different color options. However, after a flood, you’re often required to completely replace the carpet due to water damage.

Carpet Replacement

If a carpet has been covered in water for 72 hours or more, chances are good that you’ll need to completely replace it. If it’s been less time than that, you may be able to save the carpet by completely drying it out and treating any mold spots that occur.

Mold Growth

Damp carpet is a perfect place for mold to grow. Because water can get underneath the carpet, the mold may not always be visible. If you smell a musty scent near the carpet, then that’s a good sign there’s mold growth on the carpet, its underside, or on the padding underneath it.

What Should I Do If There’s a Flood?

If the flood is caused by a hurricane, then you’ll need to wait until after the storm is over to begin drying out your floor. If the flood is caused by a broken dishwasher, a plumbing issue, or some other internal problem, then you’ll want to fix the cause of the flood first. Then, if you can, call in a professional to dry out your floors. Getting the cleanup done professionally can help to preserve your floor and prevent the worst of the damage from occurring. You could save a carpet that you might otherwise have to replace, for example.

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