A flood, whether from rain or a busted water pipe, can leave you with an overwhelming mess. The part of your home that often takes the biggest brunt of the damage is your flooring. No floor is impervious to damage, not even wood. Fortunately, wood floors can often be saved if you follow the right restoration advice. The following guide can help you know what to do.

Dry the floors

The most important step is to get the wood flooring dried out as soon as possible. This is done using a combination of soaking up the water and using fans. A shop vac or extractor vacuum can be used to suck up all the water – these are much more effective than trying to mop up a lot of water. You can also rent large industrial fans to speed up the drying time. If your home has a crawlspace, you may want to place some fans underneath the floor to further help dry out the subfloor and wood planks. Speed is vital, as the longer the wood stays wet and swollen, the more likely that it will warp or mold.

Remove damaged finish

In many cases the old finish will begin to flake off or peel up after extensive flooding. Fortunately, this can be removed easily with sanding and buffing. Sanding can also even out minor warping or the raised ridges that sometimes remain after water-swollen wood finally dries. With luck, any actual water stains on the wood will only affect the surface so that they will also be sanded away.

Treat any mold

No matter how quickly you work, mold can still sometimes become an issue. In this case, the floors will need to be treated with a bleach solution to kill the mold and remove as much of the staining as possible. It's best to have a water damage or mold remediation contractor perform this work, since mold can be difficult to treat on your own.

Refinish the floors

Once the floors are completely dried and prepped, you can refinish them. Keep in mind this can take several weeks, since wood sometimes dries slowly. If stains have occurred that can't be sanded out, you can save the flooring by staining it a darker color. This will camouflage many stains. Then, apply your sealer and allow it to cure before moving your furniture back into the home.

Contact a water damage restoration specialist, such as Althouse Restore, for more help.