Flooded Hardwood Floor Solutions

Q: We have a new house.  A company installed new washing machine but didn’t attach pipe.  As a result, the washing machine flooded the hardwood floor in my kitchen.  When it dried, the hardwood cupped significantly.  The company wants to sand it but I want the damaged wood to be replaced to make it exactly like it was. Am I correct in wanting new wood?  The damage is bad as the wood was soaked for several days while I was on Christmas vacation.

A: Wow, talk about the Grinch that stole Christmas!  You are absolutely correct in wanting the entire floor replaced.  Wet wood will swell and warp.  Sanding away the high spots doesn’t fix the problem.  Not only does the extra sanding cut years off the life of the floor, the wood may shrink over the winter heating season and leave gaps.

My recommendation is that the damaged floor be removed and replaced with new floor.  If it intersects other areas of floor, you should also make sure that any newly refinished floor matches the original floor.  By the way, if the floor was pre-finished, than that is yet another reason it can not be repaired. Factory finishes, most of which are aluminum oxide based) are far more durable than those that are applied on site.

Although I don’t know what your relationship is with the company who’s negligence led to this, be sure to start a diary of all phone calls and other conversations about this claim, and do as much as you can in writing.  Find out f they have a liability insurance company that may provide coverage.  This can be an expensive repair and if the claim becomes acrimonious, having that documentation of what was said to whom and when helps tremendously if it goes to small claims court.

Also, you may want to contact your homeowners’ insurance company as you probably have coverage for this too.  If that is the case, the homeowners’ insurance company may pay for repairs and then try and collect from the contractor.

Reaching Tom:  If you have a home improvement question or comment on this topic, please post it here.  For answers to other home improvement questions, please email Tom at tomsmoneypit@aol.com so your question can be used in future blog entries.

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