What Happens If Your Hardwood Floors Get Water on Them?

Robin Winters

Whether your hardwood floors get wet from shoes, a spilled glass or from a flood, the damage left behind is frustrating. Before attempting to dry out the floor yourself or considering it a total loss, find out what happens when a hardwood floor gets wet and how to fix the problem.

The Facts

According to Orange Restoration, the grain in the wood swells and cracks when it is exposed to water that could cause the hardwood floor to swell and buckle. Extensively wet wood could become infested with mold and mildew.


The process for treating hardwood floors that get water on them depends on the amount of water damage. A hardwood floor flooded with water might require complete restoration or replacement. According to North Dakota State University, a hardwood floors flooded with water will need to have the floorboards removed to prevent buckling. A wet hardwood floor might require cleaning, drying and flattening.


A small amount of water on a hardwood floor will likely only require spot treatment. If possible, expose the water-damaged floors to natural airflow to dry as soon as possible, gradually and equally across the problem area. Orange Restoration suggests hiring a professional to treat water damaged hardwood floors. If you try to dry the hardwood floor yourself do not use direct heat on the floor. Open all the windows on all the floors in your house and turn on fans to enhance the circulation.


Sudden or uneven drying after water damage could cause the hardwood floor to crack or split. Avoid sanding a wet or moist hardwood floor as it could become permanently damaged. Do not use heat to dry a wet hardwood floor since it might cause the floor to dry too quickly and damage the floor where the heat was applied.