Bruce Prefinished Redoak – leak dammaged my floors


Hello wooddoc,

I just had Bruce prefinished redoak floors put into my home just before Christmas. Since that time, I’ve barely used them due to renovations on that side of the house. While I was away last week on vacation, there was a leak(renovators fault) which damaged the floors (they look warped in areas as well as black where the boards meet). He wants to just resand and finish….will this take care of the problem, or should I have him replace the damaged boards? I’m worried that there is still moisture underneath the boards.

Any advice you could give is much appreciated.




Dear Jennifer

It’s not a good idea to sand a floor that has warped a bit, at least not so soon. The moisture may still be in the subfloor, and this takes about 4-6 months before you can be really sure it has dried out. The good news is that in many cases ( and I have seen this many times ) the wood will settle back down on it’s own. On the other hand I was forced by a anxious bar owner to repair a water damaged floor, and we had to remove the offending boards and let the subfloor dry out. I’m afraid the plywood subfloor was soaked and it wasn’t dry after a few days, of waiting. The new patch went in loosely but swelled up tight in a day. Then in 6 months it settled down again, but it was a rough looking repair.

Now that all said, if your are anxious to get your floor back to normal, have the swelled boards removed and the subfloor dried with a fan. Check the moisture content of the subfloor, and don’t repair the floor until the MC matches the MC of the dry boards in the rest of the floor. In most cases this will make a better job than sanding the whole floor or just sanding a part of it. It may be impossible to match the floor finish to the factory finish in any case. And that’s why a replacement of the bad pieces is better.

And for that matter, sanding a floor will remove 1/6 of it’s total life from it. And even more if the wood has warped. Best in my opinion, to have a hold back of funds and wait and see what the floor will do on it own. Replacement is the way to go when someone else is paying and your are in a hurry.

As always your Most humble servant, Joseph, the Wood Floor Doctor.