Most floor types deteriorate when exposed to moisture over a period. That is why it’s necessary to use the right type of floor on areas prone to moisture.
Vinyl flooring is made from high-quality materials that make it durable and can withstand wear and tear resulting from everyday use. But when it comes to water or moisture on vinyl flooring, that’s another issue altogether.
If you’ve noticed moisture or water under your vinyl flooring, this post is for you. At the end of this post, you will learn signs of water damage on vinyl floors and how to dry water from under vinyl plank floors without damaging the floor.
Can Water Get Under Vinyl Flooring?
Most people consider vinyl flooring to be water-proof especially the click-lock and glue-down vinyl floors. But in reality, they are more water-resistant than waterproof.
The difference is that a water-resistant floor can withstand moisture and water, but over time, the flooring deteriorates. A water-proof floor on the other hand can withstand exposure to water and moisture for as long as possible.
Vinyl flooring is water-resistant, and water can get under the floor. For instance, water can get under the glue-down vinyl floor if the seams and perimeter are not properly sealed. Also, water can get underneath the LVT flooring if you don’t seal the edges adjoining the wall.
Even when the seams and perimeters are properly sealed, there are other ways water or moisture can get underneath the vinyl floor. For instance, groundwater moisture especially with the concrete subfloor. Plumbing issues with the sink or toilet or crawlspace moisture can get water under your vinyl floor.
What Happens If Water Gets Under Vinyl Flooring?
If it’s just a minor liquid spill on the floor, you don’t have to worry. Simply wipe off the water with a dry towel. That’s not what you’re dealing with. If you’re dealing with a pool of water lodged under your vinyl floor, that’s when it becomes worrisome.
Unlike what most people think, leaving the water under the vinyl floor won’t make it go away. The water won’t dry up because there’s no air circulation on the subfloor.
Rather, the water will deteriorate the floor. That is why it’s advisable to take steps to dry the water from underneath your vinyl flooring once you notice it. Failure to do that will lead to extensive damage which is usually more expensive to fix.
Signs Of Water Damage On Vinyl Plank Flooring?
Other factors can cause damage or wear and tear on vinyl floors besides water damage. Thus, you need to verify that you’re dealing with water damage before taking steps to fix the issue. These are some telltale signs that there’s moisture or water lodged under your vinyl floor.
a. Open Seams or Lifting
Moisture buildup under both floating and glue-down vinyl floors can cause the floor to lift. The lifting is noticeable around the edges of the planks. Also, a deteriorating adhesive could be a sign of water damage on the floor.
If you notice discoloration on a particular spot or several spots on a vinyl floor, it could be a sign of water damage. Vinyl floors are made to be stain-resistant. Any form of discoloration is a sign of serious damage on the floor usually caused by extended exposure to moisture.
If you notice any of these when you walk on your floor, it’s a telltale sign that you’re dealing with water damage underneath the floor. Especially if the subfloor is made of wood.
Mold and mildew thrive where there is moisture with little or no air and sunlight. Moisture underneath your vinyl floor can turn it into a breeding place for mold. If you perceive a musty smell, it’s a sign that there’s mold under the floor. Another way to check is to use a mold test kit (Check on Amazon).
e. Test For Moisture
Finally, you can test for moisture on the subfloor. If the subfloor is made of concrete, it is advisable to test for moisture periodically. Warm and humid air forms moisture when it comes in contact with the cool concrete floor.
One way to test for moisture on a concrete floor is to use a Moisture Detector (Check on Amazon). Also, you can remove a vinyl plank, place a rubber mat and leave for 24 hours. If you notice moisture under the mat, it shows that’s moisture on the concrete floor.
How To Dry Water Under Vinyl Plank Floor?
Now you’ve confirmed that it’s a water damage issue, there are two ways to go about the issue. You can either call a professional to come to fix the issue or you can fix the issue using the DIY tips here.
a. Ascertain The Root Cause
Before you dive into fixing the floor, you need to ascertain where the moisture or water is coming from and fix the issue. If it’s a plumbing issue from leaking pipes, make sure you seal the leaks first. That may require you to check the basement walls and crawlspace to seal the pipes.
Also, it could be an issue with the HVAC system in the house, call a technician to fix the issue.
b. Uninstall Floor
Uninstall the vinyl planks. Use a floor scraper to uninstall glue-down vinyl from the subfloor. Note that some old vinyl floors do contain asbestos which is harmful to the health. It is best to call a professional to handle the removal and reinstallation process for old vinyl floors.
c. Dry The Area
Use a mop or Shop-Vac to remove excess water. For a small room, turn on fans and open the windows. For a bigger room, use a dehumidifier to dry the affected area. You can also run the heater (not too hot) to speed up the drying process.
Depending on the level of moisture, you may continue the drying process between 24 hours to several days until the subfloor is completely dry.
d. Replace The Floor
Before replacing the floor, use the moisture detector to check the moisture level on the subfloor. Replace the vinyl planks when you’re satisfied the subfloor is completely dry.
Can You Waterproof Vinyl Plank Flooring?
One way to save yourself the stress of drying water from under your vinyl floor is to take preventive measures. If you’re thinking of waterproofing your vinyl plank floor as a preventive measure, hold on.
First, the vinyl floor is made to withstand moisture, so there’s no need to waterproof it. If you’re using a concrete subfloor, then you may consider waterproofing the concrete floor as a preventive measure.
There are several ways to waterproof concrete floors to prevent moisture from seeping through the surface. But the common method is to apply a liquid waterproof product to seal. Check this post on how to waterproof your concrete subsurface