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Water Damaged Flooring

I just found your website after discovering some recent water damage of an area of a wooden floor. The wooden floor has discolored and three of the boards have risen and buckled up, perhaps a 1/8″ up. The area of buckling is approx. 2′ square. I have applied some Johnson’s floor wax, and have placed a heavy metal plate, 1″ thick on top of the area in question in the effort to weight it down. Is there something more effective to flatten out the boards without replacing them? — Lance Jackson

You want to slowly dry out the floor boards over a long period of time, perhaps a few to several months. If the boards are going to flatten out they will do so on their own without the heavy plate. I’m concerned the plate may not allow the boards to dry evenly.

If your finish flooring is less than 5/8″ thick the weight of the plate might help a little, but you should place “stickers” (1″ x 1″ strips of wood) across the buckled boards every 6″, then put the heavy metal plate on top of the stickers. This will allow some air to circulate over the flooring. Do not try to rush drying with a fan, a long drying time is the key. If the source of the moisture was in the cellar or crawl-space beneath the floor be sure to dry out that space as well.

John Leeke is a preservation consultant who helps homeowners, contractors and architects understand and maintain their historic buildings. You can contact him at 26 Higgins St., Portland, Maine, 04103; or by E-mail:; or log onto his website at:

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