Regardless of what type of flooring you've got in your house or flat, a leakage can wreak havoc around the affected area. Yet, those who have wooden floors should be especially careful to prevent irreversible damage when handling a leak. In this article, we would like to propose the most effective course of action. We’ll use a step-by-step approach to show you how to remove the boards, how to install them again and what to do to avoid future problems.
1. How to remove the boards to access the leak?
Obviously, if a leak has occurred all over the given interior, the most effective solution will be the fastest one. Once faced with such problems, immediately try to determine the location of the leak source as precisely as you can and take out the boards placed immediately around it, trying to reduce the damage to a minimum. Then, if you’ve been able to isolate the leak, turn off the water and you will have some time to act – either you or a plumber will be able to tackle the problems calmly and minimise the damage, removing the boards which need to be taken out to complete the repair.
This is what you will need to do: Try to take out boards one by one, by marking out a rectangle along the length and breadth of the board, ca. 1.25cm in from the edge of the board. Having done this, take a circular saw, cut around this rectangle and then pull out that rectangle from the board. By doing so, you will be able to prize out board edges so as to gain access to the leak.
2. How to replace the missing boards?
If you have managed to repair the leak, you will have to replace the missing board. It would be perfect if you had some extra boards left somewhere in your basement or attic for such emergencies. However, if you didn't leave such extra boards for future use, you can always take the board you’ve removed and go to a trusted flooring supplier. With such abundance of various hues and colours of wood flooring, they will most certainly be able to offer you something very similar.
In the case of a tongue and groove board, remove the tongue and then put the board back into place. Importantly, when fixing the new board into place take special care not to damage plumbing with screws or nails you use. If the board you're replacing is plane-edged, you will have to cut the board to size and then screw it respectively into place.
As your new board is right in place, it probably requires finishing – in order to match the entire flooring. Even though at first it may differ from the remaining boards, over time you’ll be astonished at how well it blends in.
3. How to avoid future problems?
When laying new wooden flooring, especially in a bathroom or kitchen, always remember to leave access points in your floor where you know there is a lot of plumbing.
Moreover, by being able to switch off water above floor level, you will have some precious time in an emergency. Installing an isolation tap above floor level will make it possible for you to buy some time to calmly remove floor boards so as to fix possible leaks.
And finally, it is a complete must to have all the appliances and the plumbing regularly checked. This will probably not prevent random leaks in 100%, but it will definitely mitigate the risk of problems.