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How to Repair Water Damaged Hardwood Floors


Repairing a hardwood floor that has water damage is easy to do and can be accomplished with a few basic steps.

Signs of Water Damage

Before beginning reparation on any hardwood floor, it’s important to note the type of damage that has occurred. Different types of damage require different methods of repair. If there are white stains or a white haze on the floor, the damage may be isolated to the floor surface. If there are black stains present, there may be a problem with mold. Buckling and cupping of the floorboards are signs of serious damage and will require a removal of the affected areas.

Light Repairs

If there is major damage to the floor, and buckling has occurred, the entire floor may need to be replaced. If the damage is minimal, the affected area can be buffed clean with a soft cotton cloth and a mild abrasive. Light pressure should be used when buffing the area.

Serious Repairs

For more serious water stains, refinishing may be necessary. Large fans or air conditioners can be used to dry the floorboards. Once the boards are dry, tape off the surrounding area, so it is not affected during the repair process. The surface of the damaged wood should be rubbed off with sandpaper.

If the floor has a wax surface, a light steel wool can be used. Use a sanding block or electric sander to sand the entire board. Begin with a 60-grit abrasive and exchange it for a lighter grain during the process. Clean off any dust. Prepare a mixture of oxalic acid crystals in hot water. Brush the mixture onto the stained areas, let it dry, and repeat this process until the stain disappears. Clear off any debris. When the damage is gone, stain the boards to match the rest of the floor. The stain can be rubbed on with a sponge. Once that is dry, seal the floor with a polyurethane finish.



“Patching Damaged Wood Floors | Wood Floors | This Old House – 1.” Home Improvement and Remodeling: This Old House. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.,,218102,00.html.

“HOMETIME HOW TO, Flooring – Sanding Floors – Prep.” HOMETIME. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2010.

Polson, Mary Ellen. “Fixing Wood Floors, by Mary Ellen Polson – Old-House Journal.” Old Houses, Restoration and Renovation | Old House

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