Do I Need to Replace My Water Damaged Subfloor?

Damaged wood floor and subfloor due to water

While homeowners gush over their beautiful hardwood floors or new carpeting, subflooring is doing the hard work of supporting you, your furniture, and the many elements of your home. If subflooring is exposed to water or fire damage, you might need to identify these issues to keep you and your home safe, as extensive damage will necessitate subfloor replacement.

First, What Is a Subfloor and Why Is It Important?

Subflooring is the structural element under your floors that supports them. Made of softwood or plywood, subflooring spans the many floor joints that serve as the skeletal structure of any building. Most sheets of subflooring are 4-feet wide and are up to 12-feet long.

In most cases, damaged subflooring doesn’t need to be replaced.

However, in the event of extensive water damage from flooding or extended periods of exposure to moisture, damaged sections may need to be removed to avoid mold and ensure structural integrity. Other issues like fire damage or pests may also force homeowners to replace subflooring.

Related Topic: Discover Signs of Bathroom Water Damage

How to Tell if Your Subfloor Is Damaged

Damage to subfloors may not be obvious. Gradual damage (from roof or window leaks or plumbing problems) can take years to present itself.

Without tearing out your flooring to peek underneath, here are some of the tell-tale signs of subflooring issues:

  • Squeaking or creaking. While flooring can squeak occasionally, if you notice certain spots speaking more loudly or more areas starting to squeak, it could be a sign that sections are beginning to warp—a common symptom of water damage.

  • Low spots or sinking sections. Low spots or sections of flooring sinking is a common sign that subflooring has been exposed to water—but it can also be a sign of a misaligned floor joint.

  • Loose tiles. Tiles that are suddenly loose or cracked can also be a sign of subflooring issues. This problem is more common in high-moisture environments like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Cracked tiles or cement boards can be a sign of either a sinking or curling subfloor. The gap between the tile and subflooring causes the tile to flex and, eventually, crack.

When to Replace a Subfloor from Water Damage

Water damage that is quickly remediated will not always require subfloor replacement. Remediation techniques, like rapid structural drying, may be employed in certain scenarios to mitigate the damage and save all or a portion of your subfloors. Subfloors that have sustained repeated damage or where mitigation was delayed most often require replacement.

If you suspect your subfloor has been damaged by water or moisture, have your home inspected by a restoration professional. Your local Rainbow International can identify water damage and determine its extent and cause, as well as remove or prevent mold and mildew.

Remember, subflooring is a weight-bearing element of your home. Letting subflooring damage go unaddressed could cause extensive damage to your home and jeopardize your safety.

Related Topic: How NOT to Fix Water Damaged Wood Floors

How Hard Is It to Replace a Subfloor?

If you suspect subflooring damage let a trained professional address any potential issues. Rainbow International offers full service reconstruction, including subfloor replacement, mold detection and remediation. From mitigation to restoration, we manage every step of recovery.

Professional Restoration and Remediation Is Key

Subflooring replacement starts by identifying the damage and the factors that caused it. Trust Rainbow International to pinpoint the cause of subfloor damage and remedy any problems that may have occurred as a result. Don’t wait, taking proactive steps now to address any sinking or sagging floors can save you additional expense and headaches later on. Request an appointment online or call (855) 724-6269 for a professional water damage inspection today!