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Repairing Floor Coverings after a Flood

by Michigan State University on Apr 28, 2012

Subfloor

Water coming up from below will cause most damage to subfloor material. If a linoleum or vinyl floor covering is not under water many days, the floor covering may partially protect the subfloor material. Long submersion, however, will loosen adhesives and warp subflooring. If a plywood or hardwood subfloor is wet, you should probably remove the linoleum or vinyl and replace the subfloor material.

Removing loosened floor coverings

Some floor coverings may crack or break when you try to loosen them. Contact a reputable dealer to find out what solvent will loosen adhesives with minimal damage to linoleum or vinyl. Heating with a heat lamp or propane torch may make the covering less brittle. How easily the covering can be lifted depends on the material and adhesive. If the adhesive is waterproof, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to remove the floor covering without considerable damage.

Tiles

If the floor has not been badly soaked, you may not need to replace the subfloor. It is possible to re-cement loosened tiles of any type. Be sure the floor is thoroughly dry before trying to re-cement.

 

Blisters may be left in linoleum tiles after warped wooden flooring has dried. Carefully puncture each blister with a nail. With a hand syringe (from store, force diluted linoleum paste through the hole, and weight the linoleum bricks).

Sheet Linoleum or Vinyl

Water may have seeped under a loose section of vinyl or sheet linoleum. Carefully remove the entire sheet. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before trying to re-cement the linoleum. Thorough drying may take as long as 6 weeks or more. Use a new sheet or lining felt before re-cementing the floor covering.

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