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Flooring is one of the most basic parts of any structure. Have you ever wondered about the best way to bring your water-damaged floors back to life? If so, you are not alone. People spend billions of dollars on floors, both for repair and replacement. For example, U.S. homeowners spend in excess of $3.5 billion on hardwood flooring alone each year. When you stop to consider that that’s just for one kind of popular flooring material, hardwood, it’s easy to see that anyone who owns a home understands the value of keeping floors in top shape.

If your floors have suffered water damage, your first question is probably about cost. For starters, even if your floors are currently in great shape, it’s wise to know about the things that can directly affect the price of floor repair or replacement. Here’s a short list you might want to jot down and keep near your homeowners insurance policy for future reference:

Factors That Affect the Cost of Repairing or Replacing Water-Damaged Flooring

  • The Kind of Flooring It costs more to repair and/or replace some floors than others. Consider the material your floors are made of. For example, five of of the most common are carpet, hardwood, laminate, vinyl, and tile. Replacement costs vary widely, so make note of what kinds of floors you have, and decide if you’ll be replacing them with the same material after water damage strikes.
  • Amount of Damage This is perhaps the single most important factor that affects replacement or repair cost. That’s because minor damage sometimes costs very little to repair if you go the DIY route or hire a competent contractor to do the small repairs for you. Major damage can mean a complete replacement of the entire damaged area, which is obviously the most costly of all your options.
  • How Long the Water Remained in Place Timing is often overlooked when people discuss the topic of water damage. Simply put, the longer the water is on or in your floor, the greater the damage will be. This is why homeowners are often in a hurry to remove excess water after an accident and dry the area as soon as possible.
  • The Contractor You Hire Like any other kind of home repair work, you can save a ton of money by working with a reputable, competent contractor. Be careful not to opt for the lowest initial repair bid. Consider the total repair cost quote as well as the expected life of the new flooring. It makes much more sense to spend $4,000 (just an example figure for illustrative purposes) on a floor replacement that will last for 20 years than spend $2,000 on a new floor that might last eight years under the best circumstances.

    Compute the average yearly cost by dividing the total price by the expected life of the floor in years. In our example above, the $4,000 job has an annual cost of just $200 ($4,000 divided by 20). The “cheaper” job, at $2,000 up front, actually costs 25 percent more per year, at $250 annually ($2,000 divided by eight). When you work with a licensed, expert contractor and use high-quality materials, you get the best long-term value and boost the potential selling price of your home at the same time.
  • Where You Live Though not the most significant factor, there are regional differences in the price of labor and materials for floor repair work.

Here are four tips on how to deal with water-damaged floors:

One: Know When Replacement Makes Sense

It’s essential to know whether to replace or repair a water-damaged floor. That does not mean you need to study engineering and obtain a contractor’s license. Far from it. But, what it does mean is that you should have an experienced, licensed flooring contractor take a look at the damage and help you decide the wisest path to follow. Floors become damaged in all sorts of ways. Here are the most common things that happen to household flooring:

How Floors Become Damaged:

  • Floods, Storms, Excessive Rain Water is the natural enemy of all floors. That’s why floods, prolonged storms, and pounding rain are often the culprits when you notice damage to your home’s floors.
  • Fires The excessive heat of house fires can also damage a floor, which is why most owners opt for new flooring after a fire.
  • Broken Pipes This one is water-related but gets its own category of damage because it is so common. Faulty plumbing’s biggest expense is often not the plumber’s bill but the amount you end up paying to have floors replaced.
  • Faulty Water Heaters Another water-related factor that homeowners face all the time. This is one of the main reasons to make sure your water heater is in good working order.
  • Age As with all things, age takes its toll on floors. However, you can lengthen the life of your home’s floors with attentive care and high-quality materials. Consult with a flooring contractor to find out about average life spans of the different materials as well as smart ways to keep your floors in excellent shape.

Two: Repair Minor Damage When Possible

You can repair minor damage yourself. The trick is knowing what “minor” means. As noted above in Step One, you should consult with a contractor when in doubt. The advantage of this method is that a good contractor will be able to not only advise you about whether repair is possible but can also instruct you on how to approach a DIY project.

Three: Read Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Carefully

Whenever the topic of water-damaged floors is discussed, someone inevitably raises the question, “What about homeowners insurance?” It’s an appropriate thing to ask, especially since most policies offer at least some level of coverage for floor damage.
But the key thing to remember is to read the fine print of the policy carefully.

If you’re not up to the task because all the language is confusing legalese, which is typical for many insurance policies, then contact the agent and ask what qualifies you for monetary coverage on a damaged floor. In most situations, speaking generally, you can usually get some amount of reimbursement from the insurance carrier if the damage was sudden, not your fault, and/or the result of an accident.

With most homeowners insurance policies, even if your water damage qualifies for coverage, you’ll still foot the cost of the deductible. Read the fine print of your policy carefully to see how the carrier defines water damage that falls under the policy.

What’s the lesson we can take from all this? Mainly, that you should never do anything with your floor that could be viewed as “neglect” by an insurance company. And even when an accident totally out of your control does take place, deal with it as quickly as possible. “Delay” can be considered an example of “neglect” by insurance carriers.

Four: Connect With a Competent Contractor ASAP

There’s not a minute to lose when your flooring is hit with water damage. Not only do you have a better chance at insurance reimbursement from your homeowners coverage, but by acting fast you can minimize the extend of the damage. A floor’s number one enemy is water, so the sooner you get professional help, the better.

At Diamond State Hardwood Floors, you get the best possible advice and service. Our experts have seen it all. They’re happy to take a look at your floor’s water damage, or any kind of damage, and tell you the truth about the situation. They’ll let you know if you can do some minor repairs on your own, whether you need professional help with a small repair job, or whether replacement is the answer. Give us a call today with all your flooring questions, even if you don’t have an emergency. Our direct phone number is (302) 257-1605. Or, simply visit our website for more information. We look forward to helping you.