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Installing replacement floors after a flood

Sara Back
February 17, 2019

I live in a 900 square foot apartment. Currently I have all wood floors which I love. The problem has been due to 3 floods - Hurricane Irene/a flood in another apartment that seeped into my apartment - I have had to fix my floors 3 times. Again there has been a flood that has ruined my kitchen area. So once again I have to fix my floors.


At this time, I am considering another material so I don't have to go through this again. However - I want to maintain a nice looking floor/that has resale value/long lasting/has no odor and that does not scratch badly.


I am in dire need of assistance. I am not sure if I should continue with my wood floors or go with something like Vinyl.


I would appreciate any thoughts that the community might have.


My apartment is located in New York City. Many thanks - SB

Comments (15)

  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    If a flood happens again water will get under whatever flooring you have. It will likely still need to be removed to dry out the sub floor. Only wood has the ROI you are looking for.

    Sara Back thanked Oak & Broad
  • Sara Back

    thank you for your comment

  • SJ McCarthy

    I'm sorry to say but Oak & Broad has told the truth about flooring and floods. Even a "water proof" vinyl plank floor will have issues with standing water. A flood (standing water or running water) will get underneath the vinyl planks and will cause issues with the subfloor. The vinyl planks would have to be pulled up (breaking 30%-50% of the click edges = unable to use those planks again) and cleaned (mild bleach solution in the bathtub) and then laid out to dry in sunlight (imagine laying out the planks on a lawn....or roof top patio...etc) to kill the mold/mildew spores that are left over from the bleach bath. To lay the floors down, you will find that you will need REPLACEMENT planks because you lost soooo much of the floors when you pulled them up. Oh dear. The floor was discontinued just a few months after you purchased them. Hmmmm. Need to purchase a new floor.


    Wood floors, as you have discovered, are able to be refinished/fixed relatively easily. The only thing that will possibly give you the same option would be stone or porcelain tile. And you do NOT want to see what is needed (from the HOA) for noise reduction purposes if you go with stone or tile. That is a nightmare situation all on it's own.


    If the insurance covers wood, I would go with wood. It is the appropriate/expected finish in most NYC apartments and will maintain it's value for as long as NYC remains super hot market.

    Sara Back thanked SJ McCarthy
  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    Select Grade White Oak and Black Walnut are both very popular in NYC.

    Sara Back thanked Oak & Broad
  • km kane
    Yup, Oak and Board is correct. If the underlayment is compromised, it doesn’t matter what’s on top
    Sara Back thanked km kane
  • weedmeister

    Are you on a concrete slab? Bottom floor? etc?

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    Fix it this time and sell it , there is bad karma in that space.I do agree there is no flooring that can survive floods even tile would have issues

    Sara Back thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    For a concrete slab look at an Engineered product for glue down installation. Here is one of our helpful blog posts about how to pick a high quality Engineered plank floor. There is a lot that goes into it.

  • Sara Back

    thank you for your comments

  • Sara Back

    so it seems that no one would favor luxury vinyl!

  • SJ McCarthy

    Not in a NYC condo. The HOA rules are pretty tough when it comes to noise abatement. Vinyl does NOT like "underpad". And underpads are the things that reduce noise. The few LVP floors that ALLOW acoustic underlayment ONLY allow 3mm cork (not enough for condos) OR mass-loaded vinyl (1.2mm) which is worth the same as the 3mm cork underlayment. And if you put in a floor that the HOA doesn't like, you are on the hook for changing it out immediately. Which means there is more money lost....and you STILL don't have a floor.


    It's your call.

    Sara Back thanked SJ McCarthy
  • Helen

    I'm in a high rise and there was a flood when a pipe broke during a remodel. It flooded all the units below it.


    Most of the owners replaced the flooring but one homeowner didn't. I believe it was a tile floor or some other flooring that didn't have to be replaced for "aesthetic" reasons. The unit was recently sold and when the new owner ripped up the floor there were horrendous amounts of mold. FWIW, the subfloor is concrete.

  • Sara Back

    do you think that is the case with wood floors?

  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    Sara Back , specifically what is your question about wood flooring?

  • Helen

    @Sara - If your question was directed to me specifically, the point of my post was that even if a floor doesn't look as though it needs to be replaced because of aesthetic reasons, it is not unlikely that it will create mold issues.


    A wood floor would probably not have these issues because it would need to be replaced after flooding although I do know people who had small leaks from roofs or plumbing which didn't damage the wood floor enough to be detectable but created mold when for some reason the flooring was taken up.

    Sara Back thanked Helen

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