Advanced Equipment and Drying Techniques One of the most important (though simple) concepts of water damage restoration is "Wet goes to Dry". If you set a paper towel on a spill, what happens? The wet (spill) is absorbed into the dry (towel). As the towel absorbs the water it also expands because the towel is made of a hygroscopic material. When your hot water heater ruptures gravity takes it to the floor. The dry carpet and padding, like a sponge, absorb the water until they become saturated. Water also becomes absorbed in the sheetrock and framing in your walls and in sub-floors (i.e. plywood and particle board used on second stories). Water, either as vapor or liquid also goes into your hardwood floors, wooden furniture and cabinets. This often causes them to swell and warp.
Drying Hardwood Floors Hardwood floors provide one of the most beautiful and costly elements in a fine home. When water is spilled on a hardwood floor it does not soak in right away. It may even bead up at first because of the finish. A person with a towel, sponge or mop could easily dry it of in a few minutes. But if there is enough water and it is left untouched, it will get under the wood floor planks and soak into them. Basically, the water fills in the dry spaces between the wood fibers (the grain). As it soaks in, the wood begins to swell. The wood floor as one unit can't expand and remain flat. So the center may lift away from the sub-floor; possibly by several inches. Each individual plank of the floor will warp, usually with the sides going up like a smile. This is often called "cupping". If the water along with the absorbed moisture isn't removed within a few days, the floor will be permanently ruined. .Another important water mitigation concept is that materials which take a long time to absorb water also take a long time to dry. If you took the soaked paper towel from the example above, you could simply squeeze most of the water out. The water was absorbed quickly and the water is removed quickly. Wood flooring is just the opposite, it takes along time to absorb and release the moisture.
The Airwolf® and Rescue Mat® System from Dri-Eaz® can dry out many solid hardwood floors before permanent damage occurs. The AirWolf blower injects dry air under the floor and through he grooves on the underside of each floor plank. This dry air draws moisture from the wood grain and forces it back into the room where the dehumidifier's remove the moisture from the air. Removing baseboards from the wall is often necessary as they would otherwise inhibit the airflow.