How to Dry Water Under a Wood Floor

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how to dry water under a wood floor

If you’re dealing with a leaky pipe or a bit of flooding, you may think removing the standing water is the most important part of cleanup.

The truth is, that’s just the beginning.

If you want to salvage your flooring and prevent the growth of mold, you need to get your subfloors completely dry.

Here’s how to dry water under a wood floor.

Key Takeaways:

To avoid damage, always attend to water under a wood floor as soon as possible. Ensure the main surface is completely dry before attending to the subfloor. Start by drying with towels and a dry/wet vac. Once completely dry, clean it with disinfectant, then block the room off before putting in a dehumidifier to run for 48 hours. 

The Best Way to Dry Water Under a Wood Floor

If you need to dry water under a wood floor, the first thing you should do is remove all standing water. Once the floors are completely dry, block off the room and run a dehumidifier and fans for at least 24 hours. This will speed up the drying process.

Pro Tip: As someone who has dealt with water damage on numerous occasions, I can’t stress enough on the importance of timing. Acting quickly doesn’t just save your floors, but it can also potentially save you a large sum of money from mold remediation services. Ideally, actions to dry the water should be started within the first 48 hours.

How to Dry Water Under a Wood Floor: Step by Step

hardwood floor water spill

Make Sure the Wood Floors are 100% Dry

Before you dry out the subfloor, you need to ensure your wood floors are 100% dry. Any standing water can seep through the hardwoods, reaching your subfloor.

You can dry your floor by soaking up the water with towels and suctioning water with a wet/dry shop vac.

Pro Tip: Remember, it’s not just about drying the surface of your wood floor but also its subfloor. The visible surface might seem dry, but moisture could still be lurking below. I always use a moisture meter to confirm that the subfloors are completely dry. This handy tool has saved me from premature fixture placements on several occasions.

After the floor is dry, mop with a disinfecting cleaner to stop bacteria growth and then dry with a towel.

Block off the Room and Set Up Dehumidifiers and Fans

wood floor water accident

Block off the room where the water has saturated the floors for the best results. You can do this by closing the doors or taping up a barrier.

This will force the dehumidifier and fans to concentrate on the room with water damage instead of pulling moisture from the entire house.

After you block off the room, set up a dehumidifier (if you have a large room or a lot of potential water seepage, you’ll need more than one.) You’ll also want to run fans in the room on the “high” setting.

Pro Tip: In my experience, while fans and dehumidifiers are essential to expedite the drying process, it’s equally crucial that the room has adequate ventilation. If possible, leaving windows and doors open during the day will help to speed up the natural evaporation.

Leave this set up for at least 24-48 hours, depending on the amount of water you’re dealing with.

If you live in a hot or sunny climate, you can open the windows to speed up the drying process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if my subfloors get wet?

Subfloors that get wet are prone to grow mold quickly. They can also warp, causing your hardwood flooring to shift. This is why it’s essential to dry out water leaks as fast as possible. 

If you had a water leak and weren’t able to fully dry the subfloor, you’ll most likely need to replace your flooring.

Will wet hardwood floors dry by themselves?

If you’re dealing with a water leak or large spill, you should never let your flooring dry out naturally. The water can seep through the floors and saturate your subfloor, which will cause a host of problems like rot, mold growth, and warped flooring.

As soon as you catch a spill or leak, do everything you can to dry out your floors.

How long does it take for a wet subfloor to dry?

This all depends on the amount of water that is trapped under your flooring. It can take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks. Therefore, it’s important to quickly treat any spills and run a dehumidifier and powerful fans to help speed up the drying process.


If you’re wondering how to dry water under a wood floor, there aren’t that many steps. Once you’ve entirely cleaned up the standing water, you’ll need to set up dehumidifiers and fans and be patient.

If you need help cleaning up a water leak or flooding problem, call in a professional water cleanup and restoration company. They may be able to help you salvage your flooring.

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Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

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