Return to the Blog Home Page

Repairing a Water Damaged Kitchen Floor

Thursday, July 30th, 2020
water damaged kitchen floor

A water damaged kitchen floor is a more common occurrence than floors in other rooms. The sink, dishwasher, disposal, ice maker, and associated plumbing—all in a single room—make kitchen floors likely to be exposed to water at some point. On the plus side, certain common flooring materials tend to make kitchens more water-resistant than floors elsewhere in the house.

Seepage into the wooden subfloor beneath flooring is often a deciding factor in assessing a water damaged kitchen floor. If a subfloor has absorbed substantial moisture, removal of all flooring material may ultimately be required to effectively dry the subfloor and prevent wood rot and mold contamination. Contacting qualified water damage professionals, ASAP, is vital to remove standing water and extract residual moisture as quickly as possible.   

Here’s how flooring types react in a typical water damaged kitchen floor:

  • Vinyl flooring. Usually a highly water-resistant material, vinyl flooring is often cut in a single large piece to fit the entire kitchen, minimizing seams that permit seepage into the subfloor. If seepage occurs at baseboards, a flooring professional may lift that limited section, dry the subfloor beneath, then glue the vinyl flooring back into place.  
  • Tile floors. Ceramic tile common in kitchens is impervious to water. However, the grout that secures tiles in place may deteriorate if submerged and individual tiles may loosen. Generally, loose tiles may be removed, the subfloor beneath dried, and the same tiles replaced with new grout.
  • Hardwood. Hardwood flooring is less common in kitchens. Hardwood in a water damaged kitchen floor absorbs moisture and may warp or buckle. Staining may also occur. Water penetrates between planks and soaks the subfloor. Professional restoration by a hardwood specialist is often required to save an expensive hardwood floor following water damage. 
  • Wood laminate. A water damaged kitchen floor made of wood laminate material rapidly degrades in standing water. Glues in wood laminate dissolve and the material swells and disintegrates, saturating the subfloor beneath. If water exposure is prolonged, laminated wood flooring generally requires total replacement.

How to Dry Out Cabinets After Water Damage Occurs

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom are often right in the crosshairs to sustain water damage. Because of the proximity to water sources—plumbing lines leading to a sink, dishwasher floods, overflow from a sink, faucet leaks—cabinets frequently end up affected by water.  Drying cabinets after a water damage incident is a specialized process and not all cabinets can be salvaged in a cost-effective way.

  • Particle board is a common inexpensive cabinet material. Consisting of particles of wood compressed together with glue and resin, particle board is particularly vulnerable to saturation. Water dissolves the glue and may make the material swell and crumble. If water damage is significant, these cabinets may not be salvageable.
  • Plywood and hardwood cabinets withstand water exposure more evenly and for a longer period of time. If dried promptly using proper techniques, these cabinets may be restored without permanent damage.  

Here are some typical steps a water damage professional will utilize to effectively dry out cabinets:

  • Remove all items from the cabinet.
  • Remove excess water pooling inside cabinets. Soak up water with towels and wipe dry the cabinet interior.  
  • Take off cabinet doors. The weight of cabinet doors pulling on saturated wood can cause yet more damage to the unit. Also, removing doors allows maximum airflow into the cabinet interior for faster drying.
  • Utilize drying equipment. Professional air movers that are made to rapidly dry floors, cabinets and other fixtures direct high-volume airflow into the cabinets and speed drying.
  • Reduce humidity. Excess humidity in the indoor environment—common after water damage incidents—hampers drying.  Dehumidifiers should be placed in the affected zone and run continuously.
  • Dry the hidden spaces.  The enclosed area underneath cabinets usually conceals water after a flood. This area is hard to reach but must be accessed to dry affected flooring under the unit as well as the underside of the cabinet.  Water damage professionals typically remove the cabinet kick plate, then utilize air movers and/or warm air injectors to effectively dry the area.  
  • Prevent mold contamination. After cabinets have been fully dried, all surfaces should be treated with biocides formulated to prevent mold growth.

3 Main Causes Of Refrigerator Leaks

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

leaky refrigeratorRefrigerator leaks can be quite small. Unfortunately, that means a chronic refrigerator leak can cause water damage to the floor underneath it or the wall behind it—areas not frequently inspected by most homeowners—before anyone’s aware of it. Mold growth in these areas may also thrive undiscovered for some time. The good news is, in most units, there are only a few common causes of refrigerator leaks and they can be checked in a quick process of elimination.

  • Leaky water supply line. If your refrigerator incorporates an ice maker, it gets water from a 1/4-inch tube—typically made of plastic—routed from the kitchen sink water line. The tube connects to the back of the refrigerator with a screw-on connection. Inconspicuous water leakage, usually seepage or drips, may result if this connection loosens. The plastic supply tube itself is also prone to deteriorate and eventually crack. However, this usually causes obvious leakage and may flood the kitchen floor if the flow isn’t shut off at the valve under the kitchen sink.
  • Clogged defrost drain. Refrigerators with auto-defrost feature discharge water created by defrosting into a drain line that extends to a drip pan underneath the refrigerator, where the water evaporates. If the defrost drain line clogs with food particles or other debris, water may drip behind or beneath the unit, missing the collection pan. This leakage is intermittent and may not be obvious as it only occurs when defrost cycle kicks in. However, over time it can cause water damage to the floor or wall behind the refrigerator.
  • Condensation leaks. Condensation forming inside the refrigerator compartment should drip through a drain tube directly into the drip pan beneath the unit. If the drain hole is clogged or obstructed by some object, leakage may occur. Another cause can be that the refrigerator is not level, so collecting condensation does not flow toward the drain hole. A typical sign of this is small amounts of water leaking out the front of the refrigerator.

Refrigerator leaks can be a major or minor cause of household water damage. Catching these leaks early is the key to prevention.


3 Common Kitchen Flooding Issues Caused By Appliances

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

kitchen sink leak
A kitchen flood is an all-too-common occurrence, largely because there’s more than one potential cause. Kitchens typically incorporate multiple fixtures and appliances that connect to water supply lines under municipal water pressure. Note that kitchen flooding doesn’t necessarily stay in the kitchen: In one recent report, an overnight kitchen flood spread water damage throughout two-thirds of an entire residence. Keep up with the status of kitchen plumbing and appliances to reduce likelihood of these incidents. Here are three common causes of a kitchen flood:

Refrigerator Ice Maker

Most kitchen floods are caused by a broken refrigerator ice maker water supply line or connection.

  • Be careful when moving the refrigerator. The supply line may become kinked or break if the refrigerator is shoved too close to the wall. Conversely, if the refrigerator is pulled too far from the wall when cleaning behind it, the water line or connection could be over-stressed and may rupture.
  • The typical OEM plastic water supply line degrades and cracks. It’s a good idea to replace the inexpensive plastic with a copper or stainless steel line that offers better durability.


A dishwasher water line may slowly and silently degrade, leaking into the enclosed space underneath the appliance, then rupture entirely. Twice a year, remove the kick plate at the front of the dishwasher and inspect the space with a flashlight. Consider leaks or unexplained wetness a warning sign. Shut off the dishwasher water supply valve under the kitchen sink and call a plumber.

Under-Sink Systems

The cabinet beneath the kitchen sink may include water quality accessories such as canister filters or a reverse-osmosis filtration unit. A canister filter can leak around the seal or the canister itself may fail entirely, releasing water under pressure. A cracked plastic supply line from the sink cold water line to the reverse-osmosis filter unit and holding tank could also pose a risk of flooding. Inspect the system twice a year for signs of leakage or degradation of the plastic supply lines.

Ask the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc. for additional preventive measures to avert a damaging kitchen flood.

How an Unexpected Kitchen Flood Can Impact Your Home

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Because any number of water sources exist in your kitchen, the risks of a serious kitchen flood are considerable. From the hot and cold water supply lines to the dishwasher, to the icemaker and water filters, potential sources of water damage are everywhere.

dishwasher leakElectrical appliances, flooring, counters and cabinets, and even structural components are at risk from a kitchen flood. Water seeping behind cabinets and beneath molding into wall voids may spawn covert toxic mold growth that later becomes a household health issue.

Here are the usual suspects for a kitchen flood:

  • Water supply lines beneath the kitchen sink installed at original construction may not be high quality. These lines connecting the hot and cold water tap to shutoff valves may be plastic or some other material that degrades with age. A sudden supply line rupture can leak hundreds of gallons of water. Consider upgrading to higher quality stainless steel sink water supply lines.
  • Dishwasher water supply connections may work loose over the years from vibration. Because these lines and connections are out of sight, leakage that precedes a major failure may go unnoticed. The dishwasher itself can be an issue if a defective drain valve causes an overflow or corrosion spawns leaks in the dishwasher tub.
  • An icemaker leak will usually present as water flowing from a faulty fitting behind the refrigerator. Internal leaks can flood the interior of the refrigerator, seeping out through the door seal or inundate the kitchen when you open the door.
  • Water leakage at filtration canisters beneath the sink is most often the result of defective canister O-rings. While usually not a cause of acute water damage, chronic dripping from these sources can deteriorate cabinets and flooring and spawn mold growth.

For professional water damage recovery after a kitchen flood, contact Rytech, Inc. 

Image via