restoring water damaged gym floor

The Ins and Outs of Restoring a Water Damaged Gym Floor

Water can significantly damage the structural integrity and functionality of a hardwood gym floor. A damaged gym can’t offer the same levels of comfort and protection players are used to.  Not to mention that such a floor becomes distorted and loses its polished, smooth look.  

A water-damaged gym floor becomes impractical, and in some cases, completely unusable.  On this page, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of restoring a water damaged gym floor.

What Causes Gym Floor Water Damage?

High indoor relative humidity, improper maintenance techniques such as wet mopping, and disasters like burst pipes and floods can lead to a damaged gym floor in your sports facility. 

When disaster strikes, it’s important to immediately clean up spills and water from your gym floor.  A quick fix will prevent water from seeping down in between the boards and destroying your floor entirely.

Buckling, cupping, and crowning from water damage

When hardwood floorboards absorb and then release moisture, they contract and expand. Excessive moisture leads to two common issues — cupping and crowning.  

Cupping is when the edges are forced to expand upward.  Crowning causes the floorboard to expand in the center due to the imbalance in moisture content.  Once hardwood expands in such a way, it cannot return to its original position.

In extreme cases and prolonged water exposure, your hardwood floorboards can even buckle. Buckling occurs when the boards pull up from the subfloor for several inches or more.  This makes the hardwood floor unusable and requires a gym floor replacement.

Within several minutes, water can leak between the boards and spread all over an area under your hardwood floor.  Suppose the water is black water, caused by a burst underground pipe or a flood.  In that case, it can also present a potential biohazard.  If it’s clean water, you don’t have to worry about this potential issue.  But, it’s still imperative to act on it immediately to minimize the damage.

How the Length of Exposure Affects Your Hardwood Floor

  • Water Damage Between One and 24 Hours — Within just one hour, water can begin to cause damage to your gym floor.  As the hours go by, it can seep between the boards and cause them to swell.
  • Water Damage up to Seven Days — After day one, the hardwood floorboards might start warping.  During this period, mold and mildew will begin appearing.
  • Water Damage After Seven or More Days — If water damage persists in your facility for over seven days, it could affect your entire gym’s structural integrity.  Mold remediation and other decontamination services might also be necessary.  If your facility has experienced such damage, you can expect a more protracted and more expensive restoration project.

Restoring a Water Damaged Gym Floor: Overview

The way you go about restoring a water-damaged gym floor will depend on the severity of the situation.  In some cases, if the water damage has only occurred in a small area, you can replace it and sand the floor to ensure uniformity.  

In other instances, you might have to replace the entire hardwood floor and dry your subfloor to ensure the best performance and longevity. Sanding and refinishing your floor can also be an opportunity to introduce a fresh design and create custom floor lettering, logos, or school symbols.


Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions circulating online on how to mitigate water damage.  The most common misconception includes using fans and dehumidifiers to reduce the moisture in the water-damaged floorboards.  While this may sound like a good idea in theory, it doesn’t work in practice.  

Once the wood soaks up an excessive amount of water, it can’t go back to normal.  While it won’t help restore the wood floor, this practice is still necessary to dry the concrete subfloor before repairing or replacing the floorboards. 

If there’s excessive water on your court, you can use a Shop-Vac to remove what you can before professional help arrives.  To ensure that your floor gets the best possible treatment, it’s always best to contact a trusted gym flooring contractor in New Jersey as soon as possible. They’ll know what the best solution is for your particular situation.

How Long Does Gym Floor Water Damage Restoration Take?

The time it will take to get your gym floor back in working condition will depend on how severe the water damage is.  It will also depend on the size of your sports facility.  For larger venues, it can take several months for the material to completely dry.  

With this in mind, it’s always best to immediately seek help from licensed gym flooring professionals.  The sooner you stop the leak and remove the water, the less time (and money) it will take to restore your sports facility.

Contact Us Today

Timing is key in addressing the issue of water damage.  Even with minor spills, it’s crucial to suction up the water and dry the area to avoid structural damage to the floor.  

When water sits on your hardwood floor for an extensive period, it can reach into the sublevels and cause significant problems.  Prolonged water exposure can lead to mildew and mold growth.  In such cases, it’s crucial to take all of the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the MFMA sport-specific standards.

Halting the source of water is the first step in minimizing the overall damage, and potentially saving your hardwood gym floor.  If your gym has experienced a water leak that has affected your hardwood floor, contact us immediately.  We’ll start with the water extraction process asap to reduce damage to your floor.  

Call us at (973) 801-7219. Or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation and request a proposal.