Whether it was a bathtub leak or a sudden plumbing disaster, when you've got water all over your bathroom floor, it's important to get it cleaned up as soon as possible. Water can cause more damage the longer it is allowed to soak into a surface. And eventually, in addition to the possible structural damage to the floor and subfloor, there's also the danger of mold.
Because the bathroom is a humid environment, it's one of mold's favorite household locations. That's why acting fast is especially important in the bathroom; it won't take long for wet areas to turn into areas of mold or mildew. So how can you get rid of the water properly to prevent mold – and what should you do if you spot some?
If you've got standing water, then it doesn't matter what type of floor you have – you need to take care of the water first. Small amounts of water can be soaked up with a mop; for larger amounts, you'll need to vacuum up the water. Don't bother trying to use your regular vacuum cleaner for this, as you'll only damage it. Instead, rent a wet/dry vacuum to get rid of large amounts of water or hire a water damage restoration company at http://www.waterdamage702.com.
If you have a tile floor, you're in luck – almost all tile surfaces are non-porous, which means the water won't be soaking down through the tiles. Once you've mopped or vacuumed up the water on the surface, you might be all done. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are non-porous; natural stone tiles should have been sealed during installation.
If you do find mold growth on tile, the fact that it's non-porous will come in handy again. Small amounts of mold can be cleaned from tile surfaces with bleach and water. However, if you notice mold recurring on tile or you have large amounts of mold growth, it's time to call in a professional.
Unlike tile, wood floors are porous and very susceptible to water damage. More people are installing wood floors in their bathrooms, relying on sealing the wood to protect it from everyday bathroom humidity. But while the sealant gives you time to clean up water, acting quickly is still crucial to preventing problems down the line. Never allow water on a wood floor to simply dry by itself; while some of the water will evaporate into the air, more water is soaking down into the wood.
Wood floors that have been soaked with water will buckle and distort, and they are a prime location for mold to grow. Water damage restoration companies have access to specialized equipment for drying out wood floors, such as industrial dehumidifiers and special vacuum mats that suck the moisture out through the surface of the wood. So if your wood floor had water on it for any length of time, it's best to call in professionals.
And if you do find mold growth on a wood floor, don't try to tackle it yourself. Porous wood floors mean that mold on the surface is just the tip of the iceberg; it's very likely that you have mold throughout the wood and possibly down into the subfloor.