Flooring can sometimes be strongly affected by water. Whether it's a spill that sits too long, or a spot where the rain gets in, or even a flood, sometimes it's hard to protect our carefully chosen floor. No matter how careful we are, water damage happens. It can come as a crazy surprise from a leaky pipe or some other sneaky culprit. Some floors are more resilient than others, but there are ways to protect every kind of flooring.
Vinyl flooring can get damaged if the concrete was not sufficiently dry when it was installed. Also be sure to seal out any moisture from various fixtures – especially the wax ring on the toilet. Clean with specially formulated cleaners.
Laminate is famously prone to water damage. If water gets in, it can cause the laminate to swell. It's especially vulnerable if you live in a humid environment, like Florida. There are various solutions to this. One, be sure to wipe up spills right away. Two, purchase waterproof laminate when initially laying down the floor. Three, when installing, seal the gaps between the pieces of laminate. Putting caulk between the laminate and house fixtures will do a similar job. If you already have laminate down and it's not waterproof, there are waterproofing treatments you can apply.
Hardwood can also use a sealant to protect it. Remember, these treatments must be redone every year or few years, depending on the type of sealant you use. Using rugs at exterior entrances helps prevent water from tracking in. Also be sure to use special cleaning fluids when cleaning the floor instead of just water.
Tile itself isn't very prone to water damage, so it may be easy to overlook protecting your tile floors. But grout can wear down over time, and water can get in, making your tiles looser and more unstable. If a tile has broken due to a heavy object being dropped on it, these cracks can also let moisture in underneath. Be sure to reseal grout regularly, especially near the sinks and tubs. If you notice any cracks, you can caulk it to prevent the problem from causing even more damage.
Consider getting a dehumidifying and keeping the fans running. Using a steam cleaner can also be helpful, especially with water damage that may already exist, or right after an accident involving water.