Don’t have floorboards in the kitchen, they said

Shortly after buying our house we went shopping for decoration materials. We wanted floorboards in all the rooms on the ground floor so that it was a seamless polished wood surface from the front door all the way into the kitchen at the back. That wish went against the general wisdom of not laying wood flooring in rooms where there is potential for liquid spills. So we bought the best quality product that was available just to be safe. It was industrial grade, suitable for high traffic, and guaranteed to last for ten years—a lifetime away, we thought. That was 16 years ago.

The inlet hose to the washing machine under the kitchen counter started leaking. The trickle did not flow to the front where we would have seen it but instead found its way between the wall skirting and the floorboards to soak into the sponge-like underlay material. So all the time the leak was developing, the water was accumulating under the floor. The underlay eventually reached saturation point, and water started seeping through the floor joints until the kitchen floor was truly flooded.

I fixed the leak, cleaned the floor, and ran the dehumidifier. Fortunately, the boards are not too deformed; there are two small bulges in front of the washing machine – could we conceal them with a mat? – and there is some swelling on one side panel of the kitchen cabinet where it was in contact with the leakage.

The damage is not costly enough for us to claim on insurance, but it makes one more problem to address.

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