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Question DetailsAsked on 8/10/2016

Why is water seeping up through our laminate wood floor?

We have found a puddle of water in the office room of our house for the past week. There are no water spots in the ceiling and no evidence of water when looking in the attic above. The house is over 100 years old but the office room was an addition that is newer. We just bought the house last month so I cant say how old the addition is, but I wouldn't say more than 20-30 years old.

The office room has in floor heating which is making me think water could be leaking from one of those pipes. Is this sort of thing common? And what are the methods to fixing this? I haven't went to the length of pulling up the laminate flooring, but I think we are too the point where we need to.

Again there is no evidence of water coming from the ceiling and 9.9 out of 10 times that is the issue; so just hoping someone out there has some experience with this.

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2 Answers

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Wow - fancy office - has a pool in it ! (Sorry about that)


You said no leak from piping above, so rules that out.


Typical causes, in no particular order, though if you have in-floor heating tubing that is certainly a prime suspect in your case:


1) leaking in-floor heating system tubing/pipes are a common issue, particularly with PEX tubing or with copper tubing or fittings installed in concrete (a major no-no).


2) leaking windows or doors letting water run down the walls, exiting at the edge of the floor and getting under thewre, and flowing on subfloor to low point where it pools


3) ditto to above, but water from outside coming through or over foundation and under the wall to get under the floor


4) ditto to 2) but leaking water pipe in a wall


5) high groundwater under a slab (on-grade or much more commonly in basement) coming up through the slab and pooling


6) blocked basement underdrains or failed sump pump, resulting in higher water level under slab leading to 5) above


You certainly need to tie this down because typically in a few days mildew/mold will set in - and a day or more of saturation will likely ruin the laminate flooring unless it is 100% vinyl.


To fix it - find the leak and fix it, and typically remove the flooring to dry out and mold-treat the wetted area (to remove mold or to prevent growth, as applicable) - commonly gets into enough $ that an insurance claim is in order. HOWEVER - most insurance policies do NOT cover leaks from surface or groundwater, only broken piping - so don't make a claim until the cause has been found, because even if they do not pay on a claim it will commonly raise your rates.


Of course, if the floor has a crawlspace or basement under it there should be leakage occurring there in the piping if that is the source.


If in-slab heating, you could get a plumber to come with a portable compressor and drain that loop and hook into the in-floor heating tubing and run compressed air through it at not more than heating system water pressure, listening at the floor (stethoscope would be useful here) to hear if there is a leak and where - might even appear as bubbles in your "pool" though those would not be a reliable indicator of where the leak actually is - could be many feet away and running under the flooring before it pools in a low spot.


Another detection method would be to run the heating system and use a thermal infrared camera rented from Home Depot or tool rental place or some auto parts stores for about $75/day or sometimes $40 or so for half day, and scan the floor for where the water is popping up. Would want to start with a cold floor and then, while scanning, have it start operating to show the spread of the heat in the tubing and eventually at the leak point. If a groundwater or rainwater leak floor scan would show tubing locations but otherwise no spread of hot water as it operates. Scanning should also show if it is coming in from rain or surface water infiltration - wet areas in walls show up pretty well.


Of course, rainwater leakage at windows or doors can be tied to the pool appearing during or tight after rainstorms.


To fix if in-floor leak - dig up enough area to fix it, or abandon it in place.


If window or door leak then a repair by a Window or Door contractor or possibly Siding contractor (if getting in around the flashing and frame perimeter seals).


If groundwater or surface water, lots of previous questions with answers about solving basement infiltration or surface water infiltration issues can be found in the Home > Basement Waterproofing link in Browse Projects, at lower left. Starting with making sure gutters and downspouts are getting the roof runoff well away from the house.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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Answered 2 years ago by Member Services




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