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Author Topic: Huge washing machine disaster - floorboards very wet - help!  (Read 7636 times)
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« Topic Start: September 29, 2007, 05:32:59 am »

My grandmother lives in a really old house with no washer/dryer hookups.  She's got this setup where the washer drains through a hose that you put in the shower.  Works fine, usually.

Except that I am a giant idiot and forgot to put the hose back in the shower after I used it, and the whole machine drained out onto the floor, twice (wash and rinse), and the water soaked all the way down to the basement, which I just finished mopping.

Now I'm worried about the floor.  The linoleum feels funny in two places, like the wood under it's gone a bit squishy.  I don't know anything about floorboards or house stuff, and now I'm worried the bathroom's going to collapse or something.  Also my grandmother's coming back home today at 5:00pm EST from a visit to my dad's, so this'll be a surprise for her. Tongue

So far I have mopped the bathroom and run the fan until it dried, mopped the basement, and washed all the mats, though they don't look too good.  Anything else I can do?
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« Reply #1: September 29, 2007, 07:52:10 am »

My grandmother lives in a really old house with no washer/dryer hookups.  She's got this setup where the washer drains through a hose that you put in the shower.  Works fine, usually.

Except that I am a giant idiot and forgot to put the hose back in the shower after I used it, and the whole machine drained out onto the floor, twice (wash and rinse), and the water soaked all the way down to the basement, which I just finished mopping.

Now I'm worried about the floor.  The linoleum feels funny in two places, like the wood under it's gone a bit squishy.  I don't know anything about floorboards or house stuff, and now I'm worried the bathroom's going to collapse or something.  Also my grandmother's coming back home today at 5:00pm EST from a visit to my dad's, so this'll be a surprise for her. Tongue

So far I have mopped the bathroom and run the fan until it dried, mopped the basement, and washed all the mats, though they don't look too good.  Anything else I can do?

Not something I've had to deal with, but it sounds like you're doing the more cosmetic stuff. What it sounds like is the linoleum is going to have to come up so those floorboards can dry out. The problem is going to be the wood buckling that can happen. And, yeah, the integrity of the boards might be compromised. All I can suggest right now is pulling up the linoleum and getting a fan in there to dry it out. And that takes time. Until that happens it's going to be hard to say what the outcome will be. One thing you're going to need, though, is someone who can come in and assess the problem once the drying out has happened. And you can probably kiss the flooring goodbye. Sad
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« Reply #2: September 29, 2007, 10:34:34 am »

All I can suggest right now is pulling up the linoleum and getting a fan in there to dry it out.

Ugh, I was afraid someone was going to say that. Sad Unfortunately the linoleum is in one big sheet, and the washer and dryer are on top of it, so I am not sure I can get them out of there and pull it up without help.  I'll have a look at it though, as I was hoping I could sort this all out before my gram comes back.

I did have one bright spot in that I managed to borrow a dehumidifier for the basement.  Hopefully that'll have some effect on the floor above as well.
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« Reply #3: September 29, 2007, 10:44:08 am »

So far I have mopped the bathroom and run the fan until it dried, mopped the basement, and washed all the mats, though they don't look too good.  Anything else I can do?

As Lyric said, the best thing you can do would be to remove the linoleum and let the floor dry out. Other than plaster or sheetrock, soaking the floor once once won't cause the floor to collapse. Leaving it wet without drying out however, can cause the wood to rot or grow lots of nasty mold. Also, you need to be careful because depending on what's under that area there could be electrical junction boxes for lights or whatever.
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« Reply #4: September 29, 2007, 11:06:20 am »

Also, you need to be careful because depending on what's under that area there could be electrical junction boxes for lights or whatever.

Well, one advantage of an old old house is that power points are scarce!  Tongue  I'm trying to get ahold of my father now to see what he says about taking up the linoleum.  It's pretty ratty so maybe I can take it up in pieces and replace it with new.  I'll ask him about the electricity as well.
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« Reply #5: September 29, 2007, 12:03:19 pm »

My grandmother lives in a really old house with no washer/dryer hookups.  She's got this setup where the washer drains through a hose that you put in the shower.  Works fine, usually.

Except that I am a giant idiot and forgot to put the hose back in the shower after I used it, and the whole machine drained out onto the floor, twice (wash and rinse), and the water soaked all the way down to the basement, which I just finished mopping.

Now I'm worried about the floor.  The linoleum feels funny in two places, like the wood under it's gone a bit squishy.  I don't know anything about floorboards or house stuff, and now I'm worried the bathroom's going to collapse or something.  Also my grandmother's coming back home today at 5:00pm EST from a visit to my dad's, so this'll be a surprise for her. Tongue

So far I have mopped the bathroom and run the fan until it dried, mopped the basement, and washed all the mats, though they don't look too good.  Anything else I can do?

Is the wood floor open to the basement from underneath?  If so, it could dry that way.  If not, any sheetrock and insulation needs to come out.
And maybe the floor was already going from this problem before you added to it.
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« Reply #6: September 29, 2007, 12:31:51 pm »

Is the wood floor open to the basement from underneath?  If so, it could dry that way.

Yes, there's not a even speck of insulation down there!  I could reach up and feel the damp boards.  The dehumidifier's only been running for about two hours, but later I will check and see if there is any improvement.  Smiley  Still haven't got ahold of Dad to get his opinion.

And maybe the floor was already going from this problem before you added to it.

My aunt, who lent me the dehumidifier, pointed out that the washing machine setup is rather weird, and so I am probably not the first person to have done this.  I can only hope; I would feel a bit less stupid if I wasn't the first!   Roll Eyes
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« Reply #7: September 29, 2007, 12:45:32 pm »

Anything else I can do?

Aside from what everyone else has already suggested, you might rent a big exhaust fan to get the air moving a bit.  Stagnation is mold's best friend.

Brina
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« Reply #8: September 29, 2007, 12:52:33 pm »

Aside from what everyone else has already suggested, you might rent a big exhaust fan to get the air moving a bit.  Stagnation is mold's best friend.

Can I get that from Home Depot?  I foresee a visit there very soon...  Roll Eyes  Right now there's a regular fan in there, dunno how much that's doing.  Ooh, but there's a window fan upstairs, I can put that in for now.

And a general update, I finally talked to my dad, who assured me that Gram has herself done this on more than one occasion.  He also said the linoleum definitely needs to be replaced anyway, and is not even glued down!  So as soon as my grandmother gets home I'll be cutting out the bits over the wet spots, and the whole thing comes out as soon as my BIL can get over here and help me move the appliances.
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« Reply #9: September 30, 2007, 08:21:25 am »

Can I get that from Home Depot?  I foresee a visit there very soon...  Roll Eyes  Right now there's a regular fan in there, dunno how much that's doing.  Ooh, but there's a window fan upstairs, I can put that in for now.

And a general update, I finally talked to my dad, who assured me that Gram has herself done this on more than one occasion.  He also said the linoleum definitely needs to be replaced anyway, and is not even glued down!  So as soon as my grandmother gets home I'll be cutting out the bits over the wet spots, and the whole thing comes out as soon as my BIL can get over here and help me move the appliances.

Linoleum tiles at home depot are not very expensive.  You could prolly redo gram's whole floor for her once it all dries out, pretty cheaply.  They also have lots of pretty patterns that look like other materials (tile, stone, etc)  Mebbe you could throw down some plywood between over the other floorboards and the new linoleum, cause methinks you might find a lot of old damage under that old linoleum.

You can rent pretty much anything at home depot.
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« Reply #10: September 30, 2007, 04:24:42 pm »

Can I get that from Home Depot?  I foresee a visit there very soon...  Roll Eyes  Right now there's a regular fan in there, dunno how much that's doing.  Ooh, but there's a window fan upstairs, I can put that in for now.

I'm guessing they probably rent them or sell them.  They definitely move a lot more air than a typical house fan.

Brina
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« Reply #11: October 03, 2007, 12:49:49 am »


So Gram came home and it turns out the bathroom has been flooded many times before, which is apparently why the linoleum is not glued down.  It does mostly dry from below, and a little application of the hair dryer under the linoleum takes care of the top.  Roll Eyes  I'm going to replace it all anyway, and fix the washing machine hose so this doesn't happen any more.

Thanks for all of the suggestions; I was in such a panic, and it was so late here, I had no idea who else to ask.  I'll put up some pictures when the remodeling's done.  Smiley
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« Reply #12: October 03, 2007, 08:58:32 am »

So Gram came home and it turns out the bathroom has been flooded many times before, which is apparently why the linoleum is not glued down.

I'm glad it did not turn out to be quite the major disaster repair-wise it could have been.
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« Reply #13: October 03, 2007, 10:07:44 am »

Thanks for all of the suggestions; I was in such a panic, and it was so late here, I had no idea who else to ask.  I'll put up some pictures when the remodeling's done.  Smiley

Good to know you're not in the dog house over this one. Smiley

Is there anyway of getting that washing machine down onto the first floor (or basement)? What you just went through is one of the main reasons to have a huge water making appliance down on a floor that's solid underneath. I'd be scared to death to have it on an upper floor.
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« Reply #14: October 03, 2007, 12:33:40 pm »

Is there anyway of getting that washing machine down onto the first floor (or basement)?

Not really.  It's on the first floor now, and below is really more of a cellar than a basement.  The outflow pipe is at ceiling level down there, so I'm not sure you could even install the machine properly, plus I think it would make it a major pain for my grandmother to do her laundry.  Undecided She lives here by herself usually.

My plan is to attach the hose into the shower in such a way that it can be pulled out of the way, but not completely out, so if it's forgotten she just has a dirty shower and not a flood.  The machine itself is new and shouldn't flood for any other reason, I don't think.
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