Chipboard is a wood product made from wood particle waste like chippings, shavings, and sawdust. It is a durable and attractive material that is popular because it’s affordable.
While not as structurally sound as plywood, chipboard is hugely functional with many uses in furniture making and construction.
However, this material is vulnerable to water. Wet chipboard is like Weetabix that has been left too long in milk – it turns to mush!
Wet chipboard flooring also has an unpleasant smell due to the chemicals in its mixture.
In this article, you’ll learn how to dry out chipboard flooring quickly, including the steps to take for a more permanent solution.
How to Dry Out Chipboard Flooring Quickly
You can take these quick steps to prevent further water damage to chipboard flooring.
Ventilate the House
Wet chipboard has an unpleasant smell that can make it unbearable to stay in your house. The material rapidly sucks water by capillary action, and in a few days, the fibers lose their structural integrity becoming swollen and distorted, releasing an unpleasant odor.
One of the first actions to take is to open the windows to let out the bad smell. Your property has to be adequately ventilated until the chipboard damage is fixed.
Get a Damp Meter
If you don’t know how to dry out chipboard flooring, get a damp or moisture meter. This meter is a device that helps to measure the amount of liquid in a given material.
Materials like chipboard flooring are water-sensitive, and a damp meter will let you know whether to go ahead with the repairs or change the entire chipboard flooring.
Use Absorbent Towels
An absorbent towel is not the final solution, but it can help reduce water damage. Extract as much liquid as you can from the chipboard surface surrounding the entire area with mops and absorbent towels.
The sooner you get the flooring to dry, the less likely the liquid will soak in and cause further damage.
Use a Humidifier
Damp chipboard flooring needs constant airflow to dry out the material. You can get a humidifier or fan, setting up three fans for every 100 square feet of water damage.
Position the fan at a 45-degree angle to rid the chipboard floor of moisture.
How to Dry Out Chipboard Flooring Completely
Chipboard flooring will rot and crumble if you only apply a quick fix solution. If you don’t know how to dry out chipboard flooring and you need a more permanent solution, follow these steps:
Use a sponge to mop up any visible liquid on the surface of the chipboard. Removing water in its liquid form is far more effective than evaporation.
Remove the nails and screw holding the chipboard flooring in place, using a screwdriver to take off the screws and a claw hammer to pry the nails out.
Lift the flooring out of its position, turn it over, and mop up any visible liquid on its underside.
Take the chipboard flooring to an airy dry environment where the moisture can naturally evaporate. Doing this may take 72–96 hours and depends on the moisture level in the chipboard floor.
Use a hairdryer to blow hot air over the chipboard flooring to hasten the drying process. A continuous stream of hot moving air will speed up the drying out process.
Use a dry scrub brush to remove any surface debris or dust that may have gotten free when the chipboard absorbed moisture.
Use a paintbrush to apply the water-repellent solution to the material. This action will make the chipboard flooring water resistant and prevent future liquid damage.
It will also make the flooring less conducive to mildew and mold. The edge of the flooring tends to retain most of the moisture, so make sure to apply a healthy dose of repellent to the edges and joints.
Continue to apply the water repellent until the flooring cannot absorb any more repellent.
Leave the treated chipboard flooring for 72 hours to ensure the water repellent is completely dry. Return the chipboard flooring to its previous position and fix it back in place.
Preventing Chipboard Flooring Water Damage
It may be hard to figure out how to dry out chipboard flooring, so your best bet is prevention. You can take precautionary steps to avoid chipboard water damage.
Install in Dry Areas
Firstly, you need to ensure you install chipboard floor only in places where contact with water is unlikely. For instance, you’ll be asking for trouble if you have chipboard flooring in the bathroom.
The material tends to swell and deform when exposed to high moisture levels.
No Holes in the Material
If possible, do not use nails or screws to install your chipboard floor. Because the material is made from wood particles and shavings, it can deform when you drill a hole through the flooring.
The small holes can also provide a pathway for liquid, allowing moisture to cause the flooring to rot. Do not place tiles directly on the material if you use chipboard for walls or floors. Ensure the chipboard material is completely sealed and protected to prevent moisture infiltration.
Provide Additional Protection
The use of chipboard in the bathroom walls, floors, or kitchen should be an option of last resort. However, if you use this material in these locations, you must ensure the chipboard is thoroughly sealed before painting or placing tiles.
Install a concrete board on top of the chipboard flooring to provide an extra layer of stability and protection from moisture damage.
While some chipboard flooring is water-resistant, you should not use chipboard for outdoor applications because the material cannot resist the moisture from snow and rainfall.
The best solution for chipboard flooring is to make sure it is always kept dry. Wet chipboard flooring will swell and expand due to the moisture intake, and the liquid it retains causes the material to break down and lose its structural integrity.
In most cases, it is a cheaper option to replace the affected parts before the water damage causes a more expensive problem.