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The Home Depot

Home Guide to Waterproofing Wood

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Carpentry > Home Guide to Waterproofing Wood
Home Guide to Waterproofing Wood

Whether you have just purchased your home or have lived in it for many years, you want to ensure that it is mold-free and safe for your family. Often exposed decks, basements, and entry ways have wooden floors that are exposed to water. If water seeps into the floor, then it can lead to the growth of mold and mildew or cause the wood to rot. The presence of mold and mildew in your home can lead to respiratory illnesses, while a rotten floor can be unsightly and expensive to replace.

  1. 1.The Threats from Mold

    The University of Illinois says exposure to mold can lead to respiratory problems, cold-like symptoms, watery eyes, and skin irritation.

    According to the University of Illinois exposure to mold can lead to respiratory problems, cause cold-like symptoms, watery eyes, and skin irritation.


    The best way to ensure that your wooden floors do not rot easily or attract mold and mildew is to waterproof them at regular intervals. While a new wooden floor needs to be waterproofed as soon as possible, with older floors you need to conduct a splash test. Just splash some water on the floor and see whether the water is absorbed quickly or if it beads up. If the water is absorbed, then you need to apply a fresh coat of waterproof over the floor.


    Follow the steps given below to quickly waterproof your deck or entryway.

  2. 2.Clean Thoroughly

    First clean the floor completely. Begin by seeping up dirt, debris, dead bugs, and dust. Then vacuum the floor before you mop it with a slightly damp cloth. This will ensure that the floor is free of even minute particles of dust that can affect the final finish.

  3. 3.Inspect for Stains and Remove Them

    Once the floor is clean, inspect it for any stains and remove them. While light satins can possibly be cleaned by you, if you encounter a stubborn stain, you may want to get a professional wood staining and waterproofing contractor involved because this project could have entered a stage that is beyond your capability and expertise. Incorrectly applied stain removers can bleach the wood or warp it, making it necessary to replace the floor.

  4. 4.Caulk Small Dents

    A wooden floor in heavy traffic areas is likely to have scuff marks as well as small dents. Apply caulk to fill the dents and make the floor smooth.

  5. 5.Ensure Ventilation

    Before you actually apply the water proofing agents, ensure that the entryway is ventilated. Open the door or windows to enable fumes to escape.

  7. 6.Application Process

    Once the floor is prepared, empty the water-based polyurethane water proofing solution into a bucket. Attach a foam applicator to a mop handle and dip it into the bucket. Use vertical strokes to apply the solution evenly over the floor.

  8. 7.Drying Time

    A water proofing solution will normally dry within three hours. During this time, ensure that people or pets do not step on the treated surface.

  9. 8.Multiple Coats

    To ensure proper water proofing of your deck or entry way, you will need to apply at least three coats. Ensure a three hour gap between coats to enable the water proofing solution to cover the surface effectively.

  10. 9.Final Check

    After you have applied three coats of water proof and let it dry, conduct the splash test again to check that the wooden floor is truly water proof now.


    While a home owner can apply a water proof solution over a wooden floor in remarkable condition, sometimes, exposed decks and high traffic entry ways are already worn out. The wooden floor can be stained, warped, dented, or slightly damaged by water. In such cases, the wooden floor needs to be treated, the stains removed, the dents sealed, and the dampness dried before the water proofing solution can be applied. If the work involved is time consuming or complicated, do not hesitate to call professional wood waterproofing contractors found online to restore your wooden floor and do your due diligence before giving the nod of approval to one of them.

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