The first step in removing moisture in any hardwood flooring is to understand where the moisture is coming from. In most cases the moisture is due to a leak in a door seal, flooding of some kind, dishwasher leaks, plumbing lines that lead to water sources or some kind of seasonal variation. The problem needs to be isolated and solved before any constructive reconstruction can happen. From here the area needs to be completely dried.
With excessive moisture, a call to a water extraction professional should be given high priority.
Not only will these professionals remove water but install industrial fans that will speed up the drying out process. Dehumidifiers are also helpful and should be used below the sub-floor in basements if applicable. This will help facilitate drying of the sub-floor if the amount of water is excessive. Properly drying of a hardwood floor may take a few weeks to two months. The longer drying period is necessary to remove moisture from underneath the flooring. In some cases, with proper drying, the floor will return to its original state with no signs of damage. In other cases, moisture from underneath is the primary reason for the rippling effect you may see, or what is often termed cupping. If “cupping” is still present after a few weeks of drying it is time to begin the tear out process. It is best to consult with an experienced floor finisher who can better asses your issue on a visit.
Moisture in hardwood flooring is not something to take lightly and it’s not recommended that you attempt to DIY. You will spend far less money by fixing the problem the first time. In most cases moisture has spread beneath your flooring over several linear feet. If any moisture is left behind, you will have molding along with cupping problems down the road. Water extraction professionals have special tools to measure the moisture content in the wood flooring which gives a better idea of how much flooring you will need to replace.