A few months after the attempt to fix the roof went nowhere and we had essentially forgotten about it, we noticed that slowly, over time, the kitchen floor was losing its quality. The main symptom was that the top layers of polyurethane were flaking off, exposing the wood. I assumed, since the floor was over eleven years old and was not ever quite the quality it claimed to be, that we were just reaching the end of the lifespan of low-end engineered flooring. The kitchen is the most traveled area of the house. It is the main hallway, entry to the garage, entry to the laundry room, kitchen, everything. So when the floor began to pucker, I did not initially think much of it. Then the area of damage kept growing. And growing into areas outside the walking area. It took weeks and weeks, as the floor changed almost imperceptibly, for us to be convinced that SOMETHING had to be happening aside from normal wear and tear. But what?
One night in late November, I went to the pantry and could barely get the door open. The floor was so swollen, the door scraped along and would not give way without a significant push. Now, over the years as the humidity waxes and wanes, the floor changes too. I have noticed this phenomenon. But never has the humidity expanded the door and floor in such a way that the door required force to open. Never. No, swelling like that could only mean one thing: water. And what was only two or three feet away? The refrigerator.
I insisted that we pull the fridge out that very night. Off came everything stored on top and out came the fridge from the wall. We peered into the corner to find that everything back there was soaking wet. Where was the water coming from? We stared and stared. We looked at the bottom of the fridge, but nothing pooled. We checked the water line entry into the wall, but nothing. We stared. We grabbed a flashlight and stared some more.
Then, in a moment, the flashlight gleamed off something at eye level. Dave ran his hand up the water line and there it was, barely perceptible to the eye. A tiny pinhole leak in the water line sprayed a tiny, but constant stream of water. It was so tiny, we could barely see it even while looking at it, but there it was. Water. Constant water. Not enough to pool and alert us to a problem, but enough to for the floor to soak it up and up and up. And it had been dousing the floor in water likely for months.
(Go check your water lines, friends.)