Water damaged wood can be difficult to repair. Even though most wood finishes protect the surface, it is still possible for the wood to become damaged by water. If you see white spots, stains, blushing or other surface discoloration, then the likelihood is that the wood is being attacked by water. The sooner you address such damage, the cheaper and more permanent any repair will be.
In this article I’ll look at a simple seven step process to repair water damaged wood. This can be used on external or internal wood, though I’d have to stress that if the damage is to a wooden beam, upright, or other piece that is providing structural support then you should call in the experts. For all other minor water damaged wood repairs, the following method may be the way to go.
Step 1: Remove rotting wood
Wood rots quickly when it gets damp and the water is allowed to seep in. Use a chisel to carefully remove any rotten wood, cutting out through to dry and hard inner surfaces.
Step 2: Use auto filler putty
Yes, that’s right, I said auto filler putty! Mix it up with hardening cream according to the instructions, and get prepared to see the magic happen.
Step 3: Fill the hole
It’s important to do this quickly, before the filler has time to set. Use a putty knife to push deep into the hole that you’ve cut out.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3
Work slowly and methodically, allowing the filler to dry each time, until you have completely filled the hole and the surface is slightly raised above the surrounding area.
Step 5: Sand to a smooth finish
Sand down to a smooth finish, level with the surrounding wood surface.
Step 6: Prime and paint
Prime the repair, and then paint to blend in with the surrounding color.
Step 7: Maintain your wood
Every six months or so, inspect all your wood surfaces and structures internally and externally. If repairs are needed, make them immediately.
Put in place a wood maintenance program, ensuring that paintwork is regularly refreshed. This will help to keep your wood safe from water damage. As well as looking good, you’ll suffer lower repair bills in the long run.
A word about wooden furniture and water damage
The above method of repairing water damaged wood is perfect for exterior platforms, verandas, and internal skirts and door frames. However, if you’ve got furniture that is water damaged, then you’ll need to use different approaches. You probably don’t want to start carving out chunks from an antique dining table, and then fill with auto filler!
While some people swear that cigarette ash is a substance that removes white spots from wood furniture, remember that ash is an abrasive. I’ve seen some almost irreparable damage caused by attempting a repair using cigarette ash.
My advice with furniture is the same as it is with structural wood, or widespread water damage (such as floors and walls). Don’t even think about how to repair water damaged wood in these cases – call an expert.
If you’re unsure if your water damaged wood is structural, give us a call. We’ll be pleased to give advice and a free quote.