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Restoration tip to help salvage wooden furniture after a flood

A flood plays havoc with furniture. You’ll need to decide which pieces can be salvaged, and which must be trashed. The decision will depend upon several factors, including:

  • The value of the furniture
  • The extent of the damage
  • The cost of restoration

You might also consider the sentimental value of your water damaged furniture. A chest of drawers that is the sole reminder of a departed parent may be worth restoring at any cost. This said, it’s worth pointing out that restoring wood veneer furniture will often cost more than simply replacing it.

In this article, you’ll learn the basics of restoring water damaged wood furniture.

What damage does water do to wood furniture?

The type of damage that water has caused will dictate what work needs to be done to salvage the piece of furniture. Your wood furniture may be:

  • Stained
  • Warped
  • Cracked
  • Swollen

The longer it is submerged, the more damage there will be.

Dry the furniture

The first step is to dry the furniture. You mustn’t rush this. Water often swells wood. If you dry it out too quickly, it will shrink, crack, and warp.

If drawers and doors are swollen, don’t force them open – you’ll do more damage. Instead, carefully remove the back of the furniture, and allow the air to circulate and dry steadily.

Removing water spots

You may be able to remove water spots by gently rubbing with a damp cloth dipped in turpentine. Don’t leave the solution to dry, but instead wipe dry. The color of the wood should be restored, but if it isn’t, you will need to use the following method:

  • Dip fine steel wool in olive oil
  • Rub the stain very gently along the grain
  • Wipe with a clean, soft cloth
  • Polish with wax

For severely damaged wood furniture

More severely damaged wood furniture takes much more work to restore, especially if it has been under water for a few days and become swollen. Take these steps to salvage from this damage:

  1. Rinse off any debris.
  2. Remove back panels.
  3. If drawers and doors can be removed easily, do so.
  4. Let the air circulate to dry out the furniture – it’s important to dry the furniture naturally.
  5. Use fans to ensure air circulation.
  6. Use dehumidifiers to regulate humidity.
  7. If you are drying furniture outside, do not allow the furniture to dry in direct sunlight.

Drying out wooden furniture can take several weeks. You’ll need the room to allow the furniture to dry properly. Only when the furniture is dry can you properly assess real damage and take steps to restore it to its former glory.

You will probably need to use specialist tools to make good the restoration. If you don’t have the knowledge and experience of restoring water damaged and swollen wood furniture, nor the tools, space, and time to do so, it is best to get a furniture restoration expert to do the job. Especially if it is that one piece of furniture that is irreplaceable.

If your home has been flooded in the NJ area, contact Porter's Cleaning. We’ll provide a free, no-obligation quote, advice which furniture can be saved and restored, and how long it may take to do so.

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