Water damage is one of the greatest problems that can happen to a property, but luckily, water damage on wooden furniture is often reversible. As with other water damaged items, expediting the drying process is important. The following frequently asked questions and answers will help you determine whether or not your wooden furniture can be saved, and how it can be done.
Can flood-damaged wood furniture be saved?
Yes, flood-damaged wood furniture can often be saved, provided that it's properly dried after being removed from the flood waters, and then refinished.
What's the procedure for saving water-damaged wood furniture?
To dry the furniture, don't set the piece in the sun. Putting the furniture in the sun can cause the wood to dry too quickly and can result in the wood becoming warped and cracked. Instead, put it in a location where the humidity is low, out of direct sunlight, and where the temperature is moderate. If the piece of furniture has an inside area (like a wooden cabinet), sprinkle the inside with baking soda and leaves the doors open to absorb the moisture.
Allow the furniture to dry for several days before attempting to fix it. Once the outside has dried, you may notice a layer of white moisture droplets trapped beneath the varnish over the wood. This is the moisture that has penetrated the sealant and is on top of the wood. This layer of moisture can only be removed by stripping off the varnish. To remove the finish, use a solvent-based chemical stripper and follow all manufacturer's instructions.
Once the varnish has been removed, allow the wood to dry for several more days before sanding down the wood then re-applying stain and wood varnish.
What should you do if the wood is moldy?
If the wood has begun to mold, let the furniture dry for several days (as described above), then use the chemical stripper to remove the varnish or finish. When the varnish has been removed, scrub the mold with a stiff-bristled brush dipped in a solution of equal parts bleach and water. Doing this will help kill the bacteria. Next, sand off the mold to the best of your ability. If spots of mold remain visible on the wood, consider refinishing the furniture with a dark enough stain that the mold will not be noticeable when the furniture is refinished. Allow the furniture to dry for several days then apply stain and wood varnish.
If the mold goes too deep to sand off, or if the mold is spread out over the majority of the piece of furniture, contact a water damage repair company (like Complete Restoration Services or a similar location) for assistance.