How to Fix Water Damaged Swollen Wood Furniture: Easy Method
Water-related damages are a real nuisance, especially if you are dealing with wooden furniture. Whether due to flooding, or a pipe explosion in the basement, if your furniture sits in the water even for a small while, you are in a whole world of trouble.
If you are lucky, the damage might not be too severe, and you can just head on with your daily life.
However, if you are not, then get ready to take out your wallet because you need a new set of furniture. But what if there was a way you could restore your damaged products?
Yes, you heard it right. In this article, we will have an in-depth discussion on how you can fix your water damaged swollen wood furniture at home and at relatively no cost.
Is It Worth Fixing Water Damaged Swollen Wood Furniture?
Many people, when their furniture is damaged due to water exposure, wonder if it is worth taking the hassle to restore it rather than buying a new one.
In some cases, yes, restoring an old piece of furniture does end up costing you more than buying a new one. However, a piece of furniture is much more than just what it cost you to buy.
Although replacing may be a rather viable option, some pieces of furniture may hold a kind of sentimental value to you.
An old chest of drawers passed down in the family might be worth restoring even if it takes a lot of effort on your part since it would no doubt hold more value to you than normal.
Again, if the extent of damage is not too severe, then taking some time out of your schedule to restore it may end up saving you a lot of money.
As you would see in our guide section below, you can actually take care of some of the water damages yourself without too much trouble.
However, if it does not hold any sentimental value to you, and the damage is too severe, you would probably be better off buying a new one.
With substantial damages, you might even have to hire a professional to deal with it, which in turn, will also require you to shell out big bucks. In the end, it is just not worth the hassle.
How to Fix Water Damaged Swollen Wood Furniture?
Water damages may lead to many different situations in your wood furnitures. We have listed some of the most common issues that you might face and laid out the guidelines for you so that you can follow along easily.
By reading all the steps, you should be able to handle whatever problems you face while fixing the furniture.
Always remember to let the furniture dry thoroughly before starting the repairs. It is best not to rush this since if the wood dries too quickly, it might crack.
So do not go ham with a hairdryer, instead place it in direct sunlight and wait for at least 24 hours to allow it to dry completely.
Step 1: Removing Molds and Mildew From Swollen Furniture
One of the first things that you need to worry about if your furniture was exposed to water is molds.
Especially if your furniture was left under or beside a leaky pipe, molds are a likely scenario. If your skin comes in contact with it, it might cause skin rashes, eye irritation, and a plethora of other complexities.
Molds are quite easy to detect. If you notice any small black or white spots on the furniture, it means you have a mold problem. Thankfully, removing it is not that difficult. Here are a few things that you would need to remove molds and mildew from your furniture.
Things You Need:
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Half a bucket of water
- Mild Liquid detergent
- A scrubbing brush
- Garden hose
Way To Remove Molds And Mildew From Furniture:
- Before you get to work on repairs, make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear. That includes gloves, goggles, and proper dress to prevent any risk of injury. You might need to work with different chemicals, depending on the extent of the damage. And without proper safety gear, you might harm your skin.
- Then you need to check if any mold or mildew is growing on the furniture. It is very common if the piece of furniture had prolonged exposure to water. In the case of molds, take the furniture outside to clean it. You do not want any of it to wash off inside your house and cause a mess.
- Take half a bucket of warm water and add two cups of bleach in it. Then add another three cups of liquid detergent and stir it well with a stick. Using a scrub brush, take the solution, and clean the furniture.
- It is important to be thorough when scrubbing to get rid of all the molds. When you are done, wash it off with a garden hose and leave the furniture out to dry.
Step 2: Removing Water Stains From Wood Furniture
You might notice water stains on your furniture if it was exposed to water even for a small period. It can affect the overall outlook of the product and also speed up wearing in the wood if not dealt with properly.
If left unchecked, the stain might spread inside the wood, and that would make it more difficult to get rid of. Water stains may even develop if you left a warm cup of coffee on a table without using a coaster.
Yes, it might be annoying to handle all the time, but you should handle it if you care about the look of your furniture. With the following few items at hand, you can easily remove water stains from your furniture.
Things You Need:
- Wood furniture cleaner
- Orange oil. Optional: Mayonnaise or salad dressing oil
- Microfiber white cloth and a clean paintbrush
- Electric Sander and Sandpaper: 100-150 grit, 220 grit
Way To Remove Water Stains:
- In the case of water stains, you could use wood furniture cleaner to remove it. Apply the solution on a microfiber cloth and add a few drops of orange oil to the mix.
- Then gently rub it on the furniture in a clockwise motion until the stain starts disappearing. It will take some time, so you need to be patient.
- If, for some reason, the stain does not come off, you could go for mayonnaise or salad oil dressing instead. Rub the wood well with the soft cloth until the stain lifts.
- Then you can simply remove the excess oil using the wood cleaner. A word of advice; try using a white cloth as it will allow you to track if it is working.
- If the stain is persistent and does not want to come off, you need to use an electric sander and sand it off. A 220-grit sandpaper works wonders in removing water stains. Before you start, make sure to open all the windows for ventilation, and wear a dust mask and safety goggles to protect against wood dust.
- Your direction of sanding must be in the direction of the wood grain. Otherwise, you might mess up the look of the furniture. Start sanding on the areas damaged by water.
- When you remove the stains, move on to sanding the other parts to even out the finish. Keep a clean paintbrush at hand to remove wood dust.
Step 3: Removing Deep-set Stains
Remember when we said how water stains could lead to something more annoying if you do not deal with it early? This is something we call deep-set stains when the water stains get into the inner layers of the wood. It takes some time and effort on your part to remove it completely.
You should tread with caution when dealing with deep stains as it might end up ruining your furniture altogether.
But if you are careful and have a steady hand, you should be able to handle it without too much hassle. Here are a few things that you need to remove deep-set stains from your furniture.
Things You Need:
- A chemical stripping agent
- Two clean paintbrushes
- Sandpaper of 100 to 150 grit
- A scraping tool
How To Remove Deep-Set Stains From Furniture:
- For this process, you would need a chemical stripping agent. If your furniture develops deep stains, a stripping agent is the best way to remove it. Otherwise, you would have to sand it and remove layers after layers of wood. Since it might end up destroying your furniture, a chemical stripping agent really comes in handy.
- Take a clean paintbrush and soak it in the stripping agent. Then, gently apply it to the surface in a smooth motion. After a while, you will start to notice bubbles on the surface. That is when you will understand that the chemical agent started to oxidize.
- Scrape the surface of the furniture using a scraping tool slowly and steadily. When it is done, you can simply use the sandpaper to remove the excess stripping agent. Wipe off the remaining wood dust with a paintbrush. Voila, no more deep-set stains to ruin the perfect finish of your furniture.
Step 4: Repairing Water Damaged Furniture
Apart from the issues mentioned above, your furniture might straight-up break due to taking in excessive water. The joints may come loose, and the wood may lose its integrity, which could lead the furniture to break. These sorts of incidents are very common after a flood.
It is very unfortunate when that happens, but thankfully can be fixed by a skilled hand. Make no mistake; it will not be a walk in the park and would take you a lot of time and effort to bring the furniture back from this state. That being said, here is what you would need to fix water damaged furniture.
Things You Need:
- Wood glue
- 150 grit sandpaper
- Waterproof stain and paint
- Wood varnish
- epoxy resin for wood
Way to Fix Water Damaged Furniture:
- Start by joining the loose parts of the furniture with wood glue. If you find any old glue in them, you can remove it using the sandpaper. To get on the inside of the joints, roll up the sandpaper and remove the wood dust using a paintbrush.
- With the joints prepped, place glue inside and reattach it. Use a clamp to hold it in place and leave it to dry throughout the night. For hard to reach corners, you could use epoxy wood glue as they have faster drying time.
- Once everything dries, you need to stain the wood. Using a waterproof stain will protect the wood from future water damages. Spread the stain evenly across the furniture using a paintbrush.
- After that, you can start painting it using latex enamel-based paint. Apply two coats of stain or paint. Make sure the first coat dries completely before applying the next.
- The wood varnish that you choose should repel both insects and water. When the paint dries completely, proceed to apply two coats of varnish similar to how you applied the stain or paint.
Essential Tips to Protect Your Furniture from Future Water Damage
Now that you know how you can restore your furniture; you should feel confident about fixing it in case it gets damaged. However, that does not mean that you should not do everything in your power to prevent it.
Precaution is better than prevention when it comes to dealing with water damage. So, if you can help it, your first priority should be to take all the measures to ensure your furniture is safe from water damage.
We understand that you cannot stop it all the time, and that is where our guide on fixing furniture comes into play. That being said, here are some of the steps that you can take to minimize your furniture’s exposure to water damage.
- Always use coasters when placing a glass of liquid on a table. It will prevent unnecessary water stains.
- Using a tablecloth also goes a long way in protecting the table against stains.
- Try to place your furniture in a place that gets a good amount of sunlight.
- Check for any plumbing problems or pipe leakages in the apartment regularly.
- Ensure that all the rooms are well-ventilated to prevent moisture.
- Close the windows during heavy rainfall.
- Regularly inspect your toilet for clogs.
- Do not leave the water running overnight. Check every faucet before sleeping.
- If your house is flooded, try to get rid of some of the water using a bucket.
- Use plastic wraps on furniture if you are going away for a long time. It also comes in handy to protect your furniture from water in an emergency situation.
- Keep the gutters and drains unclogged to let water flow freely during heavy rainfall.
- When buying a new house, check for water usage records. That could give you an idea of any potential leaky pipes in the house.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What damage does water to furniture?
Water can cause different effects on the wood, depending on how long it was exposed to it. The most common symptoms of water damages are staining on the wood, and warping, swelling or cracking of wood.
2. Are molds in the furniture toxic?
Yes, molds that develop in the wood due to exposure to water can release spores that, when inhaled, can be toxic to humans. If you are someone with previous problems due to allergy, it is very harmful to you. So, if you detect any mold developing on the furniture surface, you need to address it immediately.
3. How long should I leave mayonnaise on the wood when removing water stains?
Ideally, you would want to leave the mayonnaise on for around 15 minutes before rinsing and wiping it off.
4. Can I use vinegar to clean wood furniture?
Vinegar is a highly acidic cleaner that works well with some surfaces. However, when it comes to wood, there is a chance that it might cause damage. If you still want to use vinegar, you could heavily dilute it with water or other ingredients.
5. Does lemon work well in cleaning wood furniture?
Yes, lemon juice is a great natural cleaner for working with wood furniture. It is high on citric acid, but due to its low pH count, and antibacterial characteristic, it serves well with wood furniture. On top of that, it also smells good.
As you can see, water and wood furnitures are not something that go well together. Ideally, you want to keep them as far from each other as you can. If treated in time, you can prevent having to spend money on replacement or even repairs.
The tips and guidelines that we mentioned in our article should help you deal with the most common issues regarding water damage without having to hire a help.
However, if you feel unconfident about your capabilities you could always call for a professional.
We hope our guide on how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture could help you restore your product to its former glory.