Floods, broken pipes, or any other kind of water damage can be devastating. Thankfully, you can salvage and restore a lot of your wooden furniture with the help of mitigation and restoration professionals like Valley Restoration and Construction.
This guide will help you understand what happens to furniture after water damage and what you can do to minimize—or even mitigate—the water damage.
Clean Water, Grey Water, or Black Water?
Before you can even get your belongings out of the water, you should first consider what type of water has caused the damage:
- Water from broken pipes that are connected to sinks, bathtubs, and internal water supply lines is relatively clean because it contains no pathogens or bacteria. Appropriately, this is the so-called clean water.
- Grey water comes from washing machines, dishwashers, and toilets. This kind of water may contain pathogens, so you should handle it with care.
- Black water comes from sewage overflow. It is brimming with bacteria and pathogens and should only be handled by specialists with proper training and the right equipment.
If your furniture has been damaged by clean water, you can move it yourself without risking your health. If, however, black water caused all the damage, you should call in restoration professionals who have the right gear to tackle such dangerous water.
First Steps after Water Damage
When facing water damage, most people despair. That’s absolutely understandable. When you see your belongings floating in the water, it can be easy to imagine they are all ruined.
So, let’s think about the unthinkable and imagine that your house has suffered water damage. What are your next steps?
Move the Furniture out of the Water
Once you have determined that the water that caused the damage is not dangerous to your health, you can start moving furniture away from the water.
A lot of things can be saved this way, especially if you act quickly. The less time wooden furniture stays in the water, the higher your chances of successfully restoring it. When wood stays in contact with water for too long, it seeps through the wood and enters the wood fibers. Wood is porous, so it will absorb as much water as it can.
MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and plywood furniture, in particular, are highly sensitive to water damage because they act as sponges, literally soaking up water. In many cases, this type of furniture is beyond repair and should be discarded.
Solid wood furniture, as its name suggests, is made of solid wood and is far better equipped to withstand water soaking.
Assess the Value of Your Furniture
Before you start the mitigation and restoration stages, ask yourself what value you put on your furniture and compare it to the extent of the damage.
A small flood caused by clean water causes limited damage. You can probably dry out the furniture and restore it without too much expense or effort.
A larger flood from dubious water might wreck your furniture. Furniture made from MDF and plywood will likely be beyond repair, so it’s best to throw it out. Since MDF is relatively inexpensive, the cost of saving it, drying it, and repairing it is typically greater than buying a new piece of furniture.
If you have a particularly valuable piece of furniture that has financial or sentimental value, you may want to save it. In this case, you should focus your attention on drying it in optimal conditions.
Let the Furniture Dry
Once you get everything out of the water, it is crucial that you resist the urge to start fixing things right away. When wood is soaked, it expands fast. If you try to pull out any drawers and shelves, you risk further damaging your furniture.
Instead, you should let the furniture fully dry out first. Be careful not to rush things. In particular, avoid exposing the furniture to direct sun or heat. Extreme and sudden heat will cause the already damaged wood to crack, split, or distort. Instead, leave the furniture in a well-ventilated area away from the sun to dry out on its own. You can put a dehumidifier to absorb excess water and humidity from the air.
Don’t Force Drawers and Shelves
Water has probably caused the wood to expand and swell. Shelves and drawers are likely to be stuck. Let the wood dry out entirely before you assess the full damage to your furniture by removing the drawers and shelves.
Meanwhile, Mold Is Building up
It only takes mold a couple of days to start colonizing your furniture. To prevent mold damage, you should clean thoroughly every nook and cranny and dry it out with a cloth to remove any residual moisture.
If possible, use a fan or dehumidifier to remove humidity from the air and help the wooden furniture dry in a quicker but safe way.
Once the Furniture Has Dried out
Once the furniture has dried out, you will be better able to assess the damage.
Depending on the furniture’s condition, you may need to sand any parts that have cracked or swelled. Most probably, joints and veneers will need a retouch because water can be highly damaging.
Apply furniture oil to the surface and rub it in until there is no oil residue.
If your furniture has swollen, cover its surface with a wet towel and get your iron. Set it to a low-temperature setting and hold it on the towel, moving it around after a few seconds. Not only can this help (literally) iron out any swollen surface but it may also eliminate water stains.
Hopefully, your furniture will be as good as new by the time you finish, particularly if you took it out of the water right away.
Valley Restoration and Construction in Montrose, Colorado
A restoration company can help you decide on the best course of action and save your furniture, especially if you act fast. Trust Valley Restoration and Construction to mitigate water damage in your Colorado home.
We are available 24/7 and serve Montrose, Colorado, and all the surrounding areas. Call us at 970-964-4437 or contact us online and we will be with you right away to help you restore the damage!