21st September 2015

Restoring Wooden Furniture after a Flood

A burst pipe, freak weather or sewage problems: regardless of the cause, a flood in your home can have long-lasting, damaging effects, leaving you with months of clean-up work and disruption.

Water on wood

Although your insurance should have you covered for damages, we understand that some of your belongings are irreplaceable.  This guide aims to give you tips on restoring wood furniture after a flood, for those pieces that you simply don’t want to lose.

Depending on the extent of the damage, restoration may or may not be possible as water damage can consist of loosened joints, ruined or tarnished finishes, warping of the wood, cracks or even rot.

Remove and clean

The first thing to do is to remove the furniture from the water as quickly as possible, if it is covered in mud or debris, hose it down to clean it. If your goods have been standing in water for a couple of days, it is advisable to take the furniture apart without forcing it (taking drawers out, removing doors and back panels, taking off the backs of chairs) as water causes the wood to swell.

Drying your furniture

The top priority in restoring wood furniture is to dry it out – if it isn’t dried fungus and mould could grow on the surfaces or joints. Pat it out with towels, and then leave it to dry out in an area that is well ventilated, but do not leave it in direct sunlight as this may cause the wood to warp or get discoloured. Unfortunately, at this point you must be patient as the drying out process could take weeks, even months (depending on the size of your goods), but it must be done in order for the wood to shrink back to its original size.


If you see any white mildew spots, clean them with turpentine, household ammonia mixed with water (in equal parts) or with a weak bleach solution followed by a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar to kill the mould spores, and wipe dry immediately.


Veneered items will need to be re-glued as the cleaning product will likely dissolve the original glue. Due to the drying and cleaning processes, the finishing may be slightly tarnished, in which case it is advisable to strip it off completely with methylene chloride, wait for it to dry and then refinish the furniture with varnish or the finishing of your choice.

These measures should help to restore your furniture from water damage, and to salvage those loved pieces in your home.

Further advice

Should you have any questions about other measures that need to be taken in the event of a flood or preventative measures in high risk areas, please feel free to contact us by calling our 24/7 helpline on 0844 544 1699 or 0330 022 9176, one of our expert loss assessors will be happy to advise.

Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment

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