How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture

How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture

How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain and floods then you must be worried about how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture. Do you have swollen water damaged wooden furniture at your place too that is rotting away like that boat in the picture above and you are thinking to replace with a new one? Well before you trash your old wooden furniture and take out your wallet to buy a new one give this article a read as we will be discussing about how to fix your damaged wooden coffee table or a wooden chair that you cherish the most.

How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture effectively

One thing is for sure that mistakes will happen naturally we humans do not have control over it. If there is something we can do to prevent any further damages and to protect our lovely wood furniture in the future that is to follow some instructions that I listed below for you so that you can fix any type of water damaged wood furniture anywhere anytime!

Determine which furniture to keep

One thing to keep in mind is that restoring your wooden furniture can cost you more than just simply replacing it with a new one. However, the thing why you should restore your piece of wooden furniture lies on a few things such as:

  • the sentimental value of that piece
  • the degree of damage 
  • the average cost to restore it

You might need to work with different tools and chemicals, depending on the extent of the damage. And without proper safety gear, you might harm your skin. Therefore, let us have a look at a few precautions before you start to fix and revive your water damaged swollen wooden furniture.

An interesting read for you could be if you live in an area that is prone to heavy rains and floods is to wisely choose which type of wood you should look for when investing in your wooden furniture. The type of wood that does not deteriorate easily upon exposure to water is what you should go for. So, do read my blog on Top 10 best wood for furniture.

Precautions to follow

  1. Place the damaged (swollen) furniture in sunlight (making sure that the furniture is not under direct sunlight) and allow the furniture to dry thoroughly before starting the repairs. 
  2. Since if the wood dries too quickly, it might crack. So do not go ham with a hairdryer. 
  3. Wear protective equipment such as glasses, a dust mask, and protect your hands with leather gloves before you start your work.
  4. Make sure to open all the windows for ventilation.
  5. Do not use vinegar to treat the damages on wooden furniture. Vinegar is a highly acidic cleaner that works well with some surfaces. However, in the case of 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. 
  6. If you feel unconfident about your capabilities, take help from a professional.

Types of damages on furniture caused by water

Water can have several kinds of impact on your wooden furniture and that type will determine what strategy you would undertake in order to restore that piece.

  • Stained
  • Deformed
  • Cracked
  • Swollen

At the end of the day all it comes down to is the amount of time the wooden part of the furniture has been exposed to water.

Let’s look into the damages which water can cause to your wooden furniture and how to fix them.

Removing Molds and Mildew from swollen wooden furniture

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 laborious.

Take your furniture outside to clean it as you do not want it to wash off inside your house and cause a mess. 

  • Fill half a bucket with warm water
  • Add two cups of bleach in it
  • Afterward, add another three cups of liquid detergent and mix it well with a stick
  • Using a scrub brush, take the solution, and clean the wooden furniture
  • Be rigorous while 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.

NOTE: Never let your wooden furniture dry in direct sunlight. Either let it air dry over-night or if you put your furniture out during the daylight make sure it is covered and not directly exposed to sunlight.

Removing Water Stains from Wood Furniture

Water stains may appear on wooden furniture if it is exposed to water for even a short period of time. However, exposure to water is not the sole cause of water stains as they can also appear on your furniture if you place a warm cup of coffee on your wooden furniture without using a coaster.

  • You can use a wooden furniture cleaner to remove the water stains.
  • Apply the solution on a cloth 
  • Add a few drops of orange oil to the mix
  • Then gently rub it on the furniture until the stain vanishes
  • If this remedy does not work you can go for mayonnaise or salad oil dressing instead.
  • Rub the wood well with the soft cloth until the stain disappears. 
Sanding method for tough stains
  • However, if the stain is persistent, you need to use an electric sander and sand it off
  • 220-grit sandpaper can be useful in removing water stains
  • 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

Removing Deep-set Stains

One of the worst things that can happen to any piece of wooden furniture is to get deep-set stains. Deep-set stains are something 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. 

To remove deep-set stains, you need a chemical stripping agent.

Otherwise, you would have to sand it and remove layers after layers of wood which could not only destroy your wooden furniture but also is very time consuming and laborious.

  • Take a clean brush and immerse it in the stripping agent
  • Then, carefully apply it to the surface in a smooth motion
  • After some time, you will start to notice bubbles on the surface
  • That is when the chemical agent starts to oxidize
  • Scrape the surface of the furniture using a scraping tool gently and steadily
  • When it is done, you can simply use the sandpaper to remove the unwanted stripping agent
  • Wipe off the remaining wood dust with a brush

Other water damages such as cracks or break-up

Other than the issues listed above, your wooden furniture might straight-up break or get cracked due to taking in too much water. The joints may come loose, and the wood may lose its integrity, which could lead the furniture to break. 

  • Start by fixing the loose parts of the furniture with wood glue
  • If you find any old glue in them, you should get rid of it using the sandpaper
  • Roll up the sandpaper and remove the wood dust using a brush
  • Apply the glue in the joints and leave it to dry throughout the night
  • Now you need to stain the wood
  • Using a waterproof stain will guard 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
  • When the paint dries completely, proceed to apply two coats of varnish similar to how you applied the stain or paint 

Black spots

Black spots mostly appear after some days of the first contact with water. Sometimes, it’s not going to happen in the least, but you ought to still prevent it. 

  • Mix some bleach with water
  • Clean the surface with a brush or with something that was previously soaked in water


Swelling up of furniture is the worst thing to happen to your precious wooden furniture.

  • Start by sanding the damaged and swollen area
  • You may need several sandpapers or sanding disks for this
  • Sand the area until the damaged part looks smooth and even
  • Apply furniture oil to the wooden furniture once you get a smooth, even finish after sanding the wooden furniture
  • Rub the oil into the table with a piece of cloth adding coats of oil until the desired depth of color has been reached 
  • Allow the oil to dry
  • Apply furniture polish to a clean cloth and buff the table. Do this the following day 

Tips to protect your Wooden Furniture from future water damage

Your first priority should be to take all the measures to ensure that your furniture is safe from future water damage. The following are some of the steps that you can take to minimize your furniture’s exposure to water damage.

  1. Always use coasters or table cloths when placing a glass of liquid on a table.
  2. Try to place your furniture in a place that gets a good amount of sunlight. 
  3. Check for any plumbing issues or pipe leakages in the apartment regularly. 
  4. Make sure that all the rooms are well-ventilated to prevent moisture.
  5. Close the windows during heavy rainfall.
  6. Do not leave the water running overnight. Check every faucet before sleeping. 
  7. Keep the gutters and drains unclogged to let water flow freely during heavy rainfall. Regularly inspect your toilet for clogs as well.
  8. When buying a new house, check for water usage records. That could give you an idea of any potential leaky pipes in the house. 

After you are done restoring your wooden furniture it will need some extra pampering to look as good as a brand new piece of furniture so do check out my blog on how to clean old wood furniture naturally.


Ending the blogpost at a very realistic note that drying off the wooden furniture can take a while maybe even weeks. But this is a very crucial step, you may ask, why? That is because you cannot judge the real damage before the wooden piece has completely dried off and you can have a good look at it and gauge which areas need more attention and what technique to use where.

So make sure you take your time and let your wooden furniture dry-off slowly with proper ventilation provided for the air to circulate evenly. Last but not least if you are working on that piece of wooden furniture which holds a lot of sentimental value then do not shy away from taking a professional help or a friend that has a bit of knowledge about the tools and techniques required to work on this project with you. I hope that in future you won’t have to worry and stress a lot thinking about how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture.

Stay safe stay blessed. ????


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