How to Fix Water Damaged Swollen Wood Furniture?

How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture

If you live in an area with a lot of rain and floods, you must be worried about how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture.

Do you have swollen, water-damaged wooden furniture at your place that is rotting away like that boat in the picture above, and you are considering replacing it with a new one?

Before you trash your old wooden furniture and take out your wallet to buy a new one, read this article as we will discuss 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: mistakes will happen naturally. We humans do not have control over it. If there is something, we can do to prevent any further damage and protect our lovely wood furniture in the future.

Follow some instructions I listed below for you so that you can fix any water-damaged wood swell furniture anywhere, anytime!

Determine which furniture to keep

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

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

You might need to work with different tools and chemicals, depending on the extent of the damage. And without proper protective gear, you might harm your skin.

Therefore, let us take a few precautions before you start to fix and revive your water-damaged, swollen wooden furniture.

An interesting read for you if you live in an area prone to heavy rains and floods is to wisely choose which type of wood you should look for when investing in your wooden furniture.

Of course, the kind of wood that does not deteriorate quickly upon exposure to water is what you should go for. So, read my blog on the 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 hair dryer.
  3. Wear protective equipment such as safety glasses and 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 damage to 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 dilute it heavily with water or other ingredients.
  6. If you feel unconfident about your capabilities, get help from a professional.

Types of damages to 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 to restore that piece.

  • Stained
  • Deformed
  • Cracked
  • Swollen

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 damage water can cause to your wooden furniture and how to fix it.

Removing Molds and Mildew from swollen wooden furniture

Removing Molds and Mildew from swollen wooden furniture

You have a mold problem if you notice any small black or white spots on the furniture. 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 to 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 swollen 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 overnight, or if you put your furniture out during the daylight, ensure it is covered and not directly exposed to sunlight.

Removing Water Stains from Wood Furniture

Removing Water Stains from Wood Furniture

Water stains may appear on wooden furniture if it is exposed to water for even a short period. 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 with a soft cloth
  • Add a few drops of orange oil to the mix.
  • Then, gently rub it on the furniture until the stain vanishes.
  • You can use mayonnaise or salad oil dressing if this remedy does not work.
  • Rub the wood well with the soft, dry cloth until the stain disappears.
Sanding method for tough stains
  • However, if the stain is persistent, you need to use an electric finishing sander and sand it off.
  • 220-grit sandpaper can be useful in removing water stains
  • Your direction of sanding must be in the order 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, sand the other parts to even out the finish.
  • Keep a clean paintbrush at hand to remove wood dust.

Removing Deep-set Stains

Removing Deep-set Stains

One of the worst things that can happen to any piece of wooden furniture is getting 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 altogether.

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

Otherwise, you would have to sand it and remove layer after layer of wood, which could destroy your wooden furniture and be 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 wood surface.
  • That is when the chemical agent starts to oxidize.
  • Scrape the wood surface of the furniture using a scraping tool gently and steadily.
  • When done, you can use sandpaper to remove the unwanted stripping agent.
  • Wipe off the remaining wood dust with a brush

Other water damage such as cracks or break-up

Other than the issues listed above, your swollen wooden furniture might break or get cracked due to taking in too much water. Also, 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 sandpaper.
  • Roll up the sandpaper and remove the wood dust using a brush
  • Apply the glue to the joints and leave it to dry throughout the night
  • Now, you need to stain the wood.
  • Using waterproof sealants will guard the wood against future water damage.
  • 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, apply two coats of varnish-like 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 should 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 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 clean cloth, adding coats of oil until the desired depth of color has been reached.
  • Allow the oil to dry.
  • Apply furniture polish to a buffing cloth and buff the swollen wood table. Do this the following day.

Tips to protect your Wooden Furniture from future water damage

Your priority should be to take all the measures to ensure that your furniture is safe from signs of water damage. You can take the following steps to minimize your furniture’s exposure to water damage.

  1. Always use coasters or tablecloths when placing a glass of liquid on a table.
  2. Try to place your furniture in a place with 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, broken pipes.

After restoring your water-damaged wood furniture, it will need some extra pampering to look as good as a brand-new piece of furniture, so check out my blog on how to clean old wood furniture naturally.

Conclusion: How to fix water damaged swollen wood

Ending the post with a 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 piece of furniture 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 time and let your water damaged swollen wood furniture dry off slowly with proper ventilation for the air quality to circulate evenly.

Finally, if you are working on a piece of wooden furniture that holds sentimental value, do not hesitate to seek professional help or a friend who knows a bit about the tools and techniques necessary for this task.

I hope that you won’t have to worry and stress a lot thinking about how to fix water-damaged swollen furniture in the future.