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Floodwater, a broken pipe, even the wire from fighting a fire will damage your wood furniture. Direct contact can cause changes in structure and degradation to wood can progress from slight to severe in only a few days.
After water intrusion, first clean off any dirt and mildew. The piece should be completely dried with the help of fans but not in full sun. Moisture in wood furniture will encourage fungus and mold growth, so be thorough with this step. With heavily damaged wood furniture, you can speed up drying by removing the parts that are easy to take apart like back panels, drawers, and doors.
Saturated wood expands and then shrinks as it dries. This may loosen joints and cause warping and swelling. Solid panels and tops are particularly vulnerable, especially when the inside is not finished. Slightly warped boards may be removed and straightened or replaced.
Veneer is a thin shaving of wood glued to a core material like plywood or particle board. These materials swell when they come in contact with water. If veneer is loose in only a few places, you may be able to repair it, but veneered furniture repairs are usually best done by a professional. (If insurance allows part value on flood-damaged furniture, it may be best to apply the money to new furniture, rather than paying for extensive repair.)
Furniture made from manufactured products such as plywood or medium-density fiberboard is probably a total loss after water damage. And it is somewhat inaccurate to say that MDF is not real wood, since the material is fabricated from hardwood and softwood byproducts that are bound together with resins and waxes and pressed into sheets under high temperature and pressure. MDF is “wood” to the same degree that plywood is. But these structures are vulnerable to water damage.
In typical medium priced furniture or cabinets, the main cabinet box is made of medium-density fiberboard. It is finished with a papery top layer or melamine foil laminate for the veneers on the exposed sides. The problem is the edges of the construction; water can easily wick into the “board” and weaken the adhesive. Swelling will soon be followed by crumbling furniture.
Once mold has grown in the fabric and cushions, remediation become much more difficult.
Trac Solutions offers both residential and commercial restoration services for fire, water, and storm damage as well as mold remediation, cleaning services, and basement waterproofing. As a state-licensed contractor, TRAC Solutions provides customers with the most professional and complete answer for any type of structural damage.
TRAC Solutions is a locally-owned Eau Claire company with more than 25 years of experience in Western Wisconsin. This full service general contractor is qualified to handle isolated, small water damage or a complete restoration project.