Natural disasters can happen anytime, and when it comes to floods can happen anywhere. While it is true that locations in flood zones are at a higher risk, that doesn’t mean that everyone else is safe.An uncharacteristically heavy storm can create a flood anywhere. That can bring significant problems and damage to your home and your possessions. For example, if your basement floods, it can sometimes be hard to collect yourself and bounce back. So knowing what to do in such a situation is very important. If you need to restore flood-damaged furniture, rest assured that there is always a way to do that.
It would be best to remember that restoring furniture after a flood is much more complicated than an ordinary restoration project. That is why it’s always best to have professionals by your side. However, if you are a DIY-er, here are a few key pieces of information you will need to save as much of your precious furniture as possible.
Your first step after your home has been affected by a flood is to take pictures of your entire home and all the damaged furniture. That is essential in dealing with flood damage and should come before any DIY restoration project. That is important because it helps you prepare the proper documentation for insurance claims. You will need to send these pictures to your insurance company.
After you’ve finished that, it’s time to categorize your furniture. You should separate it into three categories:
1. The furniture you can restore – This mainly refers to only lightly damaged furniture. Additionally, it also includes items that would be cheaper to restore than to replace;
2. The furniture you can’t restore – As opposed to the first category, this category includes furniture that has been substantially damaged. And items that would be cheaper to replace than it would be to invest in the necessary equipment and materials to restore;
3. Irreplaceable furniture – This category includes items that hold too much sentimental value to get rid of. With this category, you just have to consider whether it’s better to restore it or keep it as a souvenir.
Before we go through the list of ways to restore flood-damaged furniture, let’s first discuss the three types most susceptible to watch damage. Since these are also the most common types of furniture in homes, they are the most important to cover. So the three types of furniture we will be discussing are:
1. Upholstered furniture,
2. Leather furniture,
3. Wood furniture.
Whether you should be restoring upholstered furniture depends on what the flood that damaged it looked like. If you have high and dirty water in your home, your best course is probably to throw out the pieces. That is because the upholstered parts of the furniture will have absorbed the bacteria and pathogens in the water, and you can expect mold and mildew growth in that furniture very soon. If the furniture is precious, you can also call a professional to help you. This specialist will likely tear away the upholstered parts and replace the webbing and springs. However, if you’re dealing with cheap furniture that’s not worth saving, most professionals will advise you to just toss it.
If the flood you were dealing with was light, and the water was relatively clear, you may be able to salvage it yourself. Your first step would be cleaning any visible dirt off the piece. It’s best to use a pressure washer for this. After that, you would just have to let it dry properly. Don’t try speeding up that process with things like hairdryers. Just let the furniture air dry on its own.
Leather and pleather furniture is also very sensitive to water. Wet leather can start to crack and rot; inthe worst-case scenario, it can even fall apart. That is when the categorizing we discussed earlier becomes very important. Leather furniture is restored similarly to upholstered furniture. However, the process is even more delicate. And instead of trying to restore flood-damaged furniture made of leather, you might just be better off replacing it.
Furniture made from solid wood is a lot more likely to be salvageable. Since solid wood is less porous than other furniture materials, it’s a lot less sensitive to water damage. That is especially true if the wood is varnished properly. The biggest issue is that wood can get warped from excess moisture. That means your main goal when restoring this type of furniture is to bring it back to its original shape and dry it properly.
Keep in mind that any wooden furniture you fix will be much more sensitive in the future. Thatmeans that if you decide to keep something after it’s been flood-damaged, you will have to be muchmore careful when you choose to relocate. It will be much more work to protect and keep your pieces safe during a future move.
That said, let’s go through the necessary steps. You have to take to salvage wooden furniture after flood damage.
Using a regular hose, you should clear away any large and visible residue from the furniture. After that, you can also use chemical cleaners like wood alcohol and turpentine to clear away any traces of mildew growth.
When dealing with swollen or warped wood furniture, your first step after cleaning it should be to let it dry properly. Just like with upholstered furniture, you should avoid trying to speed this process up. It can create further damage if you try to quickly dry the pieces with something like a hairdryer.
If you can, you should also avoid drawing it outside. Direct sunlight can also cause further warping or even cracking in the wood. As long as the space you are using to dry your furniture is well-ventilated,you will get better results by drying it inside. Remember that this is a long process, but you must finish it before you can continue with any other form of restoration.
After your furniture has completely dried, it’s time to glue and fix things back together. You should tighten any joints that feel loose with more screws. And if any pieces of furniture fall off the main item, you can also try to put them back with screws or the proper type of glue.
If you want to restore flood-damaged furniture, your general goal is to get it back to the way it was before the flood. A big part of that when it comes to wooden furniture is removing any bumps, swelling, and warping the excess moisture created. If you can, it’s best to invest in a professional sanding tool. But some elbow grease and sandpaper can get the job done as well.
Since your furniture will be more sensitive from now on, the good idea is to put a layer of protective coating on it. This way, it’ll be a lot more secure from further damage.
Of course, as with everything, prevention is the best way to deal with floods. Researching ways to protect your home from floods in the future will always be a great idea. However, if the damage is already done, utilizing these tips will help you restore flood-damaged furniture as best as possible. And, if all else fails, you can always get in touch with professionals who can help you properly bring important furniture back to its original shape.
Guest Contributor: Sophia Perry