How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture?

How to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture?


Water damage can wreak havoc on wooden furniture, causing it to swell and become distorted. Whether it’s due to a leaky roof, a flood, or a spill, addressing water damage promptly is crucial to prevent further deterioration. In this article, we will explore effective methods to fix water-damaged swollen wood furniture and restore it to its former glory.

Assessing the Damage

Before attempting any repairs, it’s important to assess the extent of the damage. Inspect the furniture thoroughly, looking for signs of swelling, warping, or discoloration. Determine if the damage is superficial or if it has affected the structural integrity of the piece. This assessment will help you decide the appropriate course of action.

Drying the Furniture

The first step in fixing water-damaged swollen wood furniture is to dry it thoroughly. Start by removing any remaining water or moisture from the surface using absorbent towels or a wet/dry vacuum. Place the furniture in a well-ventilated area, preferably with a fan or dehumidifier to aid in the drying process. Avoid exposing the furniture to direct sunlight or heat sources, as this can cause further damage.

Removing Mold and Mildew

If the water damage has resulted in mold or mildew growth, it’s crucial to address it promptly. Mix a solution of equal parts water and vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Apply the solution to the affected areas using a soft cloth or sponge, gently scrubbing to remove the mold or mildew. Rinse the area with clean water and dry thoroughly.

Repairing Swollen Wood

Swollen wood can be challenging to fix, but with the right techniques, it is possible to restore its original shape. Here are a few methods you can try:

Method 1: Moisture and Heat: Apply a damp cloth to the swollen area and use a hot iron on a low setting to apply heat. The combination of moisture and heat can help the wood fibers to expand and regain their original shape. Be cautious not to apply too much heat, as it can cause further damage.

Method 2: Alcohol: Moisten a cloth with denatured alcohol and gently rub it over the swollen wood. The alcohol can help to reduce the swelling and restore the wood’s shape. Be sure to test the alcohol on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration.

Method 3: Sanding: In cases where the swelling is severe or the previous methods haven’t been successful, sanding may be necessary. Use fine-grit sandpaper to carefully sand down the swollen area until it is smooth and level with the surrounding wood. Take care not to remove too much material, as this can affect the furniture’s appearance.

Refinishing the Furniture

Once the wood has been repaired and is dry, it’s time to refinish the furniture to restore its original beauty. Start by sanding the entire piece to remove any remaining finish or imperfections. Apply a wood stain or paint of your choice, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Finish with a protective coat of varnish or polyurethane to seal and protect the wood.


Water damage can cause significant problems for wooden furniture, but with the right techniques, it is possible to fix swollen wood and restore it to its former condition. Promptly drying the furniture, addressing mold and mildew, and using appropriate repair methods can help salvage water-damaged furniture. Remember to assess the extent of the damage before starting any repairs and take necessary precautions to protect yourself during the process.


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