A Guide to Salvaged Furniture After Flooding: How to Save Your Favorite Pieces

salvaged furniture

Are you ready for the rainy season? Living in North Texas, means the heavier rains come during April and May, along with risk for flooding.

Most people don’t dwell on the possibility of a flooded home—they take things as they come, and deal with damage when it happens. Since furniture is one item that often suffers water damage, it’s helpful to know how you can come out on the other side of a flood with the best chance for salvaged furniture.

You may not worry today about floods. You may worry even less if you don’t live near a floodplain. Did you know in Texas 25% of insurance claims for flood damage come from homeowners who thought they were at low risk for flooding?

With the rainy season right around the corner, it’s a great time to think about how to handle wet furniture should you have a flood in your home. Read our guide for tips on furniture salvage.

Water Is Not All the Same

When a home floods, you can’t assume it floods with clean water. Restoration specialists categorize water when assessing what they can salvage from a flood-damaged home.

Category 1

Clean water comes from the water supply lines in your home. It’s the water you drink and doesn’t create a health risk. Tip: Don’t drink it after it leaks from the supply lines.

Category 2

Gray water may contain contaminates. When you have a leak from a washing machine, dishwasher, or water heater, it’s considered Category 2 and not safe to drink.

Category 3

Called black water, water from this category is nasty. It’s usually full of raw sewage or other filth. Black water can make you sick, and if your furniture sits in it for any length of time, you may end up throwing it away rather than salvaging it.

The water category plays a significant part in determining how to clean wet furniture. Everything isn’t salvageable in a water-damaged home especially those pieces saturated with black water.

Next, we’ll look at how to handle water damage from 3 types of furniture found in most homes.

Your Favorite Reading Chair

We’ll assume your favorite place to sit is a big comfy upholstered chair. You may even have a few upholstered couches where you enjoy relaxing. Upholstered furniture, when wet, is a challenge to clean and dry.

Because of their porous nature, they soak up water quickly, which sets them up as a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

Once it’s safe to enter the water damaged area, it’s critical to remove upholstered furniture, or at least get it up on blocks to prevent further saturation. Your water restoration team will need to assess whether your upholstered pieces are salvageable. If they’ve sat in Category 3 water, you may end up throwing them away.

If they’re salvable, they will get treated using hot water and pressure. This kills bacteria and other pathogens. Afterward, they must dry properly.

Usually, the team places upholstered furniture in a room where they’ve set up a dehumidifier and air movers. Air movers direct hot, dry air over the furniture so that moisture can evaporate into the air. The dehumidifier traps the moisture.

If any of your upholstered pieces sat in water for a long period, the team may need to remove them from your home and take them to a cleaning facility where they can better access hard to reach places.

Beloved Heirloom Wood Furniture

Not everyone has a piece of fine wood furniture from Grandmother’s attic, but if you do, you know how precious it is and how upset you would feel if anything happened to it.

Like upholstered pieces, you don’t want to leave wood furniture sitting in floodwaters too long. Since wood is porous, it traps and retains water. You may notice your wood furniture pieces look swollen.

Wood expands and contracts. It looks swollen while wet, but once it dries, wood can contract back to a normal shape and look lovely again with a new coat of polish. The problem with wood furniture and water is time and the longer it sits, the less likely you can save it.

Even if you rescue your wood pieces from the floodwaters and start cleaning before your team arrives, they’ll still need to assess the damage. If it’s extensive but they still feel the piece is salvageable, they may need to take the furniture to their cleaning facility.

Heavily damaged wood furniture may have ruined glue or bindings. If that happens, each part of a chair or table is usually removed, cleaned, and then dried. Afterward, the team reassembles the piece of furniture.

Even if your wood furnishings don’t require that level of cleaning, likely, they’ll still need the finish stripped. Next, the team will clean, bleach, and dry the pieces before re-applying a new finish.

When you have water damaged furniture, whether it’s wood or upholstered, and if you’re working with your insurance company, they will perform a cost analysis. Their analysis determines whether it’s better to replace rather than restore.

Restoration of fine wood furniture is time and labor-intensive, but in many cases, your restoration specialists can make it happen.

Mattresses and Box Springs

Water damaged bedding is often the hardest item to restore after a flood. Your specialist will assess the damage, but if the mattress and box spring sat submerged in water for more than 24 hours, they may recommend throwing them away.

That said, if the mattress is new and it’s good-quality bedding, you might consider restoration.

Talk with your restoration company and find out how much they’ll charge for cleaning and disinfection. If it’s less than the replacement cost for the mattress, let them restore it.

Need Help with Salvaged Furniture?

Don’t let water damaged furniture discourage you! In many cases, you can turn water-logged upholstered and wood furniture into salvaged furniture. If you have water damaged mattresses and box springs, there’s a chance for a new life for them too!

Our team specializes in assessing furniture and other personal belongings for damage after a flood. Contact us today and let our team of experts help you determine the best process for restoring your beloved furniture.

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