Caring For Your Furniture After a Flood

Living room furniture submerged in flood water

We never expect it to happen to us, but sometimes disaster can strike when we least expect it. From rusted pipes to freak storms and living on flood plains, all sorts of things can cause flood damage to your home. Around 2.4 million people live in immediate flood risk areas in the UK, and statistically your home is more likely to flood than it is to be burgled in this country.

This is one of the reasons UK government has spent so much time, money and resource on flood defence over the years – but even that isn’t enough. And if you are unfortunate enough to suffer from flood damage, you need to know what to do next, and how to rescue your furniture from flood damage.

Sort the Salvageable From the Hopeless

Once you have been told it’s safe to go back into your home, the first thing you’ll want to do is evaluate your furniture. This means looking over each piece and working out if it can be saved, or if it’s beyond help. It’s important to remember that flood damage won’t just affect the furniture that’s been sitting in water – excessive moisture in the air can also cause damage, even if the furniture isn’t actually touching the water.

To work out if a piece of furniture is worth saving, you first need to evaluate the damage. Take into account the cost of the item compared to how much it will cost to have it restored, the sentimental value of the item, and how bad and deep the damage really is. Also pay attention to the type of furniture it is – upholstered furniture might not be salvageable if it’s been sitting in water, as it will be soaked through and the water can encourage the growth of bacteria, mildew and mould, no matter how thoroughly you clean it.

Any furniture that’s beyond saving needs to be set aside, but not thrown away yet, as you may need it for your insurance claims. Anything that can be saved should be moved to a dry area where possible, or propped up on wood blocks to keep it away from damp floors or carpets.

Get Upholstered Furniture Drying

When it comes to upholstered furniture, speed is the key. You need to act quickly. As the longer the padding or coverings are wet, the more likely they are to be ruined. If they‘ve only come into contact with a small amount of clean water, get them somewhere dry and separate upholstery fabrics and other coloured items to prevent the colour bleeding.

Next, you need to dry it completely, and quickly, to prevent any mould or mildew from growing inside it. Unfortunately, if the upholstery has been soaked in floodwater, it usually isn’t worth saving. Once it’s over 20% saturated, the contaminants are very hard to remove, so it’s worth removing them, drying out the wood and having the piece reupholstered at a later date.

Drying Out Wood Furniture

Given that wood tends to absorb water and expand when wet, you need to get wooden furniture out of the moist environment and dry it out. Move any solid wood furniture somewhere shaded and well-ventilated, and air-dry it with the help of fans and dehumidifiers. No matter how tempting it may be, don’t put wood furniture out in the sunshine to dry out.

While the heat might help it dry quicker, it will also cause the wood to crack and warp, so it will often be worse off than it was when it was flooded! One it’s dry, you may need to have the joints or veneers reglued (especially if it’ was exposed to water for a long time), but otherwise, it should be saved. Wooden furniture made from manufactured products like plywood or MDF has a very slim chance or survive flood damage.

Salvaging furniture from flood damage is a tricky business, but if you’re able to get in and deal with it soon after the flood, you stand a much better chance of saving at least some of the furnishings – especially anything made from solid wood (which is likely to be more expensive, and worth saving).

If you’re not sure if your water damaged furniture can be restored, it’s always worth consulting a specialist. At Abbey Group, we are experienced in treating and restoring furniture after flood damage. If you would like to find out more, or to obtain your free, no-obligation quotation, just get in touch with us today.