how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture
Kristina Davis

So, are you wondering how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture? Few things are more frustrating than water damage ruining your lovely wooden furniture.

There’s a certain kind of irritation that happens when water ruins good wooden furniture.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture.

You don’t need to throw your entire piece of furniture away just because of a bit of water damage. You may find the restoration process enjoyable.

Try to fix your water-damaged furniture before throwing it out. No need to waste money!

Wood furniture seems sturdy and reliable. But leaving it outside in the rain can prove detrimental to the health of the furniture. Even though there are plenty of ways to repair water damage, it’s best just not to get the wooden furniture wet.

But, sometimes wet conditions are unavoidable. So follow a few basic steps to help you get your furniture back to its former glory.

How Water Damage Occurs

You may wonder why water damage even happens in wood furniture. After all, shouldn’t wooden furniture be designed to hold up against bad weather?

water damage occurs

Plenty of people have outdoor furniture sets that are made of wood. Shouldn’t outdoor furniture be protected against water?

Not all wooden furniture is created equal. Some pieces receive special treatment to stand up against the elements.

But much of it suffers when exposed to changes in moisture. Atmospheric pressure and other similar environmental concerns also impact your wooden furniture.

Wood tends to shrink and swell as atmospheric pressure changes. Add moisture to the mix, and the swelling only gets worse. 

Unless the wood is thoroughly treated and sealed, it will change as the moisture in the air changes.

When wood absorbs moisture, whether due to rainwater or excessive humidity, the wood swells.

Eventually, it will rot because of the effects of the humidity. So preventing water damage means keeping your wood furniture from rotting.

If you’re concerned about water damage, you can always treat and seal your wood. Most hardware stores sell the right kind of products to help you protect your furniture from things like water damage and swelling.

TIP: Use furniture products to treat and seal your wooden pieces for extra protection.

Fixing Water Damage

fixing the water damage

Don’t get rid of your damaged pieces immediately if you notice water damage.

But water damage is often fixable, so there’s no need to get rid of good furniture. First, see how bad the damage is.

Fixing swollen water damaged wooden furniture might not be at the top of your list of favorite things to do.

But the effort is worthwhile if it means saving an heirloom chair or a table. There’s no reason to dump a piece because of some water damage.

TIP: Never let your wooden furniture sit in lots of moisture.

Some water damage is worse than others, and it can be difficult to repair.

But, following these basic steps will get you on the road to fixing those pieces that aren’t quite beyond your help.

Step 1: Dry It

dry the furniture

This step might seem like a joke, but it’s not. The first thing you want to do is dry off your wet wood furniture.

You’ll be working with primers and paints in a little while. So make sure you get all the moisture off that you can get before beginning.

When wood gets wet, it usually swells. This swelling happens because of the absorption process when wood comes into contact with water.

Usually, the best way to take the swelling down is to let the wood sit in sunlight for an hour or two.

If you need to know how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture side panels, then it is a similar process. Just be careful with any weak areas.

TIP: Dry your furniture completely before doing anything else.

Heat dries the wood quickly, loosens the moisture trapped inside, and lets the wood shrink. But, the wood will warp if left out for too long.

The best way to dry off the wood is with a soft, clean cloth or paper towels. Some towel materials might scratch the wood if you use them too roughly.

So try to find something absorbant that won’t damage the wood any further.

Step 2: Stabilize Or Pull Off Rotting Pieces

pull off rotting pieces

If your wood furniture is not shrinking when exposed to heat, the swollen parts may be rotting.

When this happens, the best thing is to do is remove the rotting pieces and clean out the furniture.

If the swelling goes down and you don’t notice any rotting pieces, you can reinforce your furniture.

Use extra nails, screws, bolts, etc. Giving your pieces extra stability will help them hold up in future weather events.

Step 3: Find Reliable Filler Putty

If you remove any rotting pieces, you’ll want to find a reliable filler putty to patch up the missing chunks.

When you remove entire wood chunks, your furniture will have gaping holes and crevices left over.

filler putty

Filler putty helps remove unevenness from various surfaces, including wooden furniture.

If you’re wondering how to fix water damaged swollen wooden side panels, filler putty is a great option for that as well.

TIP: One of the best ways to fix water damaged furniture is with filler putty.

With a good filler putty, you can clean those holes and gaps up nicely and get your furniture ready for the next stage of repair.

Step 4: Sand, Prime, Paint

Once you have the putty in place and let it set completely, you need to sand the entire piece of furniture.

sand prime and paint

You can do this immediately after step two if there are no rotten pieces to remove.

After you sand it down, you can prime it. You should do this over the entire piece of furniture, not just the part you repaired.

And when you paint it, you should paint all of the repaired furniture.

Step 5: Treat It

Once your furniture is primed, painted, and ready to go, you can complete the repair process with a waterproof sealant.

This sealant is the critical element. As it will help prevent your furniture from further damage.

treat the furniture

The standard sealant that’s usually best for wooden furniture is polyurethane. The synthetic coating offers a layer of more durable protection than other options.

The best way to apply it is in at least two layers, leaving it time to dry between each application.

Can You Prevent Water Damage?

Water damage is a pervasive problem with wooden furniture. Wood is naturally absorbent. So exposure to moisture of any kind can be detrimental to the health of the furniture.

There are a couple of ways you can try to prevent water damage, but only one is truly foolproof.

The best way to prevent water damage is to know how long will wood rot and to keep your wooden furniture out of the rain.

prevent the water damage

It might experience some exposure to moisture in other ways. Especially as seasons change. But if it’s not directly exposed to water, it will last longer.

The next best way to prevent water damage is to make sure all your wooden furniture has a waterproof sealant.

A sealant will protect against water damage, but it will also keep your furniture safe from other elements.

What Wood Is Least Susceptible To Water Damage?

Depending on the kind of wood that you have, your furniture may or may not be severely damaged by water exposure.

Some wood is much more susceptible to damage than others.

Other wood is highly durable, making it the better choice for wooden furniture.

least susceptible in water damage

Mahogany is one of the most durable kinds of wood, and it holds up extremely well, even against water damage.

Oak is another strong, dependable wood that is highly resistant to absorption.

How to Fix Water Damaged Swollen Wood Furniture

Now that you are here at the bottom of this article you’ll know how to fix water damaged swollen wood furniture.

When you have wooden furniture, water damage of some kind is likely going to happen. Especially if that furniture lives outside.

Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to repair water damage and leave your wood furniture looking as new and fresh as ever. 

Keep your furniture away from moisture. Apply sealants to protect your furniture, and dry your furniture out before going for repairs.

And don’t forget to have some reliable filler putty on hand for when you repair your water damaged swollen wood furniture!