Any piece of furniture you own can potentially be affected by some form of water damage. While this type of damage is sometimes relatively minor in nature, your treasured contemporary and antique pieces may also receive much more serious forms of water-related harm. Unless quickly addressed by a skilled expert, significant water damage can essentially ruin your furniture’s function, appearance and value. You can avoid this unfortunate scenario by hiring a specialized furniture repair and restoration service that knows how to successfully handle even the most extensive water-related issues. In Southern California, the name to call on is Rahn’s Furniture Restoration.
Types of Water Damage
Water-related furniture damage varies in severity. The least severe form of damage is finish damage, which only affects the protective finish layer commonly applied to the surface of wood furniture. Perhaps the most common example of this type of damage is the white spot or water mark, which occurs when water penetrates into the finish layer and makes that layer at least partially opaque. Another form of finish damage, called blushing, tends to affect older pieces of furniture that have a lacquer or shellac finish layer. In cases of blushing, moisture exposure produces a white haze that may cover large portions of the furniture surface or even the entire surface.
Finish and Wood Damage
In more serious forms of water-related damage, water passes all the way through the protective finish layer and actually enters the underlying wood surface. This chain of events can produce clearly defined black spots in the affected area. However, it can also lead to the appearance of a more diffuse pattern of black marks.
If water thoroughly penetrates the fabric upholstery on your furniture, it can produce potentially irreparable conditions issues, including watermarking, staining and the formation of mildew inside the upholstery padding. Generally speaking, leather and vinyl upholstery have a better chance of surviving heavy water exposure. However, serious condition issues may still occur, including such things as ruined padding, stiffened leather and staining caused by minerals or manmade water contaminants.
Damage Caused By Waterlogging
The most severe form of water-related furniture damage, waterlogging, occurs when there is enough water exposure to saturate furniture and degrade its structural integrity. Your furniture may develop this extensive type of damage in the aftermath of events such as floods, roof leaks, broken water pipes and household fires. Waterlogging can produce a long list of major issues, including wood warping, wood splitting and the partial or complete failure of the glue used to hold a piece of furniture together. Waterlogged furniture made from veneered plywood or cork board may be completely destroyed.
Professional Expertise Is Key
Only a professional furniture restorer possesses all of the skills needed to assess all types of water-related furniture damage. The same fact holds true for the development of a suitable repair or restoration approach and actual completion of the required work at the highest possible standard. Even in cases limited to finish damage, professional expertise is required to ensure the proper care of your valuable antique and contemporary pieces. For example, only a skilled, experienced restorer can reliably restore the finish on an antique piece in a manner that preserves the value of your investment.
The need for professional care only increases with the severity of the damage affecting your furniture. For example, while waterlogged antique furniture is typically worth the expense of restoration, the steps needed to do the work properly are quite complex. If you attempt to dry out your antique pieces on your own — or entrust the job to someone who lacks the essential skills — you open yourself up to a range of potentially catastrophic issues, including warping and shrinking serious enough to produce cracks or open splits in the furniture wood. Once this level of damage occurs, you place your antique piece’s future appearance, function and value at serious risk.
At Rahn’s Furniture Restoration, we have decades of experience repairing and restoring all kinds of water damage, from minor finish-related issues all the way up to extensive problems caused by waterlogging. In each case, our highly trained professionals begin by providing you with a detailed breakdown of the damage sustained by your furniture. Next, we formulate a plan designed to fully correct that damage in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible. After receiving your approval of this plan, we’ll carry out the repair or restoration process with expert care.
Can Your Furniture Be Repaired or Restored?
In all situations, the critical question is: Can the level of water damage sustained by your furniture actually be repaired or restored? As a rule, our staff of professionals can successfully address all problems limited to the finish layer. The same general rule applies to damage that affects both the finish layer and the wood just beneath this layer. In most cases, we’ll need to replace waterlogged fabric upholstery. However, in many situations, we can at least save the outer covering of leather or vinyl upholstery.
Things get a bit trickier when it comes to waterlogged wood. Unless your solid-wood furniture remains in standing water for more than a few days, our experts will probably be able to salvage it for repair or restoration. Still, several additional factors may affect the realistic prospects for a successful outcome. These factors include the extent of the waterlogging damage, the amount you originally paid for the piece in question, and the amount of money you’ll need to spend on the required work. In addition, you may want to consider the sentimental or emotional importance of your waterlogged pieces.
Whatever decision you make, we’ll fully support your repair and restoration goals. Typical steps in the process include cleaning and properly drying out your furniture, reconditioning any vinyl or leather upholstery, and stripping, sanding and refinishing furniture wood. In addition, we’ll refurbish any stained or tarnished hardware. The specific steps for restoring waterlogged antique furniture will depend on the type of piece and the extent of the damage present.
Call on the Water Damage Experts
For forty years, Rahn’s Furniture Restoration has helped the residents of Los Angeles County and Orange County recover from water-related furniture damage. In all cases, we strive to simplify the recovery process with our signature blend of specialized facilities, extensive training, practical experience, top-quality materials and exemplary customer service. Call us today to schedule an in-home pickup and a complete assessment of your antique and contemporary furniture pieces.