Flood-Damaged Furniture: Deciding What to Salvage and Tips on Reconditioning

Unfortunately, south Louisiana has all too much experience cleaning up after a flood. This time, the Baton Rouge area (including the parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge Parish, Livingston, St. James, St. John the Baptist, and Tangipahoa) were among the communities that got hardest hit.

Deciding which furniture to save may be a personal issue, especially if you
have antiques and other pieces with sentimental value. Keep in mind that you
don’t need to repair all pieces of salvageable furniture immediately. You can
clean, dry, and store them in a warm, well-ventilated place until you have time and money to deal with them.

Before starting to salvage damaged furniture, decide which pieces are worth
restoring. Such decisions should be based on the extent of damage, cost of the
article, sentimental value, and cost of restoration. Antiques are probably worth
the time, effort, and expense of restoration. If the damage is minor, you may
be able to clean and refinish antiques at home.

Don’t try to force open swollen wooden doors and drawers. Instead, take off the
back of the piece of furniture to let the air circulate. You probably will be able to
open the drawers after they dry.

Solid wood furniture can usually be restored unless damage is severe. It
probably will need to be cleaned, dried, and re-glued. Wood alcohol or turpentine
applied with a cotton ball may remove white mildew spots on wood. Cream wood
restorers with lanolin will help restore good wooden furniture parts.

Wood veneered furniture is usually not worth the cost and effort of repair unless
it is very valuable. If the veneer is loose in just a few places, you may be able to glue
it adequately.

Upholstered furniture soaks up contaminants from floodwaters and should be cleaned only by a professional. Get a cost estimate to see if furniture is worth
saving. Usually, flood-soaked upholstered pieces should be thrown away unless
they are antiques or quite valuable.

Source: NDSU Extension Service – http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/disaster/flood/flood-damagedfurnitureandappliances.html