How to Restore Furniture from 4 Different Types of Water Damage

Water damage can range from something as small as a spill that leaves a watermark to something as catastrophic as a flood that destroys the entire piece. No matter the size or severity of the damage, it is important to act quickly to avoid further damage and to give your furniture the best chance of being restored to its original condition.

Here are the four different types of water damage and how you can restore damaged furniture:

  • Finish Damage

Water damage to furniture can take many different forms, from finish damage to structural damage. 

Finish damage is the damage that occurs to the protective finish layer on the surface of the furniture. The most common type of finish damage is called a watermark or white spot, when water penetrates the finish layer and makes it at least partially opaque. Another type of finish damage is blushing, which affects older pieces of furniture with a lacquer or shellac finish layer. Blushing happens when moisture exposure produces a white haze that can cover large portions or even the entire surface of the furniture. 

Structural damage is the most severe type of water damage that can happen to furniture. Structural damage happens when water penetrates the wood of the furniture and causes it to warp, crack, or break.

  • Finish and Wood Damage

Water damage can cause black spots to form on wood surfaces. These spots are caused by water passing through the finish layer and into the wood. This can happen if the wood is left in water for a long time or if there is a lot of water pressure.

  • Upholstery Damage

If the water soaks deep into your furniture’s fabric upholstery, it could cause permanent damage like watermarks, staining, or mildew growth inside the padding. Generally, leather and vinyl upholstery can withstand more water exposure than other materials. However, they can still suffer from problems like ruined padding, stiffened leather, or staining from minerals or pollution.

  • Damage Due to Waterlogging

Waterlogging is the most severe form of water damage that can occur to furniture. When furniture is exposed to enough water, it saturates the material and weakens its structure. This can happen after a flood, a roof leak, a broken water pipe, or a fire. Waterlogged furniture can warp, split, or fall apart. Furniture made from veneered plywood or corkboard is especially vulnerable to water damage and may be completely destroyed.

Restoring Damaged Furniture

When determining if water damage to your furniture can be repaired, the key question is whether the damage is limited to the finish layer or affects the wood beneath the finish layer. In most cases, if the damage is limited to the finish layer, our professionals can successfully address the problem. If the damage affects both the finish layer and the wood beneath it, the outer covering of leather or vinyl upholstery can be saved. Still, the fabric upholstery will likely need to be replaced.

Waterlogged wood is more tricky to deal with, and it may not be possible to salvage the piece of furniture. It depends on the extent of the damage, how much you paid for it, and how much it would cost to repair. You should also think about how sentimental the piece is to you.


Restoring furniture from water damage can be a difficult and time-consuming task. However, restoring most furniture to its original condition is possible if the proper steps are taken. With care and patience, it is possible to bring furniture back to its former glory. In addition to being a satisfying DIY project, restoring furniture can also save money in the long run.

Restoration Masters is an independent, locally-owned and -operated company serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and Ventura counties with full-service restoration for both residential and commercial buildings. From water damage cleanup to reconstruction, you can count on us. What sets us apart is our dependable service, quality workmanship, and certified restoration technicians. If you need water damage restoration in Fullerton, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch with us now and let us know how we can help!

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