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It’s no secret that wood is a very absorbent material. The cellulose fibers in wood act like a sponge – absorbing water rapidly but releasing it very slowly.

When you experience water damage on wood—whether it be on wooden floors or furniture—you might assume, “Oh no, this is the end.” However, the good news is that there’s hope. Check out our tips to save water-damaged wooden floors and furniture:

1. Water Rings on Your Coffee Table

Let’s start with something small – water rings on your wooden coffee table. Perhaps you’ve had guests who didn’t bother to use the coasters you so cautiously put out. Or maybe you have small children, so the spilling of drinks is a regular occurrence in your house.

Below are a few tricks for removing those nasty water rings:

  • Use a hair dryer

Using the lowest setting possible, switch on your hair dryer and direct it at the stain. Remember to prevent the wood from overheating by moving the hair dryer around slowly.

  • Apply toothpaste

Apply regular toothpaste to the affected area, going in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Steer clear of gel or whitening toothpastes. Let it sit for a while, remove it, and apply some wood polish.

  • Try petroleum jelly

Using a soft cloth and circular motions, rub a small amount of petroleum jelly onto the water ring. Leave it overnight, clean it off, and apply wood polish.

  • Use fine steel wool and lemon oil

If all else fails, you can use a very fine grade of steel wool to rub lemon oil into the affected area. Take care not to scratch the wood and work in the direction of the grain. Use a soft cloth to wipe it off and then apply wood polish.

2. Water-Damaged Floors

Now that we’ve covered the smaller form of water stains, let’s move on to bigger problems. Perhaps you’ve had a pipe burst in the kitchen or bathroom, or you’ve experienced major flooding due to weather. Whatever the case may be, your hardwood floors will surely suffer if you don’t act fast.

Not only can water be harmful to your wood floors, it can also cause mold and mildew that’s harmful to your health.

If your wood floors have been deluged by water, you can follow the steps below to save them:

Step 1: Move quickly to remove excess water

Use a large broom or strong shop vacuum to remove all the excess water. Don’t assume that the finish on your wood floor will prevent the absorption of liquids. Water can easily seep through the cracks or between the seams.

Step 2: Scrub with mild detergent and disinfectant

Create a blend of mild detergent, disinfectant, and clean water in a large bucket. Use a stiff brush to scrub the entire floor thoroughly. Remember to dip it into the cleaning mixture frequently.

Step 3: Treat mold-infected areas

If there are any areas that show signs of mold, such as fuzzy growth or discoloration, clean them with a mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and clean water. Scrub the affected areas with a stiff brush until all signs of mold have disappeared. Rinse off with clean water and use a soft, absorbent cloth to dry the surface.

Step 4: Dry the floor slowly

Though you can use a towel to dry off most of the water on the floor’s surface, some moisture will remain. Allow this to dry on its own, as your floors may crack if you apply any heat. However, if it takes too long to dry, that nasty mold and mildew might come back so keep a close eye on the situation.

Create plenty of airflow by switching on fans and opening any doors and windows in the room. By placing a fan in front of a window, facing out, and opening a window on the opposite side of the room, you can create cross-ventilation to help the process along.

Post-Drying Steps

You may have managed to completely dry your wood floor, but you’re not in the clear yet. There are still a few things to be done to restore your floor to its former glory. Below are a few measures you can take to make your wooden floorboards beautiful again:

Lifted Floorboards

Once your floors have completely dried, you may notice some of the boards have become uneven. There may even be a few that completely lift up at the ends. Nail down any lifted floorboards and sand any convex areas you can see.

Painted Floors

If you have painted floorboards, you may have trouble removing mold build-up beneath the paint. If this is the case, you’ll have to remove the painted layer to prevent water from being trapped below. Scrape off the paint and use a cleaner with abrasive characteristics to scrub the floor. When you’re done, dry the floor slowly using cross-ventilation.

After drying, you can repaint the floorboards or opt for another form of finish, such as varnish.

3. Maintaining Wooden Fences

Just like cedar decks, wooden fences are exposed to natural elements such as rain and snow. To prevent them from tarnishing and ensure their longevity, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance, even if they have been treated with a waterproof finish.

Below is a step-by-step guide you can use to regularly clean your wooden fence and keep it free from mold and mildew:

Step 1: Rinse down loose dirt

Using a pressure washer or water hose, rinse down the fence to get rid of any loose dirt or debris. Be sure to stand at least 20 inches away from the wood and rinse it down from top to bottom.

Step 2: Scrub with a cleaning solution

Though there are plenty of cleaning products on the market that would suffice, you can easily make your own cleaner by mixing the following ingredients:

  • 2 gallons of warm water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • ½ cup of dishwashing liquid

Use a stiff brush to scrub your fence thoroughly with the cleaning mixture. The vinegar has acidic properties that will aid in the removal of mold and mildew, while the dishwashing liquid will clean off any leftover dirt and grime.

Do one small section at a time to prevent the cleaning solution from drying. Once you’ve cleaned one section, rinse it off and move on to the next one.

Step 3: Rinse off

Once you’ve cleaned the entire fence, rinsing off each section as you go along, you can give it one last overall rinse to make sure no soap is left behind.


The key here is not to panic. Water damage is upsetting, but there are often ways to reverse its effects. And if you do find that you need a replacement, contact us for the best in Rocky Mountain lumber. Because we take the middleman out of the buying process, we can offer a top quality product at prices that beat the competition.