A Homeowner's Guide to Salvaging Your Furnishings After a Flood

After a flood or other water incident in your home, it can be overwhelming to think about what you need to do next. But, you can start rebuilding and rehabilitating the affected areas by acting quickly and carefully. Here's a quick guide to what to do with your flooded furnishings.

Remove Things. Step one to recovery is to remove all the furniture and decorative items from the water as quickly as possible. As soon as it's safe to do so, get everything out of the water and relocated to a dry space. Take individual photos of each piece for insurance purposes. Separate furniture and decorations by the amount or type of water they were affected by (for example, contaminated water vs. clean water, or long exposure vs. short exposure) so you can address what each needs.

Dry Your Things ASAP. Getting furniture, drapes, and collectibles dried out rapidly is key to salvaging the most items and preventing long-term damage. Ideally, move furniture pieces to a dry, outdoor or air-conditioned space with good warm air circulation. If you're not able to move a large piece of furniture to a clean location, put it up on blocks and set up some fans around it to speed the drying process.

Assess Pieces. Once furniture is away from the water and starts drying, it's time to inspect each piece individually to determine how much water and debris touched it. Metal or plastic furniture is likely to fare well since it's less porous and will have soaked in less water. Wood that was simply immersed and can be dried out quickly is likely to be salvageable as well. If upholstered furniture only had contact with a little clean water, separate the fabrics from each other and from other materials and use fans to dry pieces rapidly. Upholstered pieces that were in gray or contaminated water -- or material that was in the water for some time -- may develop mold or mildew and are unlikely to be easily fixed.

Get Help. Don't try to rehab expensive, antique, or sentimental furniture pieces on your own. Work with services like Tri-County Furniture Restoration to ensure the job is properly taken care of, especially if the furniture is valuable or meaningful to you. Antique furniture, clocks, upholstery, or art may lose significant value if water damage is cleaned up in the wrong ways or if you attempt to restore a complex piece on your own.

By following these few steps, you can prevent unnecessary loss of money and time, even saving some furnishings that you may have thought were done for.