What Happens When Water Damages Wood?

April 29, 2021

Water damage can be caused by a range of different scenarios. It can be brought about by a clogged sink, faulty pipe, broken washer hose, or insulation problems invisible to your eye. Once water starts wreaking havoc, no part of your home is safe. However, your wooden elements might be facing the biggest threat due to their porous nature. 

But what exactly happens to soaked wood? More importantly, can you fix the damaged elements and avoid throwing them out? The leading water damage repair technicians in Orange County are about to tell you, so keep reading! 

Is wood ruined if it gets wet

Is wood ruined if it gets wet? 

Whether you’re dealing with accidental water damage or treating wood damaged by water, it’s crucial to start the repairs quickly and file your insurance claim. The longer you remain idle, the greater the harm will be to the affected areas. 

This is because wood is a natural material susceptible to breaking down and rotting when exposed to moisture for an extended period. If water lingers for too long, you can say goodbye to your wooden elements. 

How long does it take for water to ruin wood? 

The time it takes for water to ruin wood varies. Still, all instances of rot require the right conditions to set in. Here’s what these conditions include: 

  • Oxygen
  • Proper temperature (generally between 65 and 90 degrees) 
  • Dampness
  • Food (wood)

According to lab experiments, dry rot spores can start sprouting about 7 to 10 days after wood has absorbed enough moisture. Other spores may take a bit longer to activate. In any case, a lot of time can pass before any signs of dry rot appear following water damage. 

When it comes to wet rot, establishing a regular timeframe for the rate of growth is hard. However, wet rot only occurs in areas moist enough to accommodate its presence. Therefore, if you notice any wet rot, it can be easily mitigated by drying out the damp areas. 

Can you fix water damage on wood? 

While fixing water-damaged wood can be challenging, it can be done unless the wood is completely ruined. Here’s how you can carry out repairs: 

Drying the elements 

The first and most important step is to dry the wood thoroughly. You can either go for blowers or let the affected components sit under direct sunlight for at least a day. Just make sure not to dry the elements too quickly since they can easily break. 

Installing more fixings 

Once the furniture is dry, start the repairs by mounting more fixings. Carefully look at the components that require support and can be popped back into place with an item or two. You can use various fixings: 

  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Bolts
  • Galvanized strips
  • Cable clips

How long does it take for water to ruin wood

Use a finishing or belt sander 

It’s a good idea to use a finishing or belt sander after drying the furniture and adding fixings. Belt sanders are great to make quick work of tabletops, whereas finishing sanders are perfect if you want a smooth surface at the end. You can also combine the two methods for superb results. 

Applying marine-based polyurethane

Marine-based polyurethane is a coating that can provide great protection against sunlight and water. You can apply it on furniture, table, railings, and countertops to prevent white watermarks. 

Dedicated water damage repair experts in Orange Country are here for you 

Here at EHS, we specialize in helping people deal with various forms of water damage. Our highly trained professionals work near Santa Ana and surrounding regions and provide top-rated services. We employ cutting-edge equipment to perform high-quality repairs, so make sure to give us a call!

Hire EHS and your home will look brand new in no time! We are available 24/7.