Furniture 101: How Long Before Wood Gets Damaged From Water

For homeowners, it is vital to know how long before wood gets damaged from water to stave off rotting, come up with solutions, and set some preventive measures. Usually, the damage occurs instantly, but there are some cases that it will take hours to show. To know more about water damage and its effect on wood surfaces, floorings, and furniture, read on!


how long before wood gets damaged from water

How Long Will It Take For Wood To Get Water Damaged? 

The effects of water damage can happen instantly. Within a matter of minutes, water leaks can spread throughout your property, soaking almost everything on its path. Your floors, walls, belongings, and upholstery are not safe.

Wood is especially susceptible to water damage. It is a natural material that is vulnerable to rot and mold when exposed to high levels of moisture or water without much protection.

Within the first 2 hours to 7 days of coming in contact with moisture and water, the wood will likely experience mildew and mold growth. Wooden floors, window sills, and doors will start to warp and swell. Keep in mind that a water-damaged wooden floor is prone to severe biohazard contamination, which is why it would be best to deal with it immediately.

The effects may be immediate or gradual. Some damages can occur as soon as you take notice of the water damage, such as swelling. However, there are specific negative effects that you will only experience after days or weeks have gone by.

If the water damage persists for over a week, the structural damage, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants will pose serious threats and risks to your family. The delay in restoration can increase the repair cost significantly since it would not just be water damage repairs at that point but also decontamination services.

Upon noticing water damage, it would be ideal to immediately call your lawyer or insurance company to see if water damage is included in your insurance coverage.


Is Wood Instantly Ruined After Getting Wet?

Wood is not ruined after getting wet. Usually, wood receives treatment to hold out against certain elements, especially if it has construction purposes.

However, remember that wood is still a natural material. Exposure to high amounts of moisture and water for long bouts can lead to rotting and break down.

Wood rot begins when the moisture content reaches 20%. You can save your wooden floor or furniture from decay by removing this moisture. You can use a dehumidifier for this.


What Happens To The Wood After Water Damage?

Wood is a natural material, meaning it is susceptible to both moisture and water, especially without treatment or protection. When exposed to water, the wood is likely to soften, rot, and fall apart.

Water can compromise the wood’s structure, leading to the growth of mold and expensive restoration efforts. The swelling or shrinking happens because moisture content changes, precisely when the wood gains or loses moisture below its fiber saturation point.

There are cases when wood furniture gets watermarks caused by wood finish. These dark watermarks signify that the water had entered through the finishing. Meanwhile, light watermarks tell that the stain is still on the wood surface.


How Does Water Damage Affect Different Types of Wood?

Various wood types react differently to water damage. Their different conditions and characteristics influence this variation. Here are some common types of wood and their distinct reaction after water damage:



Water damage on hardwood usually results in discoloration and staining. You might notice that your floorboards and the nails holding them down are lifted. Dealing with them immediately might be best since it could spread on nearby planks.



Softwood is not that different from hardwood when it comes to reacting to water damage. It is lighter in weight and often cheaper to use in furniture and flooring.



You can use plywood for furniture and walls. What most don’t seem to realize is that it consists of different layers of wood glued together. Meaning, excessive amounts of moisture can lead to warping and falling apart.



Particleboard is another common wood type. It is typically treated to be a water-resistant veneer surface and is mainly used for cabinets and desks. Excessive moisture can cause your particleboard to sog and weaken, leading to potential permanent damage.


How Long Does Wood Dry After Water Damage?

It depends on various factors, but generally, you can expect it to dry in about 5 days. Some cases would take as short as 2 days or as long as several weeks. Wood in humid areas tends to stay wet longer.

Hiring a water damage expert can help speed up the drying process and minimize long-term damage by using industrial tools. Also, note that the drying out phase is only the first step in dealing with water damage. There are several steps that follow it.



Water damage on their property and belongings is one of the most stressful things a homeowner could experience. Water damage is even more horrifying for those with wooden flooring and furniture.

If you are one of them, it might be best to arm yourself with useful knowledge and facts about the topic. Amongst the need-to-know is how long before wood gets damaged from water to avoid severe and permanent damage!

Leave a Comment