How To Fix Water Damaged Wood Furniture Side Panel: 4 Steps

Knowing how to fix water damaged wood furniture side panel can help you save your chairs and tables instead of throwing them out. The repair process only involves drying the furniture, getting rid of the damages, adding wood fillers, and then applying protective sealants.

Often, fixing the water damage instead of buying new ones can help you save money in the long run. Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about fixing your water-damaged furniture!

how to fix water damaged wood furniture side panel


How To Repair Water Damaged Side Panels Of Furniture


Step #1. Dry the wood panels

Water damage can stem from multiple sources. If rains and floods caused the damage, it would be best to put the furniture in a place where it can avoid further exposure to moisture. If leaks caused the damage, you should fix the damage first before proceeding to the next steps.

When it comes to floods and leaks, you should check your insurance coverage to see if you can get compensation. Check your policy or contact your insurance provider and lawyer for advice.

The most important part of the side panel repairing process is drying the wood out completely. The quicker you dry the panel out, the better chances you have of saving your furniture from further damage. It would be best to remove the wood panel because having it separated from the rest of the furniture can help speed up the process.

It would help if you wiped the panel down to remove large amounts of moisture. Thick towels, rags, and blankets can do the job effectively.

You have a few options when it comes to completely drying out your wood side panel. The first one is to let the wood dry out by itself overnight. However, if the water damage is extensive, you might need to speed up the process, or the warps, bubbles, and swelling worsen.

You can use hairdryers, strong electric fans, and dehumidifiers to quickly get rid of all the moisture. You can also use an iron on a low setting for small areas of water damage.


Step #2. Get rid of bubbles and other damages

The most common signs of water damage on wood panels are swelling, bubbling, and warping. Luckily, you can fix them rather quickly.

In the case of swelling and warping, you can try screwing boards on the panel while it is still slightly wet. By using the boards to make a brace, you can keep the wood from warping too much.

In the case of wood splitting, you can use carpenter’s glue or wood glue. Apply wood glue in between all the layers of the wood and hold it tightly together using a clamp. Allow the glue to dry before proceeding to the next steps.

In the case of bubbles, you should use a medium-grit sandpaper to smoothen the area. It would be best if you wore protective glasses and gloves during sanding. If the bubbles are big, they usually create deep crevices.

In the case of big bubbles, you should use a sharp knife to remove all the water damage. Removing all the water-damaged parts will help prevent the damage from worsening and avoid mold buildup. After sanding and scraping the damaged areas, you should vacuum the wood to remove all the fine, powdery dust and debris completely.


Step #3. Add wood fillers

This step applies only to bubbles created by water damage. If your panel only warped, swelled, or split, you may skip this step.

Once the wood is free from debris, you can now add wood fillers. Mix the wood fillers according to the instructions on the label. Apply the wood filler and firmly press to fill in the deepest cracks and holes using a putty knife.

Afterward, scrape off the excess filler. It would be best to apply fillers without excess since they harden so much that they become hard to sand off.

Please remember that while wood putty and wood fillers help fill in cracks and holes, they do not add much integrity to the wood.

Therefore, you should only use wood fillers in cases where there are small holes and cracks due to small bubbles. If the damage is extensive and you believe that the wood is structurally unsound, you should consider replacing it instead.


Step #4. Finishing up

Once the filler dries completely, you can begin sanding it using fine-grit sandpaper. Sand the area until the wood filler has the same surface as its surroundings.

Apply wood sealants to the panel to protect it from water damages in the future. You can also use wood stains to add another protective layer and make the wood look new. If you removed the panel at the beginning of the repair process, you could place it back to the furniture once the sealants dry completely.



Knowing how to fix water damaged wood furniture side panel can help you preserve the integrity of your cupboard, shelf, or chair. The process is simple and could take two days at most. By following four simple steps, you can repair all the water damage and make your furniture look as good as new.

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