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Five Things to Consider When Office Furniture gets Wet

Wood Furniture Can’t be Repaired
Any wood furniture that sat in water for a period of time is ruined.  Most wood furniture is constructed with a laminate or wood veneer covering a fiber board substrate.  If the desk or cabinet sits in water or a damp area for a portion of time it will wick up the moisture and expand.  This turns the bottom portion of your furniture to saw dust held together by the laminate or veneer on the outside.  The first time you go to move the furniture it will disintegrate. If by some odd chance your furniture is made of solid wood, it will wick up the moisture and mold or warp.

Most Seating Can be Saved
Most task chairs are salvageable.  With task chairs the casters are constructed of plastic as are many of the 5-star bases.  If the water was above the casters, there is a chance that the stems could rust.  However, you can replace casters and 5-star chair bases for a fraction of the cost of a new chair. Guest chairs may end up rusting along the bottom of the base and glides depending on how long they sat in the water.  This also depends on how the chair was constructed.  Wood frames guest chairs will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Do not steam clean chairs!  Chairs that are dirty or slightly moist should be extraction cleaned.  This shoots water and a cleaning solution into the fabric and foam and then sucks it out.  Using extremely hot water or steam could lead to the glue releasing or even coming through the fabric. Throw away lounge seating to avoid mold getting into places you can’t reach.  Also, some pieces of upholstered soft seating may be using fiber board components that are destroyed by water.

Most Cubicles will Need to be Trashed or Repaired
If your cubicles got wet and they have electrical in the base-ways, you should throw the stations away or at least replace the electrical components.  Once the cubicle electrical gets wet, it is no longer safe to use. The leveling glides, base-ways and frames of your panels are very likely made of steel or iron and are likely to rust when damp.  If you are hanging components (work surfaces or storage) on panels sitting on rusty bases, it could create a dangerous situation.  Cubicle upholstery can be cleaned and even replaced if it is damaged by water.

Metal Storage Will Rust
If a metal filing or storage piece has sat in water, it will rust.  The leveling glides and the base or the cabinet are made of steel and are not meant to sit in water.  Over time this will affect the structural integrity of the cabinet, and in the near team will create rust spots under and near the cabinet.

Talk to a Furniture or Restoration Professional Before Making a Decision
I have spoken to several business owners that were affected by the flood.  I have been able to explain the costs and advantages of replacing the furniture with new or used or putting their existing furniture back in place.  The decision is theirs to make, however gathering information to understand all your options will provide the best solution for you.

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