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Company News / 3.15.14

Seasonal Humidity Levels

How Humidity and Temperature Affect Your Cabinetry.

Maintaining a Consistent Humidity Level is a Necessity.

• The optimal humidity level is 35% to 50% relative humidity.

Proper care includes providing a wood friendly environment. Many of the internal environmental issues that affect human comfort also contribute to a wood healthy environment. Specifically, controlled temperature and humidity with minimal changes from day to day and season to season will ensure your comfort and they will ensure the stability and life of your wood cabinetry.

Humidity
• Wood expands as humidity increases and shrinks as humidity decreases.
• Even finished wood will change with long term changes in humidity.
• Plywood, particleboard and fiberboard are more dimensionally stable.
• As wood expands (swells) and contracts with changes in humidity, the finish at joints will crack.
• This cracking is universal but is much more evident on light colored paint than on stains or dark paints.
• Regardless, this is the nature of product made from wood.
• This is not a reason for replacement but is instead an indication that humidity levels are too low and need to be remedied.
• Where humidity exposure is uneven, pieces may warp, cup or bow.
• Most often, if humidity level is returned to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these issues will disappear.
• Extremely dry conditions can result in wood parts splitting and / or cracking in addition to shrinkage as described above.
• The optimal humidity level is 35% to 50% relative humidity.
• Extreme conditions (lower than 20% or higher than 80%) especially need to be avoided.

Humidity Continued (Dryness)
While most focus is on too wet (damp) or too humid conditions, too dry conditions can be equally damaging to cabinetry.
• Extreme dry conditions can lead to cracking in solid wood components.
• Under dry conditions, the insert panels in panel doors will shrink and the panel edges will be exposed.

Remediation
• Use dehumidifiers and / or air conditioners in summer to control excess humidity.
• Use a humidifier to keep the air from becoming too dry in winter.
• Adequate and proper ventilation and air exchange.

Summary
Remember: Properly controlling temperature and humidity inside the house is healthier for the inhabitants as well as for the cabinetry and furniture within.