Wooden Furniture: Preventing Damage From Heat And Moisture

Wooden Furniture: Preventing Damage From Heat And Moisture –  Modern heating systems dry a house out. This is not too much of a problem with new furniture, which is designed for a dry house. But with antiques, or furniture  that is imported from other parts of the world, sudden transportation to a dry atmosphere can cause the wood to dry out and crack. Sometimes the problem occurs when old houses are damp-proofed; levels of  moisture in the house change and, as it dries out, so does the furniture.

The remedy is to keep the house at a constant low temperature, rather  than subjecting furniture to the fluctuations of temperature that come from  the usual habit of turning the heating on and off throughout the day. Consider  keeping the heating on throughout the day at a low temperature, boosting it if  necessary. This is a good habit to get into for other objects.



Do not place wooden furniture in front of direct sources of heat, such as radiators,  and don’t put hot plates or cups of tea directly on to a wooden surface – they  can scorch or mark the surface. Use mats or a cork or cloth table protector.  Even these may not be enough with very hot dishes – such as a casserole  taken straight from the oven. Remember that when mats are described as  ‘heatproof’ – often up to 120°C – it means that the mats themselves will not be scorched or damaged, not the surface on which they are resting. Even with heatproof mats, heat can be transferred and can leave a mark on the furniture.

Preventing damage from moisture

Perversely, too much moisture is not very good for furniture either. Problems  often occur when furniture is put into storage in somewhere damp and cold  such as a garage or a cellar – a common victim is the rarely used extra leaf for a dining table.


ln very damp conditions, wood can swell or become mildewed, and glue can  break down on veneers, causing it to lift off the surface. ln addition, woodworm love damp conditions.

Do not store furniture in attics unless they are very well insulated: they tend  to be too cold in winter and too hot in summer and also experience wildly fluctuating levels of humidity.

If furniture has got damp, move it to a warm, dry place and allow it to dry out  over time. Before moving it into the house, check for woodworm.

Do not put vases of flowers directly on wooden surfaces. Even if you have been careful filling the vase, moisture often condenses on the outside and forms a ring at the base. A cloth will not offer much protection because the moisture  will soak through and stain the surface beneath. Damage can occur surprisingly  quickly – within a couple of hours. If you must put vases on wooden surfaces, always use a large, waterproof mat.


The same goes for glasses. Always use mats or coasters to protect the wood.  If water does spill on to a wooden surface, mop it up immediately.

Tags: cleaning, furniture, home, how, improvements, tips, to, wooden

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