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How Do Changes in Humidity Affect My Wooden Kitchen Cabinets That Were Made Elsewhere?

There are 3 critical operations in the production of wooden kitchen cabinet doors:

  1. Mouse precision

  2. Cutting style precision and guide length

  3. Consistency in the removal of the material during the processing of the outer edge.

If all three critical operations are followed, the doors will have a tolerance of 5 thousandths of an inch. (The worst-case tolerance is 15 thousandths or 1/64 of an inch.)

Without attention, consistency in sizing the finished door is almost impossible. When the cabinet door stock is printed, the width of this stock is the most critical factor in sizing the 5-piece kitchen cabinet doors. If the patterned width of the style stock is kept within the tolerance of 5 thousandths of an inch, all other standardized operations can continue to be standardized.

Sizing is more critical in the construction of replacement doors for frameless cabinets due to the fact that tolerance is much narrower on the doors of frame cabinets.

I think we are all aware of the simple fact that all cabinet doors react to changes in humidity by absorbing or giving off moisture. Are you also aware that unfinished doors react to humidity changes first?

Our external buildings are built with treated wood to avoid these humidity problems – pity that we cannot use treated wood in the realization of our kitchen furniture!

Due to the adaptation of the doors, when the doors fit perfectly, you are almost able to guarantee that humidity does not affect the doors of your wardrobe or in some cases deform these doors more than 1/64 of an inch. When this number is only 1/64 of an inch, this does not represent much and in most cases unless you have something to measure it with or are looking carefully (with a magnifying glass) you will not even see it.

However, with due care the furniture in your kitchen will provide a life of use and satisfaction. Proper care implies a respectful environment of the wood, controlled temperature and humidity with minimal variations from day to day and from season to season that will guarantee your comfort and the temperature and humidity will also guarantee the stability and durability of the wooden furniture.

But you must always keep in mind that continuous splashing from a sink or a flood will damage your wooden furniture.

Steam can also cause problems of the same type, whether it be a hob or a dishwasher.

You probably know how to get rid of moisture from your wooden furniture to minimize damage. However, sometimes if excess moisture is not removed immediately and the wood has the ability to absorb moisture, an effort should be made to dry the wood immediately. Try using fans and dehumidifiers with fabrics and compounds that absorb moisture. Please keep in mind that immediate attention reduces the amount of damage and reduces the chances of mold and mildew.

Regardless of whether the writer likes the following statement or not, you should be aware that finishes and other coatings (laminate or aluminum temper) slow down the transfer of moisture. It never stopped completely. Solid wood will change dimensionally more through the grain than with the grain; however, keep in mind that plywood, particleboard and fiberboard are more dimensionally stable.

I am sure that we have all experienced chipboard and fiber panels which, when exposed directly to water, expand rapidly and dramatically in thickness which in severe cases can cause breakage of the joint finish. Sometimes, this is much more evident on light colored paint than on dark spots or paints. (I can’t explain the reason for this.)

The crackling caused by moisture is universal and is the nature of wood products and is not a reason for replacement. Usually, after a humidity problem, if the humidity level is brought back to a normal level and maintained for a period of time, these problems disappear. The best humidity level is between 35% and 50%. Humidity conditions below 20% or above 80% should be avoided.

On the other hand, dry conditions can cause the division of wooden parts and / or the breaking of solid wood components. The insert panels in the panel doors shrink and the panel edges will be exposed, causing the unfinished panels in the exposed unfinished panel edges to not match the finished surface of the rest of the panel and door. Again, this is not a reason for replacement, but instead indicates that humidity levels are too low and need to be repaired.

Other than that, the temperature increases the percentage that causes the expansion of the materials and also decreases the materials to contract or shrink. Sudden temperature changes cause more dramatic changes and are more likely to cause cracking and cracking in solid wood. It may also be more likely to cause deformation, cupping and bowing in any wooden component. So at what temperature should you keep for the sake of your wooden furniture?

What a question! I usually use the rule of thumb that whatever a comfortable temperature for me is the temperature that can do most for my wooden furniture, but if you’re still not sure, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use dehumidifiers and / or an air conditioner to control excess humidity.

  2. Use a humidifier to prevent the air from becoming too dry in the winter.

  3. Maintain normal climate control while on vacation to reduce the risk of damage.

  4. Before installing the new wooden furniture, acclimatise them by moving them to the room in which they will be installed. This should be done at least 48 hours before installation. If this doesn’t work for you, place them in another area that has substantially the same temperature.

Last but not least, temperature and humidity are also affected by: adequate external drainage, adequate insulation, correctly installed vapor barriers and adequate and adequate ventilation and air exchange.


by Darwin Zhou

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