Cabinets and the Winter Time – Bob Russo

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP

Now that we are back into winter, you need be aware of how this time of year can affect your cabinets. When the heat is on, in a lot of cases, our homes get very dry. We apply lotion to our skin to stay moist, but we don’t think of the home needing moisture, as well. Your kitchen cabinets and furniture can be a sign or an overly dry (or moist) home.

If you see unfinished wood on the cabinet center panels next to the door styles and rails (door frame work), one or two edges, opposite each other, it may be a sign that the center panel has shifted (easily fixed by tapping it back into place). But, if you notice that the center panels on your cabinets are showing an unpainted or stained line (see picture below) on three or all four sides, this is a sign that the wood is drying out and shrinking. You need to get some moisture back in to the air in your home. Room or home humidifiers work well to do this.

wood shrinkage from lack of moisture

Once you get the humidity levels back to a neutral state, you should see the lines around the center panel go away. If the panels are allowed to shrink up too much or are not controlled, they may not go all the way back and you may need to do some touch-up work. You may even notice that doors that were lying flat on the cabinet face start to cup or warp away from the cabinet face. This type of movement is normal, not a defect in the wood and is a natural occurrence; wood will always breathe and look for water.

But be careful not to introduce too much moisture into the home; it can have the opposite effect: doors can swell. Butt doors (double door cabinets where the two doors close against each other) can rub or ever start to overlap. A meter to check the moisture level of your home can be purchased for very little money.

When your cabinets are being built, every aspect is controlled, even the environment. Once you get them, it’s up to you to do the same,  so you can enjoy them for many years, trouble free. So watch your cabinets; they can tell you a lot about what is going on in your home.

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP
Kitchen Views at National Lumber
15 Needham St. Newton, MA 02461
Phone: 617-244-8020

6 Responses to “Cabinets and the Winter Time – Bob Russo”

  1. 1 Ruby Knolls January 6, 2012 at 3:35 am

    I really like your site. Very good posts! Please continue posting such awesome cotent.

  2. 2 Kitchen Cabinets January 6, 2012 at 4:36 am

    ya its very interesting post.. you high lite very interesting topic man.. thanks for this very beneficial post….

  3. 3 Dennis Yannakos June 30, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    I like this website! very informative!

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