It’s Winter Time, So Check on Your Cabinets’ Health!

Bob Russo, ACSD/PKBP

Last year, we discussed how the winter time weather can affect your cabinets. So here are some things to keep in mind:

  • 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 can serve as a sign of a home that is either to dry or too moist.
  • 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.
  • If your cabinet doors that were lying flat on the cabinet face start to cup or warp away from the cabinet face, this is not a defect in the wood. This type of movement is normal and is a natural occurrence, because wood will always breathe and look for water.
  • Be careful not to introduce too much moisture in to the home, though! Having the air being too moist can have the opposite effect: doors can swell. Butt doors, double door cabinets where the two doors close against each other, can rub or even start to overlap.
wood shrinkage from lack of moisture

Because of wood shrinkage from lack of moisture, you can see a white line appear in the center panel.

To make sure that your cabinets remain in good working order, it’s important to keep the humidity level at a happy medium. You can purchase a hygrometer quite inexpensively to keep an eye on the relative humidity, or you may invest in a humidistat to make sure that it never becomes a problem. Either way, this time of year, not only is good air moisture good for your own health, but for your cabinets’ health as well!

See our follow-up post concerning how to control the humidity in your home.

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

1 Response to “It’s Winter Time, So Check on Your Cabinets’ Health!”

  1. 1 Brian @ Kitchen Designers January 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Winter is also a great time for light staining and refinishing indoor wood. The air is so dry, the wood just soaks up stain and finishes like a sponge leaving wood looking vibrant and extra shiny.

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