In the first part of “How To Take Care of Your Kitchen”, we discussed tips on how to fight grime and which are the best cleaning products to use to preserve the beauty of your kitchen’s finishes and surfaces and, consequently, extend its life as much as possible. But if your kitchen is mostly (or even in part) made of wood, there are other specific factors to consider.
Wood is a “living” material and is therefore sensitive to its surroundings. In fact, it maintains an internal level of humidity that depends on the humidity present in the environment it “lives” in: approximately 8-12% in surroundings with 40% to 70% humidity and temperatures between 50° and 95° F.
When the external conditions change, the level of humidity of the wood increases or decreases as well, causing the dimensions of the wooden elements to vary. This variation happens primarily perpendicular to the grain of the wood.
If the dimensional variations are significant (in extreme cases of humidity they can be in the order of several millimeters), they can occasionally lead to the formation of cracks or a noticeable “shifting” of the elements. To avoid this, it’s necessary to ensure that the humidity of the environment does not remain below 40% or above 70% for extended periods of time.
The most critical conditions are:
- Low levels of humidity. These can be reached in the winter when the heating is on (especially on clear, cold days) and in the case of wood-burning stoves placed in the kitchen. Appropriate measures for maintaining a correct ambient humidity must be taken (which are also important for your respiratory system, by the way). Preventative measures include placing “earthenware” humidifiers on heaters or a small pan of water on the wood-burning stove, or using more modern humidifiers.
- High levels of humidity. These can be reached: in new buildings where paint isn’t perfectly dry; in the rainy seasons of spring and fall; in second homes that are not lived in regularly; in houses near the ocean; in homes where people cook a lot and lack proper ventilation over the stove, resulting in a lot of steam being produced and dispersed in the home environment.
Caring for your kitchen properly might take a bit of an effort but is very important…and completely worth it!
Got more questions about how to care for your kitchen? Ask us and we’ll give you advice.