8 Tips on How to Maintain Solid Wood Furniture
Furniture made of solid wood is a class apart – it radiates natural warmth, it’s incredibly versatile and imbues any space with an elegant look. What’s more, it’s durable, customisable and has great resale value. Available in a variety of grains, tones and textures, wooden furniture looks timeless and can last a lifetime. But, how do we ensure it does? Because, for all its solidity, wood being a natural material is susceptible to wear and tear. Here are some tips that will keep your beloved pieces looking stunning and stylish.
The different kinds of wood-finishing products – whether wax, oil, polish or any other varnish – nourish the wood and protect it from fading, scratches, dust and moisture. While most good wooden furniture comes pre-polished and hence, protected, it is good to reapply another coat of wax/oil/polish after a few years.
In case you plan to do this yourself, do keep in mind a few basics: ensure your furniture is dust free before applying any finish, use the product in small quantities to avoid build-up, polish in small parts, and buff after application.
Draw your curtains to cut off direct sun rays. Also, using yellow lights instead of bright blue lights can minimise the unnecessary exposure. You can use painted wooden furniture or furniture protected with PU in your semi-shaded balconies.
If the accumulation is thick, you may need to use warm water with mild soap to remove it. Dip a lint free cloth (like an old tee) in the warm water soap solution and tightly squeeze out all the water before wiping the surface.
Exposure to humidity can cause wood to absorb moisture in the air leading it to expand or contract which can result in swelling or cracking. Especially for furniture that is in parts, humidity may cause it to expand in different directions, and as a result the pieces may not fit together.
Leave doors and windows open for ventilation; plenty of air and indirect sunlight can help control humidity levels. Camphor and naphthalene balls are good at absorbing moisture too. In excessively moist conditions, it would be ideal to use a dehumidifier to maintain consistent humidity levels of around 40-45%.
One of the easiest ways to protect your wood furniture is to use coasters or mats or tablecloths. This avoids spills and water rings being formed on the surface. This is especially important for dining and coffee tables.
Fun fact: Mayonnaise makes for a great cleaner of water stains. Apply on the stain, let it sit for a few hours, wipe away and buff.
Treating your solid wood furniture gently and with care will make sure they look great for years to come. Over the years, the finish on it could wear off and it can start to look dull. Have a repolishing schedule. If Diwali is when everything in your home gets a double shine, schedule it before Diwali. There are some very good water based poly urethane products available in the market today, that doesn't need a lot of professional skill to apply. If it’s just one or two pieces of furniture, get hold of some PU, read the instructions and apply the finish yourself. Trust us when we say its a very enjoyable process.
A stitch in time saves nine is true even when it comes to furniture. Though wooden furniture is tough and durable, surfaces can get stained, corners can get nicked, legs can get scuffed. Wobbly chairs will need immediate attention. It is important to treat minor damages before they turn into something drastic. So, watch out for any signs of wear and tear and immediately swing into damage control mode – wipe, clean, sand, fill, buff – whatever you must as first aid.
P.S. Treat your furniture gently, avoid dragging them around with loads atop and banging things into them.
Any natural wood can get distorted under high temperature; the original texture of the surface warps or swells due to thermal expansion. Direct exposure to heat can also cause wooden surfaces to crack or leave behind heat stains. Make sure exposure is limited to permissible time intervals; and, do not place furniture in front of vents, radiators or fireplaces.
The more regular you are with these simple practices, the easier it gets to maintain your furniture in the long run; and, you can pass it on to the next generation looking as good as new!