If you happen to be the proud owner of high-quality timber furniture, then do know that you are the master of a treasured family heirloom. Capable of lasting for generations in a row, timber furniture pieces have beautiful aesthetics, are durable and long-lasting, and possess immense resale value.
Given the intrinsic worth of your antique or modern timber products, it is important that you take good care of their upkeep and maintenance. Here are some proven means of handling timber furniture with care so as at to make them withstand the tests of time.
Keep the cleaning process simple
The less the better – this is the secret behind cleaning timber furniture in a way that it keeps looking as good as new for a very long time. This is especially true in context to the everyday cleaning of your customized pieces. One of the easiest and most effective ways of going about the act is by using a mild dishwashing solution and water.
It is a good idea to use a soft, scratch/lint free, and slightly wet cloth to go about the cleaning process. Once you have used the dishwashing solution for removing the dust and stains if any, use another piece of soft cotton rag to remove all traces of moisture from the surface of the timber. In other words, dry it thoroughly.
Always avoid using abrasive or solvent-based cleaning products as they tend to cause more harm than good to your furniture. Also, it is a bad idea to use normal furniture polishes as they may end up spoiling the natural look and overall appeal of the expensive timber. The same goes for wax pastes or something similar that can lead you up the wrong path with your cleaning efforts.
Know the timber finish
One of the primary factors of consideration related to maintaining your furniture is dependent on the kind of finish applied to the same. As per experts in the field of furniture polish, oil finish ages gracefully and leaves its impact over generations. On the other hand, lacquered furniture pieces are known to look their very best when they leave the workshop; over time, they may start showcasing a dull and faded look.
If you are looking for zero maintenance finish polish work, it would make sense to spray on lacquer which would form a protective coating on timber. In contrast, natural oil finishes are penetrative, soak into the wood, and offer protection from staining and moisture – overall, they require more care and upkeep to keep on looking good year after year. A primary benefit of using oil finish is that it can be re-applied periodically to gain the same finish back again.
Timber furniture is made of natural resources and therefore it is essential to nourish the same with good care. In general, beeswax and oil finish is the most popular choices as they allow the timber surface to breathe. Another good thing about using these polishes is that they allow you to touch and feel the original grains present in the wood. So, as soon as the surface of your wooden furniture starts looking dry and bleak, all it needs is a little oil polish to bring the luster back.
In line with the extent of usage of timber furniture, you will generally need to invest in a thin coat of oil polish, to be applied with the help of a soft cotton cloth, at least one or two times across the year.
Protect your furniture against spills
Spills are unavoidable, they tend to happen even though you may have taken maximum possible care to keep them at bay. Be it your cup of morning coffee getting knocked over the table top, or a glass of red wine choosing to go awry at an evening do, all spills can cause irreversible damages for your furniture’s finish. It is a good idea to clean up such spills as soon as they take place.
In general, oil finishes tend to be less resilient to spills and heat as they are absorbed deep into the timber. On the other hand, polyurethanes are known to remain on the wooden surface and fill the grain. In most cases, experts recommend the use of 2pac polyurethane type finish for furniture pieces undergoing heavy usage. Such furniture finish is highly resistant to staining and scratches from tea and coffee plates and cups. Alternatively, you may like to use a proven oil finish, which if applied the right way, can build up a thick coat for alleviating the concerns of high use situations.
Use air-conditioning units as less as possible
Using your air conditioning units in rooms where the timber furniture is placed can have negative impacts on the same. The general moisture content present in any piece of seasoned timber usually remains around 12%. Air cons lead to drying and are capable of drawing the extra moisture out from timber, thereby causing the same to shrink and distort to a certain extent. To avoid this, it is important to place your furniture pieces away from the air conditioning vents and heating units alike. Overall, the aim should be to keep the timber furniture in a natural and consistent environment to prevent movements in the grains and minimize moisture change.
Draw the curtains
According to timber care experts at Home and Timber, sunlight is capable of discoloring wood and is responsible for breaking down its layers of finish over an extended period of time. Therefore, it pays to be cautious and not expose your precious furniture pieces to direct UV rays of the sun; especially during the harsh summer months. In case you do not wish to invest in UV tinting on your windows, at least cover them with thick curtains to prevent the harmful sunlight from entering your rooms.
Even a little effort goes a long way in increasing the longevity of timber pieces; so, take care!