Storing wooden furniture is a practice that requires the application of effective strategies. An array of environmental factors can have detrimental effects on a company’s furniture – but, by following certain preventive measures, one can ensure its longevity, writes Luca Yates …

Understanding wood warp

Before you start storing your furniture, it is important to understand why it is important to do so in a particular way. Wood is a natural, living material that reacts to the environment it is in. It expands and contracts in response to changes in temperature and humidity. If these changes are sudden or extreme, your wooden furniture can warp, crack or split. Warp is a deformation that occurs when different parts of a piece of wood expand or contract at different rates.

What is the appropriate storage environment?

The first step to ensuring the safety of your wooden furniture is to create a suitable storage environment. This involves consideration of temperature, humidity, and ventilation.

Wooden furniture should ideally be stored in a room with a temperature of between 10-25°C. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can cause the wood to dry out or become excessively moist, both of which may lead to warping. Even in a room with optimal temperature and humidity, it's important to have adequate ventilation. Poor air circulation can cause mould and mildew, which can not only lead to a musty smell but also physically damage the wood.

Cleaning before storage

Before storing your wooden furniture, it's essential to clean it thoroughly. Any dirt or residue left on the furniture can slowly eat into the wood over time, causing damage. Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the surfaces, and then dry it well before storage to prevent moisture build-up.

To prepare your furniture for storage, you might consider applying a coat of furniture wax or polish. This forms a protective layer on the wood's surface that can help prevent damage from moisture or sudden temperature changes.

Correctly storing the furniture

When the furniture is ready to be stored, there are certain measures to follow. Large pieces of furniture should ideally be dismantled before storage. This not only makes the furniture easier to move and store, but it can also help prevent warping. Talk to someone at Safestore if that is a concern of yours. Each piece of wood will be able to expand and contract individually, rather than being forced to move with the whole piece.

You should also avoid using plastic sheets or similar materials to cover your wooden furniture, as these can trap moisture. Instead, use breathable fabric covers that will protect the furniture from dust and damage without creating a moist environment. Avoid placing wooden furniture directly on a concrete floor, as moisture can seep up from the ground and cause damage. Use pallets or shelves to elevate the furniture. Moreover, refrain from placing heavy objects on top of your wooden furniture to prevent undue pressure and potential warping. Helping to prevent furniture from warping or becoming damaged in storage, will help to save money replacing these pieces for your workplace.

Summary

Preserving the integrity and beauty of wooden furniture isn't simply about stashing it away in any available space. It necessitates meticulous attention to environmental conditions, careful preparation, and regular maintenance. Understanding the behaviour of wood under different conditions and being attentive to these can make the difference between preserving a cherished piece for future generations and seeing it warp or crack.

By employing these tips for storing wooden furniture, you will not only maintain its structural integrity but also its aesthetic appeal. These well-cared-for pieces that showcase excellent craftsmanship can make wonderful additions to your company’s office, to help furnish social spaces or as storage for equipment. In essence, correct storage practices safeguard your wooden furniture, allowing you to enjoy its timeless beauty and prolong its lifespan.