Safeguarding Your Investment: Understanding Humidity’s Impact on Custom Millwork

effect of humidity on Custom Millwork

Brick-and-mortar businesses rely on visual and architectural details to communicate with coming-and-going customers. Custom millwork is among the most significant but underestimated details. It enhances your storage space, productivity, and interior synergy. 

However, custom millwork requires care and an ideal indoor environment to last. Knossos Furniture Design explores custom millwork protection and how humidity can affect your property below. 

How Humidity Impacts Millwork

While millwork comes in various materials, many business owners choose fine wood for shelving, thresholds, and other interior architecture. Although designers treat wood to protect it from the elements, the indoor humidity levels will still impact its longevity. 

Humidity refers to the level of moisture in the surrounding atmosphere. Even though you may not feel it, the air around you has a measurable humidity percentage. It can affect your millwork by:

  • Shrinking and expanding: Your millwork will expand and contract as moisture fills the area and evaporates. Wood’s porousness requires specialty woodcraft safeguarding practices to keep the atmosphere stable. 
  • Warping the wood: As the wood shrinks and expands, it warps out of shape. You might notice bowed or bent shelves or thresholds after several years without tailored millwork protection. 
  • Attracting mold spores: Consistently high humidity levels create a conducive environment for mold growth. When mold flourishes indoors, it can lead to wood discoloration and low indoor air quality. 

What Is a Safe Humidity Level?

Bespoke millwork preservation begins with knowing the ideal humidity level in your shop, office, or showroom. You can keep most wooden fixtures, including furniture and custom millwork, in areas between 40 and 50 percent humidity. Most indoor rooms naturally stay within this range. 

However, your local weather patterns might disrupt average indoor humidity levels with:

  • Persistent rainstorms: Constant precipitation raises outdoor humidity levels. This excess moisture will eventually find its way into your business. 
  • Extreme temperatures: Rising and falling temperatures may cause you to change your typical HVAC usage. Your indoor moisture levels rise and fall in turn. 
  • Droughts: Moisture constantly escapes and seeps into buildings. During droughts, it only escapes with no return, wicking moisture from the millwork.  

These events can influence your indoor atmosphere, leading to warped wood without the appropriate precautions. 

When To Be Concerned About Humidity Levels

When indoor humidity levels rise above 50 or below 40 percent, custom millwork protection methods should be considered. You can purchase a hygrometer from a retail store to track moisture levels inside your commercial building. These devices measure the amount of moisture in the surrounding air. 

Millwork framing doors and windows are especially vulnerable to excess humidity as moisture enters the tiny spaces around these structures. Conversely, millwork near HVAC vents might dry out too quickly due to dry air blowing directly onto the materials. Tracking humidity percentages in these areas will help you determine the best approach. 

How To Increase Indoor Humidity Levels

Many property owners have more concerns about excessive moisture levels. However, arid indoor air also takes its toll on wooden fixtures. You can implement one of the following unique woodworking preservation recommendations to keep the humidity above 40 percent:

  • Portable humidifiers: A portable humidifier releases vaporized moisture into the air. It works best in small, enclosed areas, like break rooms and offices. 
  • Commercial humidifiers: An HVAC technician can install a commercial humidifier on your HVAC unit. It supplies large-scale humidity control to open floor plans for retail spaces and showrooms. 

You might find humidifiers beneficial during fall and winter. Your HVAC system produces warm, dry air to keep the building comfortable. However, this comfort wicks moisture out of the air and dries your millwork. 


How To Decrease Indoor Humidity Levels

Summer and spring bring rainstorms and warm weather — the perfect combination for excessive indoor moisture. You need a reliable artisanal millwork defense technique to protect your wooden fixtures. Store your portable humidifiers and turn the commercial humidifier off. 

It’s time to power up these helpful tools:

  • Portable dehumidifiers: You can place and plug in a portable dehumidifier in your enclosed office, restroom, or another small space. It draws moisture out of the air. 
  • Commercial dehumidifiers: A commercial dehumidifier does the opposite of its humidifying counterpart. However, you’ll still need a qualified technician to fit and install it. 

When wood becomes too moist, it expands, placing pressure on the hardware and keeping it in place. Nails, screws, and similar components provide custom woodwork with security. Once it starts bucking against the hardware, it needs removal and replacement. 

Contact Knossos Furniture Design About Millwork and Other Custom Interior Solutions

Knossos Furniture Designs specializes in custom millwork, furniture, and other interior features crafted from lasting, fine-wood materials. Call 718-729-0404 to learn more about custom millwork protection recommendations or request a consultation from our talented, reputable designers and carpenters. We craft unique, modern designs for home and business owners looking to create inspiring interior spaces.

About The Author

Peter Despotopoulos

Hi, I’m Peter Despotopoulos and I am the Director of Marketing and Business Development at Furniture Design Knossos Inc. I have over 14 years of experience in the furniture design industry with expertise in custom millwork, architectural woodwork, cabinetry, built-in units, stone counters, wood or plastic laminate counters, and metal work.

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