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How to prevent warping of unfinished cabinet doors
Replacement Cabinet Doors need some special handling to avoid the problems associated with all unfinished wood products.
Unfinished cabinet doors are very susceptible to changes in temperature and relative humidity, and the raw wood will react to those changes very quickly.
Raw wood’s reaction to humidity and temperature changes is almost always damaging, but a few simple precautions can greatly reduce the chances of damage.
The reason finished cabinet doors are not damaged by normal changes in humidity is the fact that the sealer and lacquer slows the effects of the humidity changes.
Cabinet doors that have been properly finished will still react to fluctuations in climate, but the lacquer slows the changes in the wood’s moisture level enough to prevent damage.
The exact failure mechanism is splitting or warping, caused when moisture quickly enters or leaves the wood surface at a rate faster than moisture in the wood’s core can migrate to equalize the moisture change. These uneven moisture levels create stresses that cause the warping and splitting.
A few coats of sealer and lacquer on the cabinet door will slow the moisture entering or leaving the wood surface to the point where the moisture within the wood core can migrate, and equalize the overall moisture content and prevent stresses from occurring.
Finishing cabinet doors as soon as possible will avoid damage caused by humidity and climate related issues.
But, until they can be properly finished, here are a few tips and precautions that will help avoid damage to unfinished cabinet doors, caused by climate changes.
1. Unpack your door order and place the unfinished cabinet doors in a cool and climate-controlled location. The attached video shows this process.
2. If air circulates only around one surface of a door, the moisture will change on the exposed surface, and not on the un-exposed surface. This uneven air circulation will cause an unfinished door to warp, often within a few hours.
3. Allow air circulation on all sides of each door by removing the stretch-wrap and standing the doors with the bases apart by 2-or-3 inches. The attached video shows the preferred method of insuring proper air-flow around each door.
4. The doors should never be stored in direct sunlight.
5. If warping does occur before the cabinet doors can be properly finished, the warp can sometimes be removed by wiping the concave-side of the door with a slightly damp sponge. This will re-introduce moisture back into the side of the door which lost the moisture.
Preventing damage to unfinished cabinet doors is much easier than correcting the damage caused by improper storage and will help avoid climate-caused problems.
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