Why Finishes Fail
by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher
Spring! We are finally getting into the best time of the year in terms of the weather. Now
is the best time to clean up, clear out, throw away and rediscover treasures lost
in the clutter of the winter months.
This can also be the time when we unwittingly do the most damage to those treasured pieces
in the home, especially the older pieces that have been around for quite a while.
Even though we all want to open up the house and air out everything after being closed up all winter,
this can be a big mistake. Heat and humidity are the biggest culprits when it comes to finish degradation.
The problem is that when the wood in a finished piece is allowed to swell and shrink as seasons change, the finish
has to swell and shrink as well. This causes the finish to crack microscopically over
Here's how to avoid risking damage:
1. Never open the windows during high humidy.
2. Only allow cool dry air into the house.
3. Avoid allowing rooms to get really hot. Heat will make all of the woodwork in the house swell, including your wooden furniture.
4. Never turn on the whole-house fan during high humidity. This will draw in moist humid air
causing everything to swell. Doors won't close, drawers stick and the floors may even buckle
from moisture uptake.
5. For those fortunate enough to have air conditioning, use it. By keeping the temperature and humidity
in the house constant, wood movement is minimized and degradation is kept to a
I invite you to sign up for one of my upcoming wood finishing seminars at Highland Woodworking:
and Gold Leafing
, May 6, 2009
Wood Coloring Basics
, May 13, 2009
, May 23, 2009
Scott Antiques Mall Treasure Hunt
, June 13, 2009
Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at