Movement & Warping
In most homes it is impossible to maintain a completely stable temperature and humidity. In general, temperatures and humidity levels cycle throughout the year in response to changes in the natural environment. Even heating and air conditioning systems do not completely counter this natural cycle. The best that can be done is to tighten the range of fluctuation. Holiday Kitchens recommends temperature and humidity ranges for its products, and when those levels are maintained, damage from major movement in the wood can be avoided; however, because there is always some fluctuation in temperature and humidity, there will always be some fluctuation in the cabinetry. Holiday has engineered its products to compensate for this inevitable movement with special construction methods, an excellent Master Finish, and careful selection of high quality raw materials. Still, some signs of woods movement will be visible, and it is important that owners of wood cabinetry (and other wood products) understand that these signs are normal and to be expected.
One of these signs is the appearance of lines at joints. During parts of the annual cycle, the lines of joints will become more pronounced. You may even be able to feel where joints that once were flush now have a slight unevenness. This is a normal result of expansion and shrinkage of wood. The strength of the joint is not diminished. The same effect can be sometimes seen on the panels of doors, as the edge-joins between staves of the panel may be lightly felt or seen. Again, this is a natural occurrence in wood and doesn’t affect the strength of the panel. Lines at joints can be more evident with painted, primed, or glazed products. For the most part, finish does not flex as readily as wood does, so in response to movement in the wood it will form a hairline crack at joints. This is also expected and normal, and the protection given by the finish is not compromised.
There are times that wood components will warp. Warp is the result of parts of the piece of wood contracting or expanding at a different than the rest of the piece. With multiple piece components, like doors, this can be more common. Most warping will even out over time as the entire piece eventually shrinks or grows to the same point. Many times, warping doors can be corrected by simple means; i.e. adjusting hinges to hold the door more tightly against the cabinet, a magnetic catch on a corner that is warping away to pull the door back , remove the door and evenly place heavy weight on it for a few days.
If the warp is bad enough, the door or warped part can be replaced; however, homeowners are almost always better off keeping their original door or cabinet part. Newer wood introduced into a cabinet will perform the same as rest of the parts in the cabinet or kitchen. It is always difficult to match the color, simply because aging and conditions in the home cannot be completely replicated in the factory. Holiday Kitchens can do color matches, but they cannot prevent the natural mellowing of color that will occur when the new part reaches the home. A new piece that is matched exactly with an older job may look good when it is first installed, but over time it will continue to age and mellow at a different rate than the rest of the kitchen and you run the risk of it seeming out of place a few months or years later.
Many times the best resolution for a slightly warping component is to leave it and allow the natural cycle of humidity and temperature to bring it back true. It isn’t clear what causes warp in components over time, some experts believe inherent factors in the wood may lead to it eventually warping, and there is no way to predict which pieces may be susceptible. Holiday Kitchens warranties its products against excessive permanent warp and will replace any products that do not respond to the corrective actions listed previously.
Understanding how wood responds to changes in its environment is crucial in knowing how your Holiday Kitchen will respond to the decades of use you will receive from it. Much frustration and disappointment can be avoided by understanding the inherent characteristics of your natural wood investment.