Because wood is a natural substance, its dimensions can shift in response to shifts in the amount of moisture it absorbs. If the wood is utilised in locations that see dramatic shifts in the levels of wetness or humidity, this could provide a concern.
The most common reason for this problem is when a homeowner decides not to finish their basement with drywall but rather does so with an unfinished wooden wall; when the basement floods from outside sources such as heavy rain or snowmelt, water will then collect behind this unfinished wall and evaporate into the room creating high levels of humidity which, over time, breaks down the structural integrity of the wood causing it to crack. The second most common reason for this problem is when a homeowner decides not to finish their basement with drywall but rather
Homeowners may consider finishing off these walls by installing drywall or another form of waterproofing materials to reduce the risk of further damage occuring in the future.
Reasons Why, and How to Treat It?
Any home would be enhanced by the addition of some lovely wooden furniture. It has a rustic vibe and a subtle charm that is difficult to reproduce, and as a result, due to its inherent elegance, it is a go-to choice for homeowners everywhere. If you want your new furniture to last and look good through the years and through all the seasons, you need to understand the outs and ins of taking care of it, just as you would need to know those things about taking care of any piece of furniture.
What Can Be Done To Prevent Wood Cracking?
When it comes to taking care of wood furniture, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the fact that it is sensitive to the varying levels of humidity that it is exposed to. In light of this, it is essential that you keep an eye on the opposite end of the spectrum while you are performing your routine maintenance, which should involve keeping the wood from being subjected to prolonged exposure to moisture for the purpose of preventing moisture and warping damage. The arrival of winter brings with it a drop in temperature, but it also brings a drop in humidity, which can have an adverse effect on any wooden furniture you may have.
This is due to the fact that the wood that your furniture is composed of loses its normal moisture content as the humidity decreases, which might result in the wood shrinking and cracking as a direct consequence. This is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to the winter season; rather, it may happen at any time of year since the humidity levels in your house will change throughout the year, causing the wood to either swell or shrink as it adjusts to the new levels.
It is essential to take into consideration that the majority of wooden furniture, especially raw edge furniture, is best preserved at a temperature that is mild. Think 21-23 degrees celsius. In terms of humidity, an ideal range is between 51 & 54 percent; this can be achieved by employing either a humidifier or a dehumidifier in order to maintain consistent levels despite the changing of the seasons.
To reduce the risk of the wood splitting, avoid exposing it to excessive heat, storing it in regions that are always excessively dry, rooms that are always damp, and direct sunlight. In addition, make sure that you keep a close eye on your live edge furniture to verify that it is adapting appropriately and that it is not being negatively impacted by the humidity and temperature in your home.
The Crack In The Wood Is Small; How Do You Fix It?
Don't freak out if you discover that one of your wooden pieces of furniture already has a hairline crack in it. The cracks in the wood can be concealed with wood filler or wood putty sticks, both of which are commercially available. You may also use a mixture of sawdust and wood glue to fill in the gaps and cracks, or you could use epoxy to deal with larger cracks, particularly on furniture that is kept outside. Both of these options are viable. As long as you keep in mind to sand and blend the filling to ensure that it blends in seamlessly with the rest of the finish on your live edge furniture, you should be ready to go.
Call a professional if you are still unsure how to maintain the temperature and humidity levels in your home, or if you need assistance filling in any cracks in the surface of your wooden furniture. You can relax, knowing that you can count on their expertise to help you reach the best possible outcomes, as they will be aware of both the best and the best-case scenarios for your specific situation.
Mistakes With Wood Can Cause Your Diy Furniture To Crack
Wood is used in the construction of our do-it-yourself furniture projects, but do we really grasp how wood functions? Cracks and splits will appear in our work if we construct it without taking into account the seasonal movement of the wood. On the other hand, if we construct utilising the appropriate methods, our works will become treasured treasures in our families.
Wood Is A Living Thing
Wood is a material that once lived. Is wood a living thing? Although it is not technically alive, this substance absorbs and retains water. Wait, did we just say hygroscopic? If so, please explain. Hygroscopic denotes the property of being able to take in moisture from the surrounding air. The same thing happens to wood now that it did when it was a tree growing in the ground: it is always taking in and giving off moisture.
The direction of the wood's grain or fibres runs parallel to the length of the board. Before a piece of timber is cut from a tree, the roots of the tree need to take up water, and that water will move through the fibres of the wood as it does so. One of the most helpful ways to conceptualise these wood fibres is as a pack of drinking straws. Even after it is cut down and turned into timber, the tree continues to "consume" water. However, rather than taking in water through its roots, moisture is drawn into the drinking straws or wood fibres that make up the wood by all of the exposed surfaces of the wood.
When the air is more humid, the drinking straws, which are made of wood fibres, are able to absorb more moisture, which causes the wood to swell and grow. When the relative humidity drops, the wood loses moisture, which causes it to contract and become less expansive. If you construct a piece of furniture when the air is humid, you may find that when the air is dry, some of the joints don't fit as well as they did when there was more moisture in the air. This is something you may discover if you develop the project when the humidity is high.
Why Wood Cracks
The consistent expanding and contracting movement of wood can give rise to a few problems here and there. In conditions where there is a higher relative humidity, the drinking straws or the wood fibres absorb the additional moisture in the air, which causes the wood to swell. The width is where you'll notice the biggest swelling take place. The stress exerted by this swelling is sufficient to cause joints to separate. Even worse, if the wood is bonded improperly, it can cause the wood to fracture and break. This can be avoided by joining the wood properly.
These drinking straws or wood fibres hold moisture, and when the relative humidity drops, the wood dries out and contracts. The width of the board is where you will notice the shrinking effect the greatest. The force exerted by this shrinkage is sufficient to tear joints apart. Even worse, if the wood is bonded improperly, it can cause the wood to fracture and break. This can be avoided by joining the wood properly.
In order to produce furniture projects with a longer lifespan, it is necessary for us to comprehend and take into account the consistent expanding and contracting movement of wood. When working with wood, it is necessary to be familiar with certain ground rules in order to properly account for this movement.
- We are powerless to stop the movement of the timber. As was just mentioned, rather than taking in water through the roots, a plant will take in moisture through its drinking straws or wood fibres. This process cannot be halted in any way at this time. It is a reality that needs to be comprehended and accepted by us.
- We are unable to impose restrictions on the flow of timber. Attempting to restrict or stop the movement of the wood will result in CRACKING of the wood. Let's say you create a frame out of 2x4s and a panel out of 1x4s to fit inside the frame that you just made. You will need to use your Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes all the way around the panel's perimeter in order to successfully attach it to the frame. You start by applying adhesive to the panel's edges, then you slide it into the frame, and finally you fasten it to the frame. This makes sense, doesn't it? Wrong! The panel's range of motion is restricted or halted by this assembly.
Let's take a more in-depth look at the case that we looked at earlier. The panel that is described above is "caught" within the frame, and as a result, it does not allow for the typical expansion and contraction that occurs in wood. It is important to keep in mind that the panel will expand in width from side to side as it takes in more moisture. Because the panel is linked to the frame with pocket screws, it is possible that the panel will crack as a result of the lateral expansion. It is also possible that it will cause the joints of the frame to become separated, resulting in a space being created between the rails and the stiles.
It is recommended that you apply a finish not only to the exterior of your product but also to the interior or bottom side of it as well. This will assist the wood in uniformly absorbing and releasing moisture into the surrounding environment.
Just picture caulking only one side of a board and leaving the other unprotected. In terms of absorption and release, the raw side of the board would perform far better than the sealed side. It's possible that the board will crack over time due to the varying rates at which it absorbs and releases moisture.
Joints Prone To Cracking
When it comes to creating or designing do-it-yourself furniture, it is crucial to know the types of joints that are prone to cracking. This is especially true now that we understand the movement of wood and the reason why wood cracks. The following is a list of common joints that have the potential to crack over time.
When two pieces of wood are joined perpendicular to one another, this type of joint is known as a cross-grain joint. For instance, we are currently working on a new project that calls for a support for a drawer slide that will be mounted on a side panel and will run front to back. The movement of the assembly would be altered if we were to affix a 1x4 bracing to the side panel using glue and screws. The side would move in a horizontal direction, while the brace would move in a vertical direction. This uneven movement has the potential to break the wood over time.
If you can't help but create a joint that goes across the grain of the wood, you shouldn't glue it. At the very least, this will make some motion possible. It will take a little bit more time, but for our project, we were planning to construct a brace out of multiple pieces of wood and glue them together in a direction that corresponds to the grain of the wood on the side. The side and the brace will move together in the same direction if you do it this way.
In the prior section, where we discussed having a grasp of wood, we used a panel as an example. In that previous illustration, we shown how the assembly could fracture. The creation of a floating panel is the most effective method for managing a panel. In a picture frame that has a floating panel, the frame will have a groove or dado cut into it, and the panel will float inside of this groove. Because of this, the panel and the frame would be able to contract and expand independently of one another.
Utilising a plywood panel is a second option, but one that is less desirable. Plywood is produced by adhering a large number of thin layers of wood with a cross-grain pattern to one another. Wait, didn't we just go over how joints that are cut across the grain are more likely to crack? You're quite right, we did, but things are done a little bit differently around here. Because the layers of plywood are so thin, the material nearly never absorbs moisture in any significant amount. In contrast to a piece of lumber, plywood either moves very little or hardly at all as a direct consequence of this difference.
A panel that was constructed out of 1x4s and pocket screws was connected to the frame when it was assembled. You might use a panel made of plywood instead of the 14 panel to decrease the likelihood of cracking occuring. The plywood panel would almost completely prevent the movement from side to side, but movement would still be caused by the frame rails. The likelihood of this assembly cracking is lower than average, yet it is still a possibility.
Tabletop fasteners are an excellent alternative to consider when looking for a method to attach furniture tops to bases. Tabletop fasteners enable the tops of the furniture to be moved in any direction. Before you can instal the tabletop fastener, you need to start by cutting a slot in the apron. After that, the tabletop fastener is slid into the slot, and a screw is used to secure it to the top of the table.
A plate joiner or a biscuit joiner can be used to create tabletop fasteners that are attached by the user themselves. First, on a piece of wood the size of a 1x3, cut a biscuit slot, then drill a hole for a countersink, and finally cut the piece.
After that, cut a number of biscuit slits into the apron-like interior of the base. To attach, first insert a biscuit into the apron, then position a DIY tabletop fastener over the biscuit, and finally screw the DIY tabletop fastener to the top. Your do-it-yourself tabletop fasteners allow the tabletop to move freely, much like the tabletop fasteners that can be purchased in stores.
Breadboard ends are used to spruce up the ends of tabletops; nevertheless, this circumstance involves cross-grain, and we are already aware that joints like this one are prone to splitting. When the ends of a breadboard are joined together using pocket holes, it is typically only a matter of time before the breadboard cracks.
How To Treat Wood Furniture, So It Doesn't Crack?
In contrast, pieces of wood furniture that have not been properly cleaned and cared for exhibit characteristics such as a dry and brittle appearance as well as a lacklustre gloss and a supple texture. The use of polish helps in maintaining the wood's smoothness and pliability, while oil-based cleaning treatments eliminate dirt and grime from the furniture while also hydrating it. The appropriate maintenance of your wood furniture will prevent cracking, fading, and other damage, allowing you to continue to enjoy the fruits of your investment for many years to come.
- To remove dust from furniture, use a soft cloth that has been lightly dampened or a vacuum cleaner with an extra-soft brush attachment. This not only removes dust and dirt particles but also assures that following cleaning procedures will not drive the particles deeper into the wood grain or harm the surface.
- Create a hydrating cleaning solution that is appropriate for the type of furniture you have. In eight cups of very hot water, dissolve one tablespoon of gum turpentine along with two tablespoons of linseed oil that has been heated. Alternately, you might mix boiled linseed oil, white distilled vinegar, and turpentine in proportions that are equal to one another. If you like, you can substitute a wood cleaner that is available for purchase in place of these. Before moving forwards, it is important to conduct a covert test of the solution, especially if you are using store-bought goods.
- Use any cleaning solution you like to get the furniture spotless. Put on gloves, then soak a nonabrasive rag or sponge in the solution, and then squeeze as much water out of it as possible. First, wipe down a small area, then buff away the cleanser using a clean towel that is damp with water, and finally, buff once more using a dry rag. Continue this process, working on the furniture in portions, until it is completely clean. This allows you to dry each piece more rapidly and avoids the solution from remaining for an excessive amount of time in any one region. Cracking is encouraged when moisture is allowed to remain on wood for an extended period of time, so rapid drying is essential.
- After washing the surface of the wood, a moisturising furniture polish should be applied to the surface. Although most commercial wood cleaners and cleaning solutions using linseed oil already have polishes built in, certain types of wood may require further polishing. Combine one tablespoon of lemon extract with four cups of mineral oil, or combine one half cup of white distilled vinegar and one half cup of lemon oil with one and a half cups of olive oil. Utilizing a buffing motion and a soft rag, apply this to the wood so that it becomes shiny. After allowing the oil to sit for ten to fifteen minutes, buff away any excess that has accumulated.
- At the very least once every week, dust the furniture on a regular basis using a damp, soft rag to maintain it clean. Polish the furniture as often as is required to maintain its lustre and hydration. Only clean wooden furniture if it is obviously dirty, which should only be once every few months even after it has been dusted.
Placement, Household Environment And Waxing
- When possible, keep wooden furniture out of the direct sunshine. The exposure to light and heat bleaches the wood and causes it to dry out faster than it normally would, which in turn leads to cracking.
- You should strive to keep the humidity level in your home consistent. The wood will compress when exposed to a dry environment, but will expand when exposed to high levels of humidity. The back and forth eventually leads to cracking. In order to keep the air at a constant level of humidity, you should use a dehumidifier during the summer and a humidifier during the winter.
- Applying paste or liquid wax on a periodic basis to wood furniture will restore its gloss and provide a barrier that will protect it. Waxing causes accumulation too frequently, hence it should only be done in extreme cases when conventional polishing is unsuccessful. Wax, both liquid and paste, has the ability to repel water and preserve wood from heat, but it is not a protective finish that is clear in appearance. Use either product in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Wax paste is often applied with a cloth, whereas liquid wax can be applied with either a cloth or a brush.
Wood is extremely vulnerable to changes in humidity. In addition to cooler weather, winter also ushers in drier conditions due to the season's general decrease in humidity. That's bad news for any wooden furnishings you might have at home. Because of seasonal changes in humidity, wood in your home may dry out and crack. Raw edge furniture, like most wooden furniture, is best preserved at a mild temperature.
If you're still feeling lost about how to keep your home at a comfortable temperature and humidity level, it's probably time to call in the experts. Wood is hygroscopic, so it takes in and holds onto moisture from the air. The grain or fibres of the wood run in a direction parallel to the length of the board. Because it absorbs moisture from the air, wood expands and contracts depending on the humidity level. Wood's natural tendency to expand and contract over time can cause minor issues.
Drinking straws and wood fibres both swell when exposed to higher relative humidities because they absorb this extra moisture from the air. As the swelling increases in size, it exerts enough pressure to cause the joints to become dislocated. To avoid this, make sure the wood is properly joined. Due to being "caught" within the frame, the aforementioned panel cannot expand and contract as naturally occurs in wood. The uneven rates at which the board absorbs and releases moisture can cause it to crack over time.
It's not a good idea to use glue in a joint where the two pieces of wood will meet across the grain. The best method for controlling a panel is to turn it into a floating panel. If you need a new way to secure table tops to bases, consider investing in some tabletop fasteners. Furniture tops with fasteners can be swivelled in any direction for maximum comfort and convenience. To fasten, place a biscuit in the apron's pocket, then set a homemade tabletop fastener over the biscuit.
Wooden furniture can be protected from cracking, fading, and other damage with regular care and upkeep. Two tablespoons of gum turpentine and two teaspoons of linseed oil make an effective furniture cleaner. You can use any product designed for cleaning wood to ensure the furniture is spotless. When water sits on wood for a long time, cracking becomes more likely. Avoid exposing wood furniture to direct sunlight and maintain a constant humidity level around it.
Maintain the shine and moisture of your furniture by polishing it as often as necessary. Wood furniture can benefit from regular applications of paste or liquid wax to restore its sheen and form a protective barrier against the elements.
- Wood, being a natural material, can expand or contract depending on the quantity of moisture it takes in.
- This could be an issue if the wood is used in areas where the level of moisture or humidity fluctuates widely.
- The most common cause of this issue is when a homeowner chooses not to finish their basement with drywall, opting instead to use an unfinished wooden wall; when the basement floods due to external sources like heavy rain or snowmelt, water will collect behind this unfinished wall, evaporating into the room to create high levels of humidity, which eventually weaken the wood's structural integrity and cause it to crack.
- You need to know the ins and outs of taking care of your new furniture if you want it to last and look beautiful over time and through all the seasons, just as you would need to know those things about taking care of any piece of furniture.
- In terms of upkeep, wood furniture is very susceptible to changes in humidity, so this must be taken into account.
- That's why, as part of your regular maintenance, you need to make sure the wood isn't exposed to too much moisture for too long, which can cause problems like warping.
- With winter's lower temperatures comes a correspondingly lower humidity, which can damage any wooden furniture you may have.
- The wood used in the construction of your furniture may dry out and crack if the relative humidity drops below its typical range.
- This is not just a wintertime phenomenon; rather, it can occur at any time of year due to the fluctuating humidity levels in your home, which can cause wood to expand or contract as it responds to its environment.
- It's important to remember that most wooden furniture, and especially raw edge furniture, is best maintained at a temperate temperature.
- Also, keep a close eye on your live edge furniture to make sure it is adjusting well and is not being harmed by the climate in your home.
- If you examine a piece of wooden furniture and see a tiny split or ding, there's no need to worry out.
- Wood filler and wood putty sticks are commercially available and can be used to cover the cracks in the wood.
- For outdoor furniture, larger fractures can be repaired with epoxy, while smaller ones can be filled with a mixture of sawdust and wood glue.
- You should be good to go as long as you remember to sand and blend the filling to make sure it fits in smoothly with the rest of the finish on your live edge furniture.
- If you're still unsure how to keep the temperature and humidity levels in your home stable, or if you need help filling in cracks in the surface of your wooden furniture, it's best to call a specialist.
- If we don't account for the seasonal movement of the wood, our finished product will be prone to cracks and splits.
- Wooden boards have grains or fibres that run in a direction parallel to their length.
- The roots of a tree need to drink water before any wood can be removed from it, and this water will go through the wood's fibres.
- To further understand what these wood fibres are, it can be useful to imagine a package of drinking straws.
- Instead of absorbing water through its roots, wood absorbs it through all of its exposed surfaces, which act like tiny drinking straws and pull moisture into the wood fibres that make up the wood.
- The wood fibres used to make drinking straws expand and swell when exposed to higher humidity levels, making the straws less effective.
- If you build a table or chair when it's humid outside, you can notice that when it's dry outside, the joints don't fit as well as they did when the air was humid.
- If you work on the project while the humidity is high, you might find this out.
- When exposed to situations with a greater relative humidity, the wood fibres or drinking straws expand as they take up more moisture from the air.
- These wood fibres behave like drinking straws, absorbing and holding moisture; as humidity levels decrease, the wood dries out and shrinks.
- Long-lasting furniture can only be made if we fully grasp and account for the natural expanding and contracting movement of wood.
- In order to correctly account for this movement when dealing with wood, it is important to be conversant with certain ground rules.
- If you try to limit or halt the wood's movement, you'll end up with CRACKING.
- Let's imagine you build a 2x4-based frame and a 1x4-based panel to fit inside it.
- To securely attach the panel to the frame, you must first drill pocket holes along its perimeter using the Kreg Jig.
- This assembly limits or prevents the panel from moving in any direction.
- Due to being "trapped" within the frame, the aforementioned panel cannot expand and compress as naturally occurs in wood.
- Due to the pocket screws holding the panel to the frame, the panel may shatter due to the outward force of the expansion.
- Understanding the different types of joints and which ones tend to crack is essential information for anyone making or designing their own furniture.
- Cross-grain joints are those in which two pieces of wood are bonded at right angles to one another.
- To give just one example, the latest project we're working on requires a support for a drawer slide that will be attached to a side panel and will run front to back.
- Attaching a 1x4 bracing to the side panel with glue and screws would affect the assembly's motion.
- The wood may eventually crack under the stress of this kind of irregular motion.
- You shouldn't use glue in a joint where the two pieces of wood will meet across the grain.
- Building a brace from many pieces of wood and glueing them together with the grain running parallel to the side will take a little more time, but it's what we had planned for our project.
- By far the most efficient means of controlling a panel is to make it float.
- There is a groove or dado cut into the picture frame, and the panel rests inside of that.
- At the time of construction, a panel made of 1x4s and pocket screws was attached to the frame.
- Instead of using a 14 panel, you might use a plywood panel to reduce the risk of cracking.
- Tabletop fasteners are a great option to consider when trying to figure out how to secure table tops to legs.
- To instal the fastener in the tabletop, you must first cut a slot in the apron.
- Insert a biscuit into the apron, place the do-it-yourself tabletop fastener over the biscuit, and then secure the biscuit and the fastener with screws.
- Your homemade tabletop fasteners function similarly to store-bought ones in that they permit the tabletop to swivel and tilt.
- Breadboards that have had their ends linked using pocket holes usually fail within a short period of time.
- Polishing keeps the wood shiny and supple, while oil-based cleaning procedures remove dirt and grime while moisturising the wood.
- Keeping up with regular maintenance helps ensure that your wood furniture doesn't crack, fade, or develop any other problems, extending the time you get to enjoy it.
- Make a cleaning solution that contains moisture and is suitable for the furniture you have.
- You can clean the furniture using whatever method you like.
- Repeat this process, focusing on smaller and smaller sections of the furniture until it is spotless.
- You should use a moisturising furniture polish after washing the wood.
- Furniture should be polished as often as necessary to keep its sheen and moisture levels at an optimum level.
- It's best to shield your wooden furniture from the sun whenever you can.
- Once in a while, applying paste or liquid wax to your wood furniture will bring back its shine and create a protective barrier.
- With the arrival of winter comes drier conditions, since humidity levels tend to drop at this time of year.
- The wood in your home may dry out and fracture when the humidity outside fluctuates throughout the year.
- Like other types of hardwood furniture, raw edge pieces are best kept at a relatively constant temperature.
- It's probably time to bring in the pros if you're still at a loss as to how to maintain a pleasant temperature and humidity level in your home.
- Wood expands and contracts depending on the relative humidity because it absorbs moisture from the air.
- Minor problems can arise from wood's inherent inclination to expand and contract over time.
- The panel can't move as wood does naturally because it's "trapped" inside the frame.
- When joining two pieces of wood across the grain, glue should be avoided.
- Turning a panel into a floating panel is the most effective means of manipulating it.
- Tabletop fasteners are an option if you're looking for a different method of affixing table tops to bases.
- Maintaining your wooden furniture on a regular basis will preserve it from cracking, deteriorating, and being damaged in other ways.
- A mixture of two tablespoons of gum turpentine and two teaspoons of linseed oil is a great furniture polish.
- Cleaning wood furniture is as simple as using any product meant for that purpose.
- Wood is more likely to crack if it is subjected to water for an extended period of time.
- Keep the humidity level surrounding the wood furniture steady and keep the furniture out of the direct sunshine.
- You should polish your furniture as often as you feel is required to maintain its sheen and dampness.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wood Cracking
Cracking and checking is a normal part of timber frame buildings, fences, and furniture and rarely results from structural issues. Cracking and checking timber is a very natural part of the life cycle of wood – even once it's been cut, shaped, and prepared for building.
Splits and cracks (known as wood checks in the industry) occur when wood shrinks as it dries. Wood shrinks roughly twice as much along the growth rings (radially) as it does across the rings (tangentially). It is this uneven shrinkage that causes checks to develop.
It's layers of finish or dried paint that build up over the years. They cement the panels in place, not allowing movement. And when there is a change in humidity and temperature, the wood continues to shrink and expand, but the panel is stuck in place, creating cracks.
Avoid excess heat or dryness, which can cause wood to split and crack. Keep your furniture away from heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators.
Place the wood in a warm, well-ventilated area to air dry.
Once the slice is completely covered with the paste, place it somewhere warm with good circulation, such as a shelf in a garage or shed. The salt paste will draw the moisture out of the slice and keep it from shrinking too quickly and cracking.