Wood maintains an internal level of humidity that depends on the humidity present in the environment it “lives” in: approximately 8%-12% in surroundings with 40% to 70% humidity and temperatures between 10° and 35°C. When the surrounding humidity changes, the level present in the wood increases or decreases, consequently causing the dimensions of the kitchen elements to change, primarily perpendicular to the grain of the wood. If these dimensional variations are marked – and in extreme cases of humidity they can be in the order of several millimetres – occasionally they lead to the formation of cracks or a noticeable shifting of the elements. To avoid this, it’s necessary to ensure that the surrounding humidity does not remain below 40% or above 70% for extended periods of time.
Based on our experience, the most critical conditions are:
- low levels of humidity, which are reached in winter with the heating on (especially on clear, cold days), floor heating, and in the case of wood-burning stoves placed in the kitchen if the appropriate steps for maintaining a correct surrounding humidity – which is also vital to your respiratory system – aren’t taken by, for example, placing “earthenware” humidifiers on heaters or a small pan of water on the wood-burning stove (“grandma’s” traditional remedy), or using more modern humidifiers;
- high levels of humidity, which are reached in new buildings when the walls and paint aren’t perfectly dry, in spring and autumn when it’s particularly rainy, in homes that are rarely used, in houses near the sea, in cellars and storerooms that may be used for temporary storage, and in homes where there is a great deal of cooking and no cooker hood is used, resulting in a lot of vapour.