Wood is often affected by conditions that can change its appearance over time. It’s important to care for your cabinets properly in order to keep them looking good for years and to understand what comes with owning wood cabinetry. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Age and environmental conditions can have an effect on the appearance of wood cabinets. Interior lighting, exposure to UV rays and humidity can darken the finish over an extended period of time.
- Exposure to tobacco smoke will result in discoloration of any finish but this is more noticeable on white or lighter finishes.
- Showroom cabinetry samples may look different from new cabinetry installed in your home. Before you decide on a finish color, make sure you view it in the room and under the same lighting conditions in which the cabinets will be installed.
- Ranges and ovens emit heat and steam, both of which can affect the finish on any cabinet. To protect the finish on adjacent cabinets, we recommend using heat shields on both sides of types of appliances. In all kitchens with thermofoil cabinetry, heat shields on those appliances are required.
Although you may not notice it, wood is in a constant state of expansion and contraction which is mostly due to environmental factors. This tends to create joint lines in a painted surface on cabinet doors and face frames. This is a natural process and doesn’t affect the integrity of the joints in the cabinet doors or face frames.
End grain surfaces are softer in composition than other areas of the wood. As such, they absorb more stain and often appear darker. This is a natural reaction and potential variances cannot be prevented.
In nature, mineral deposits may form in the wood as the tree extracts nutrients from the soil. Common in many wood types, these mineral deposits cause blackish-blue streaks in the grain. When a finish is applied to mineral streaks, it may appear lighter or darker than other areas of your cabinetry.
The grain is the identifying feature of each wood type. This grain will “telegraph” or show through the stain. Open or coarse-grained wood (oak, hickory) will telegraph more than closed or fine-grained wood (maple, cherry).
Certain wood, such as cherry, will continue to mellow and darken over time. This brings warmth to lightly-stained cherry and increases depth below darker stains.