Wood is commonly thought of as a sturdy, rugged material, but it does have one weakness: moisture fluctuation. Too much moisture can cause wood to rot and mold, while too little moisture can cause it to crack. Whenever you're putting wooden items into storage, you need to take this moisture vulnerability into account. Here are six ways to protect your wood from moisture-related damage in a storage unit.
Choose Climate-Controlled Storage
In most areas, humidity levels change seasonally, and they can even change daily. If you store your wooden items in a garage-style storage unit, they'll be exposed to these fluctuations and will likely emerge from storage either cracked, rotten or both.
Luckily, most storage facilities offer climate-controlled units where the humidity levels are kept under close control. A climate-controlled unit is well worth paying a few extra dollars a month for since it will keep your wooden items from being ruined.
Clean and Polish the Wood First
If your wooden items are not painted, make sure you thoroughly clean and wax them before putting them into storage. Cleaning removes mold spores so that on the off chance that the item does get damp, there is a reduced risk of mold growth. A good coat of wood polish or wax seals the wood grain so it does not absorb moisture from the air so easily - or dry out and crack when exposed to dry air.
Cover the Wood Loosely
Wrapping wooden items in plastic wrap is a common mistake. You may assume the plastic wrap will protect the wood from dust, but what it really does is keep the wood from breathing naturally, possibly leading to moisture accumulation and mold growth. Drape large pieces of wooden furniture with breathable cloths. Store smaller wooden items in breathable cardboard boxes rather than in sealed plastic totes.
Move On a Dry Day
When making moving plans, always try to schedule a rain date so you're not forced to move items into storage while it's pouring outside. If you get a piece of wooden furniture wet before you even put it in the storage unit, you'll have a hard time getting it completely dry again, which makes mold and rot quite likely.
If you absolutely cannot reschedule your move, cover wooden items carefully with a plastic tarp when carrying them from the moving truck to the storage unit. Keep towels on hand, and immediately wipe up any water that falls on a wooden item before it gets a chance to soak in.
Elevate Your Wooden Items
Wood absorbs moisture very easily. So, if there is a little water on the ground, it can quickly travel up the leg of a table or into a box and through a wooden item. Thus, it's best to store your wooden items off the ground rather than directly on the floor of your storage unit. Set larger pieces of furniture on a tarp, and stack boxes that contain smaller wooden items on pallets or shelves.
Don't Stack Items on Wood Furniture
You might be tempted to set boxes or other items on top of wooden furniture to save space. However, if the wood is exposed to any moisture whatsoever during storage, the finish may become sticky, and anything sitting on top of the wood might leave an imprint or mark. If you must stack items on a piece of wooden furniture, put a piece of cotton fabric over the furniture first.
With the tips above, your wooden items should remain free of cracks and mold while in storage. If you're looking for a climate-controlled storage unit in the Raleigh, Durham, Burlington or Graham areas, contact Cardinal Self Storage to learn more about our facilities.