Oven spring is the term used to describe how much a material stretches when it’s heated. If you apply even just a little heat to a material, it will begin to stretch at that point.
This can cause the material to become weak and break when you try to pull it back together. Oven spring is especially problematic in wooden furniture because of the way wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity.
It’s also an issue with metal furniture since metal expands as well. The good news is that there are many ways to reduce oven spring in your home furnishings without resorting to expensive replacement parts or major renovations.
Even better, most of these strategies are relatively inexpensive and simple enough for anyone in your household to implement comfortably.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of oven spring, how you can avoid them, and some practical solutions for any home owner who wants to keep their belongings looking new for longer.
What is oven spring?
Oven spring is when a material expands when it is heated. In wood, this can cause the wood to become weak and break when you try to put it back together. It also makes it susceptible to water damage which is why wooden furniture is often wooden treated for protection.
In metal, the metal expands and contracts with changes in humidity which causes it to become weak and to crack when it’s pulled back together. Expanding components like door and drawer pulls and knobs are particularly problematic in wooden furniture because the metal expands when the wood shrinks.
Reduce humidity in your home
A major cause of oven spring in wooden furniture is the fact that wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity. Wood shrinks when it’s dry. When it’s slightly damp, it’s slightly swollen.
When it’s completely dry, it shrinks even more because of the pore filled space between the molecules. If you live in a dry climate, wood will expand and contract as it should. If you live in a humid climate, the wood will remain slightly swollen even when it’s completely dry.
The wood will contract when it’s completely dry. Humidity has a major impact on both metal and wooden furniture. Metal expands and contracts with changes in humidity just like wood.
Wooden furniture is especially sensitive to changes in humidity because it has a high moisture content. High humidity causes the wood to expand, causing the joints to shrink and become loose.
Avoid excessive movement while you’re assembling furniture
When you’re putting together furniture, avoid excessive movement. If you’re moving a table from one room to another, remove the legs before you move it. While you’re assembling the furniture, avoid touching the paint.
If you’re putting together a table and you have the paint brush in your hand, use your other hand to move the pieces into place. If you’re putting together a wooden chair, never shake it or pat it while you’re assembling it.
If you’re putting together a metal or wooden cabinet, don’t open it in the middle while you’re assembling it. Avoid jarring the paint.
Store your furniture properly to reduce expansion and contraction
Wooden furniture that sits out in the open is particularly prone to shrinking and expanding due to changes in humidity. Place wooden furniture in a closed storage area where it’s out of direct sunlight and away from plumbing leaks.
Avoid leaving wooden furniture in the same spot in your home where you keep your other furniture. It’s best to store wooden furniture in a room that’s not directly connected to other rooms where you store your other furniture.
Avoid placing wooden furniture directly on the floor where it’s likely to come into contact with moisture. It’s best to place wooden furniture on a relatively level surface where it’s out of direct contact with any other surfaces.
When putting away your wooden furniture, don’t stack wooden furniture directly on top of each other. You can stack wooden furniture as long as they’re separated by at least a few inches. You can stack wood on top of wood but never wood on top of plastic.
Strive for sturdiness with solid wood components
Solid wood components like drawers, doors, and table legs should never be made from plywood. While plywood is cheaper than solid wood for the initial cost, it will eventually become weak and break.
Plywood is made from a series of thin panels that are glued together. As time passes, the glue begins to separate from the panels, weakening the plywood piece. When you buy plywood, it’s sealed to prevent moisture from damaging it. However, as time passes, the glue will begin to come apart.
If you want to avoid this issue, plywood will have a life expectancy of only 10-15 years. After that, it will begin to become weak and break. If you want to avoid this issue, always inspect any plywood before you buy it.
Inspect the boards for signs of defects like chipping, cracking, or warping. You can also try to identify the brand of plywood based on how it looks and smells.
Choose quality metal for your furniture
You want to choose quality metal for all of your metal components. When choosing metal for your furniture, make sure you choose quality metal components rather than cheaper stamped metal.
While stamped metal is cheaper, it’s also very thin. While thinner metal won’t cause any issues, it will experience more deterioration than thicker metal. When you’re buying metal, make sure it’s galvanized.
Galvanized metal will not corrode or rust over time. While painted metal will eventually wear off, galvanized metal won’t. If you want to avoid this issue, galvanized metal will have a life expectancy of more than 50 years.
Wrapping your furniture can decrease oven spring too
Wrapping your furniture can take a slightly tedious approach, but it’s a great way to protect your furniture from humidity, prevent water damage, and reduce the risk of damage from pets and children.
You can use heavy-duty plastic wrap to protect your furniture from moisture. Use plastic wrap to protect your furniture from water damage and to protect the finish on your furniture. Make sure you don’t leave the plastic wrapped furniture in one place for too long.
In order to prevent your wooden furniture from falling apart or from shrinking and expanding due to changes in humidity, it’s important to properly store and apply a protection to the wood. You can do this by wrapping your wood with plastic.
This will prevent moisture from damaging the wood. If you’re looking to protect your metal furniture from damage, you can do this by wrapping your metal with plastic as well.