The Humidity Factor: Storing Your Antique Furniture
Extra care must be taken when storing antique furniture. Although the items may have been items of pride in your home, the time has come for them to go into storage, even if only temporarily. Perhaps you're renovating your home, or perhaps you're relocating and need a short-term, safe space for your cherished antiques. Given the uniqueness of the pieces, it's not as though they can unceremoniously be placed in a standard storage unit.
The Climate in Your Home
Your home is climate-controlled. It's clearly insulated, and you no doubt regulate its internal temperature (via heating and cooling as needed) in order to keep you and your family comfortable. These measures, along with the free flow of air when doors and windows are open, actually help to maintain the quality of your furniture, both antique and non-antique alike. The humidity inside your home is regulated by these measures. Most storage units don't offer this type of environment, and can easily be affected by excessive humidity.
Excessive humidity can damage wood, and antique wooden furniture may be particularly delicate, and therefore, particularly vulnerable. Uncontrolled humidity can be a problem in many storage units. The exterior relative humidity affects the interior ambient humidity, so whether humidity is problematic can depend on where in the country you live, as well as the local conditions.
Expansion and Contraction
Renting a climate-controlled storage unit can be a necessity if you wish to preserve your delicate antique wooden furniture. When there's excessive humidity in a contained space, the wooden components of your furniture will absorb this moisture and will expand accordingly. When humidity levels decrease, absorbed moisture may be partially expelled, causing the wood to contract. This leads to the accelerated deterioration of your precious antiques.
Fabrics and Cushioning
There's also the fact that some of the items may be upholstered, and these sections need to be preserved alongside the wooden components of the furniture. Humidity can similarly degrade the fabric and cushioning of upholstery, and when this upholstery is antique and potentially irreplaceable, steps must be taken for its preservation.
Although antique furniture can likely withstand a brief time in storage without experiencing damage, it's better to avoid risk as much as possible. Considering the one-of-a-kind nature of the pieces, you won't want to put them in harm's way if it can be prevented. And it can certainly be prevented—by renting a storage unit where you can regulate the internal climate.
To learn more, contact a storage facility with climate-controlled storage units in your area such as Rt 88 Storage.