5 Tips for Maintaining Your Antique Furniture
When each of these features comes together in the right ways, an amazing and valuable piece of furniture is created.
The problem is that owners will sometimes ruin their furniture through inadequate care or overzealous protection. Learning the right techniques to apply will help you to ensure that your antique furniture stays beautiful and healthy while lasting an astounding amount of time.
Let’s examine some care tips and facts that you need to know to ensure that your antique furniture stays in tip-top condition.
1. There Will Be Wear
Antique furniture can sometimes look less desirable because there are signs of wear, shrinkage in wood and small imperfections that make it seem less valuable than perfectly produced modern furniture.
The truth, however, is that antique furniture should have signs of wear and other imperfections. Handmade antique furniture, for example, will often have joints that are uneven. This is a sign of handmade craftsmanship, which contrasts the perfect joints seen in mass produced furniture.
Faded paint and finishes are another sign of wear seen in antiques. As an owner, it’s advisable to leave these finishes as they are. They add character while remaining as true to the furniture as it was the day it was crafted.
Wear in antique furniture typically aligns itself with value.
2. Avoid Oil on Wood
Oil is one thing that many people use when it comes to wood, but it’s something that you should avoid at all costs when you have antique furniture made from wood or with wooden features.
The reason behind this is that oil will soak into any unprotected areas of wood. It seeps into the pores, remains, and tends to oxidize as it gains exposure to the air, bacteria and other agents.
In a worst-case scenario, this oil oxidizes into an ugly black color that is impossible to remove from your antique.
Rather than using oil on your antiques, opt for wax because of the way it protects your antique wood. It creates a barrier that keeps agents from seeping into the pores of your wood, which in turn stops moisture damage and prevents other unsightly damage that can tarnish your antiques.
You will want to use a solid wax, such as French polish or butcher’s wax, rather than the liquid waxes available. This is because liquid waxes tend to have oil as an added ingredient, which in turn can cause the issues explored earlier.
3. Control Environmental Damage
Many environmental factors contribute to the degradation of antique furniture. Controlling these conditions will keep your furniture in tip-top shape while avoiding the negative qualities that can develop.
Ultraviolet light, for example, is one of the more damaging environmental factors when it comes to antiques. It tends to fade stains while yellowing clear finishes.
Heat is another factor that will expedite wood shrinkage, put excessive fading into painted pieces, and even facilitate the growth of mold in humid areas.
To keep your furniture in the best shape possible, keep it out of sunlight and away from excess heat. Control humidity by using a dehumidifier or humidifier to ensure that your furniture maintains both its aesthetic and monetary values.
4. Ward Off Insects and Pests
Bugs and small animals represent some of the most damaging hazards to antique furniture. The materials used in antiques tends to be organic in nature, which in turn means that they are vulnerable to the unique damage these these pests can cause.
Cockroaches, for example, will feed on the buildup of body oils, food, grease and dirt that can accumulate on antique furniture. Their excrement will stain porous wood, which in turn can become unsightly while adding unnecessary wear.
Small pests like rodents will shred and damage materials like those used for upholstery in antique furniture. They will use it in their nests, which in turn is why antique furniture stored in places like attics or basements tend to become damaged.
Pest control coupled with cleaning is the best way to ward away the damage insects and small animals can cause to your furniture.
5. Avoid Refinishing Your Furniture
The finish on an antique is almost as important as the antique itself. It represents the age and history that the piece has accumulated, which is why the last thing you want to do is to refinish your antique furniture.
If you desire to refinish your antique furniture, then you should consult a specialist first. This can help you to preserve the original finish while enhancing the protective qualities that it provides to your furniture, which in turn allows you to maintain your antique’s history while preserving the form and function of your furniture.