Paint VOCs Humidity Challenge

Humidifier importance painted cabinet makers

Humidity systems are important to cabinet makers producing painted wood cabinetry. Air must be properly exhausted to reduce VOC levels and replace with humidified air. The trend in painted wood cabinets, especially for kitchens, has grown exponentially during COVID-19. The required high levels of exhausted air can make it challenging to keep up with humidity levels, especially during Winter.

Kitchen Trend: Painted Wood Cabinets

One thing COVID-19 has done in the social distancing and WFH era is make people more aware of their immediate surroundings (read: the beat-up laminate countertop that you inherited from 1982 is suddenly really bothering you). The market for kitchen re-dos increased in the U.S. from the March-September 2020 time frame. You may or may not have noticed the latest in kitchen design trends. 2020 has been the year that painted kitchen cabinets took over Instagram. It could be an organic reaction to so many white on white kitchens of the past 10 years. For more evidence, take a look at Kendall Jenner’s kitchen recently featured in an issue of Architectural Digest.

This, along with more disposable time (at home) than ever to scroll through photo after photo of home re-dos, means that this trend probably won’t stop anytime soon. In fact, CNBC reported that in 2020 “Kitchen and bath have always been popular remodeling choices, but even those saw a 40% jump in demand in June compared with a year ago. More people are cooking and eating at home, and kitchens are now even more the center of family life.” (5)

Personalizing Cabinetry With Paint

Personalization with paint colors that suit individuality and homeowners’ tastes is an attractive option. It’s also one that has had an impact on production. Trends recently in cabinetry include offering specific color options at production level. Some paint companies have also teamed up with cabinet makers to offer more extensive options for consumers who want to install cabinets that come with factory-applied paint and finishes, too.

Because of high volumes of replacement air, maintaining a consistent humidity level… becomes an almost certain losing battle.

Paint VOCs Require Exhausted Air

What does this increase in painted cabinetry mean for cabinet makers? Increased use of paint means a higher volume of VOCs. More ventilation for these VOCs means the increased amount of air in cabinet shops that is exhausted. Possibly on  constant or consistent basis.

Exhaust Increases Demand: Cabinetry Shop Humidity

Maintaining dimensional stability is important for wood products. But reaching and maintaining specific Rh humidity levels for wood cabinet shops is often difficult. They often fail without a consistent, reliable humidity system along with control and sensors placed appropriately in the space. For folks gearing up for winter and heat, that means humidity will become even more important.

Cabinetry Paint Application: Experts Recommend Humidity

According to PPG PAINTS’ website, industry standards for optimal application and drying of paints is ambient temperature of 77° F (25° C) and 55% relative humidity.(6) Straying from these standards can affect proper application and drying times. While many shops may opt for a portable humidifier or even ultrasonic, those typically aren’t able to keep up with demand when conditions get dry—typically in Winter when the heat gets turned on. For shops with high ceilings, solving this problem is even more difficult with higher levels of air exhaustion. Because of high volumes of replacement air, maintaining a consistent humidity level with temporary or localized solutions, through portable or ultrasonic humidifiers, becomes an almost certain losing battle.

This rapid rate of air flow exhaust means that the higher seasonal demand requires higher and more persistent levels of humidity released into the air. Also challenging is making adjustments to the level of humidity released into the air so that humidity levels aren’t overshot nor are they under delivering.

Who said waiting for paint to dry

was a simple endeavor?

Do you need an expert team to guide you on humidity systems? Do you need a system custom-built for your facility? Speak with one of our friendly experts today!

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