Like any timber product in an outside position, care and maintenance needs to be considered. Timber, like you and I, ages over time and behaves in ways you may not expect when purchasing. Rest assured all the changes are normal and when the initial ageing process is complete you can sand that baby back and get a FRESH NEW kitchen that will keep performing for many many years.
Main Points to Consider
(If you can't be bothered reading all the specific information below - But PLEASE try to)
- Water play is ok, but not all day
- Ageing (the process of 'greying off') will occur immediately
- Marks WILL appear
- Position in a well ventilated and drained position
- Paint your pine timber if you want it positioned in the weather
- Use natural decking oil on your hardwood if you want to keep the greys at bay
- Get the sander out to bring back to 'new'
- Product comes flat packed unless requested otherwise
- Assembly takes 5 minutes!
What to expect with timber products
So let's establish one thing, Instagram is not life and if you are planning on placing your products in the weather and then have unrealistic expectations of what timber will look like over time you are going to be disappointed. Sooooo, now we have established that let's chat about the wonderful, beautiful, and charming ways that natural timbers weather over time and get you excited about the changes to come.
What will occur - (refer below to 'Maintenance & Protection' for ways to combat or minimise natural occurrences)
Leeching Tannins - All timber has natural Tannins (extractives in their sap) that leech out of the timber when exposed to water. It is much more prominent in hardwood timber. These extractives are washed out of the timber by water (rain) and tend to stain the surrounding areas with an orange brown mark. This doesn't matter if the timber structure is free standing as the tannins are washed into the ground but if the structure is built next to or on top of a hard surface then the bleeding can leave marks to deal with. Spotted gum hardwood will tend to keep bleeding until it stops, how long depends on your location, rain, and general conditions. Timber cleaning solutions available from your local hardware store are good to wash the stains off with. You may have to use a scrubbing brush and some elbow grease but generally you can move the stain.
Leeching tannins in the nail fixings (bleeding nails) - Leeching tannins will also be concentrated escaping from the nail fixings and appear to be a bleeding black mark. This is not the nails or rust, it is the tannins.
Black Marks - Possibly concentrated tannins or mould. Normal.
Greying Off - The natural order of the universe states that we must age and in that ageing we will go grey. You, me, the dog, and the mud kitchen we've got it coming to us. If you appreciate a bit of George Clooney (like me!) then let that baby grey off and love it for all it's silvery goodness. The tannins will first leech, the colour will change and deepen and then start to turn grey. The whole process takes 12-24 months. The bleeding will fade into the colour of the whole product and in time you will have yourself a George.
What may occur - (refer below to 'Defects' for how to manage these occurrences.
Splitting/Cracking - Occasionally (not often) timber will split and splinter, it is an unfortunate occurrence if it does but don't be shocked that it did. Unfortunately the natural order of the Universe precludes us from predicting this when selecting our timber (so annoying Universe!). You can rest assured we do not send our product out like this and if it does occur it can be fixed. Everything can be fixed!
Warping - Pine timber if left unsealed/painted and placed permanently in the weather will warp, which is why we recommend it for undercover and semi permanent outdoor positions or to be painted/sealed. Hardwood perhaps supplied by our suppliers a little 'greener' (not kiln dried to perfection) may also warp.
Pulling apart - Warping may pull timber apart in places, it is not a regular occurrence but again can happen. It is also possible that fun loving and boisterous children have caused damage like pulling apart of accessories and door hinges (we're parents of 2 boys and we've seen it ALL!).
Maintenance & Protection
Below is some general information on providing optimal conditions for longevity and also If you would prefer to maintain the 'newer' look of your product for longer. Please remember this is a timber product and it does require maintenance and care by you to keep it in top shape
Water Play Tips - Occasional water play with a controlled water supply (bucket underneath with hand pump tap) is recommended. We do not recommend plumbing in a constant water supply source to this product. Whilst we use a high grade outdoor hardwood for our recommended outdoor mud kitchens, this is a natural product that will degrade much quicker if water is constant. So opt for a hand pump and a bucket of water instead.
Position - You can place your products on any level surface such as dirt, grass, concrete or mulch, as long as it is well drained. If you are placing in a damp position you should create a barrier - a good (cheap) solution is a 10cm crushed rock base. Positioning in a shady spot may increase instances of mould - soapy water, a scrubbing brush, and a vinegar spray will help, as will sealing your product. It might be tempting to place the mud kitchen right in the sandpit, but burying timber in wet sand is not a great idea.
Sealing your natural timber - Whilst timber is totally fine to ‘grey off’, if you do wish to maintain the timber colour and to preserve the life please consider sealing this product. We recommend a natural non toxic decking oil which hardware stores can recommend.
Painting - Will provide exterior protection and make it look awesome (pine timber only, we do not recommend painting hardwood as it is not an ideal surface for painting). Make it part of your DIY project or have our team complete it for you.
Cleaning - Mould is an inevitable part of life but can be avoided with a good position in full sun. If that is not possible all year round you can clean mould with a simple soapy water solution and a vinegar spray to keep at bay.
Sanding - If you feel your products could use a face lift give it a sand back. They will look brand new again!
Fixing cracked timber - If your timber has cracked or split (an occurrence that can happen from time to time) then we do suggest giving the area a sand back with a proper sander. This will more often than not, fix the issue and allow the product to be used as it is intended. If the issue is causing structural damage then please refer to defects below.
If you have experienced any of the 'will occur' changes and are seeking to reverse them, then please refer to the 'Maintenance & Protection' section.
If you have experienced any other issues then please email us directly with images of the areas of concern.