• Co-op Concept & Fabrication

Carpentry Tips: Preventing Woodwork from Turning Yellow

Professionals and non-professionals in the industry of carpentry in Kingston know the struggle of woodwork turning yellow. It may be a common problem to woodworkers, but that makes it more frustrating than ever.


There are a lot of possible reasons why such thing happens. For instance, a paint being applied onto it may contain chemicals causing a yellow hue. Another is due to lack of preparation for the woodwork prior to the process of working with it. Some may be unaware, but it is certainly important to prepare the wood first to make it look good and last for a long time. You can also avoid it by making sure you buy a paint that is less resistant to yellowing.

Let us tackle further why woodwork goes yellow and what you can do to prevent it.


Why Woodwork Turns Yellow?

There are quite a lot of possibilities why woodwork can go yellow. Most likely due to the woodwork finishing. Painting is one example of finishing applied to some woods. Think of a white paint applied to a wooden table or cabinets – they have tendency to go yellow over time. But why?

  • Unwanted Chemicals

Some may be using a paint or finisher that contains damaging chemicals. For instance, oil-based paints like alkyd paints are greatly known for their durability. Durable paints, however, contain chemicals that can cause the paint to turn yellow over time.

There are also varnishes that are not polyurethane based. And these certain types of varnish can also cause your woodwork to yellow.

  • Inadequate Light Exposure

Light, may it be natural or artificial, significantly slows down the possibility of woodwork turning yellow. If you are planning to finish your woodwork with a white paint or non-polyurethane varnishes, let it be exposed to light.

  • Improper Prep Work or No Prep Work at All

One of the huge factors is the prep work. It helps assure that you clean and sand the wood prior to working with it. Proper prep work for wood removes any sort of color blemishes or other issues.

  • Exposure to Moisture

Woodwork, when exposed to moisture long enough can cause it to become yellow as well. Areas prone to leaks or steam such as kitchens and bathrooms are most probably the ones that could be affected. Don’t let your kitchen cabinetry go to waste with simple wrongdoings like this.

  • Exposure to Ammonia

Ammonia contradicts the woodwork, unfortunately. So, if you are planning to do some final touches or clean your woodwork, remember to avoid this. Using ammonia itself or cleaning products that contain chemicals with ammonia can make woodwork more prone to this issue.

  • Exposure to Cigarette Smoke

Who knew working in an area that’s always smoked in can damage and yellow your woodwork too! Beware of the areas that are frequently smoked in as they are risky for your woodwork.

Remedies for Woodwork That Turned Yellow

Stop worrying too much when such thing happened to you. Good news is that there a couple of things you may attempt to try in order to save your woodwork. Let us discuss them one by one.

  • Perform Basic Cleaning

Cleaning it mildly is always the first step in removing the yellow stain. But, remember to avoid harmful chemicals that can destroy woodwork such as ammonia. Below is a step-by-step procedure to a basic cleaning process.

  1. Mix ½ cup of all purpose cleaner, wood cleaner, and a white vinegar with a ½ cup of water.

  2. Once mixed all together, you may place the solution in a spray bottle.

  3. Start spraying the solution to your woodwork and scrubbing the surface carefully in a circular motion.

  4. Dry off the wood using a clean, dry rag.

  • Perform In-depth Cleaning

If cleaning the wood surface with basic cleaning process didn’t seem to work, you can start trying an in-depth cleaning process. A more in-depth cleaning technique is best suited for stubborn and advanced yellow stains.

  1. Firstly, make a thick paste by mixing ¼ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of water.

  2. Get a portion of the paste using a damp sponge, soft brush, or nylon-bristled scrub. Then, carefully scrub it onto the stained areas in a circular motion.

  3. Leave the mixture onto the wood surface for 5 minutes. Once done, you can wipe away the mixture with a damp sponge.

  4. Finally, dry up the wood using a clean, dry rag or soft towel.

  • More Light Exposure!

It’s time to bring more light to your woodwork! May it be natural or artificial, if you can expose more the stained areas, that will be of help.

  • Apply New Painting

Covering up the stained areas with a new paint could be your best option when the former didn’t work for you. Apply a new layer of white paint and then a coat of interior grade latex paint or primer. This is the best time to re-think all the mistakes you did during wood preparation. Applying a coat of sealant or varnish should further protect the newly painted surface from yellowing.


Tips for Carpentry in Kingston: Preventing Wood from Turning Yellow

You have probably learned by now the things you need to do and apply to your woodwork. Wouldn’t it be better to try preventing it from happening as well? It is yet the best option to be worry-free with your woodwork in the long run.


Clean, clean, clean!

Clean your wood before working with it further. This could help avoid any yellows from seeping through the woodwork, paints, and varnishes.


Oil-based Paints Should Be Avoided.

There are harmful chemicals in these oil-based paints that could turn your woodwork to yellow over time. Try to avoid this type of paint for wood and use a latex paint instead.


Polishes And Varnishes with Urethane.

We previously mentioned that polishes and varnishes with no urethane or polyurethane have tendency to go yellow. With that being said, coating your woodwork with a layer or two can help in keeping away from yellowing issues.


Moisture, Ammonia, Grease, And Smoke Should Be Avoided.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the places that could easily accumulate moisture and grease. However, be mindful when it comes to cleaning your woodwork. You don’t just use any cleaning products. Avoid any harmful chemicals such as ammonia. Moreover, keep it from areas that are less exposed in smoke like cigarette smoke.


Well-lit Areas

As many are still unaware, light surely helps your woodwork. And using either natural or artificial light would help your woodwork from keeping yellow. Others may find trouble adhering to this as they are still dead set. If you are one of them, there’s no need to panic. There are still myriad of options mentioned above to help you with this.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot of things going on why your woodwork can turn yellow. While some may already be used to this kind of problem in the industry of carpentry in Kingston, we know how frustrating it can still be! Now that you have learned the why’s and how’s, you can now keep it from happening to yours!


Let us know how we can help you with your woodwork. Looking for someone to work with your carpentry in Kingston? Contact Co-op Concept and Fabrication now!

Recent Posts

See All