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Monsoon special: Is your home rain-proof?

While the rains spell good news for nature, the same can’t be said for one’s home. From wooden décor to artworks, and metal sculptures, extra TLC is needed. Soma Das quizzes the experts

Artworks



Geetha Mehra  Geetha Mehra,
  Director, Sakshi Gallery
 >> The challenge at home is primarily humidity. Watch out for signs of fungal growth, which would appear as black spots or discolouration.
>> Try to air rooms periodically between showers.
>> Allow air to circulate. Install dehumidifiers if possible.
>> Keep artworks away from damp and leaking areas.

Sanvari Alagh Nair  Sanvari Alagh Nair,
  Director, www.houseproud.in
 >> Getting rid of damp air is a must to preserve canvas oil paintings that are not glassed and are exposed to air. DampRid products will remove excess moisture from the air. If you see discolouring or mould forming, get professional help from a gallery.
>> For photographs, once a week, pull them out of the photo frame and clean and wipe the glass with a dry cloth. Replace after cleaning. This helps in not letting them get stuck to the glass.

Designer’s speak

Dimple Nahar  Dimple Nahar,
  Owner, 2Divine- The Lifestyle Temple

 >> Don’t put your artworks near the outdoors as humidity will cause it to fade. Store it away in acid-free materials.
 >> Look for specialised packaging for artworks: bubble wrap/cloth wrap pertaining to the nature of the art and the paints or metal used.
>> Save paper photographs in acid-free material boxes and not cardboard, in a dry, dark closet.

Nandini Singh  Nandini Singh, founder,
  Kavita Singh Interiors
 >> Ideal humidity levels should be between 30% to 50%; during the monsoon, Mumbai sees levels rise above 90%. This can cause havoc in homes.
 >> Invest in a quality dehumidifier. Some have settings making the machine double-up as an air purifier. It will prevent your wooden furniture from weakening, metal objects from corroding and wallpaper from peeling.
>> There are crystal balls in plastic containers you can buy locally at general stores that absorb moisture and collect in the container. They last for 3-6 months and can be used for cupboards to keep your clothes and leather goods safe from mold and fungus.

Wooden crafts

Sonia Sumant  Sonia Sumant,
  Founder, Lively-wood handcrafted furniture
 >> Problems occur when wooden floors, cupboards, and windows absorb the moisture present in the air and swell.
 >> Don’t undertake any house renovation, especially the ones that involve wood. Don’t polish or paint your wooden furniture and fixtures during monsoon. Polishing should be taken up before or after the rainy season.
>> Avoid placing furniture near the windows as rain water dripping in through them can be damaging. Ensure the room has cross ventilation and remains dry.
>> Never use a damp cloth to clean wooden furniture. Dust attracts moisture, so dusting is essential.
>> If your furniture has laminates, use soap and water to remove marks. Rub it with a dry cloth thereafter.
>> Place camphor or naphthalene balls in the wardrobe to soak up dampness and keep termites away.
>> Oil hinges of your wardrobe or drawers to prevent it from absorbing moisture.
>> Don’t place your wooden furniture in direct sunlight.

Sculptures

Dinesh Singh   Dinesh Singh Khundrakpam,
  Sculpture artist
 >> If the sculpture is made of iron, there can be chances of it rusting. Some artists have a permanent protective coating which can prevent this. At the most, wipe clean with a soft flannel to remove dust.
>> In case of wooden sculptures (teak and rosewood), do not expose to water. Dust it with a soft flannel. Like metal
sculptures, these can also be retouched to bring back the
original finish.
>> In case of stone sculptures (marble, sandstone, granite), they do not require any maintenance, except washing to free from dust. It can be kept outside during the monsoon, as well.

Nayna Shriyan  Nayna Shriyan,
  Metal artist
 >> Watch out for rusting, like tiny red or brown coloured spots on the surface. Take fine sandpaper and gently rub off the spots taking care not to spoil the surface finish and coat lightly with a spray-based varnish. Generally, two coats are
acceptable.
>> Brass, copper or silver objects tend to oxidize more in the monsoon. Regular cleaning with vinegar and salt solution takes care of the tarnish and helps keep them in shining condition. Rinse thoroughly to avoid corrosion.
>> Move your metal objects and artefacts away from the windows. Wipe precious metal sculptures with a damp cloth if you live by the sea, as the salt in the atmosphere can wreak havoc on metals.

TIP: To create the cleaning solution, you can take a cup of vinegar and add as much table salt as will dissolve in the vinegar.

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