Caring for Millwork (what do I do when my stuff shows up?!)

Caring for Millwork

From American Porch, LLC

 The following is an article on how to care for exterior architectural millwork, especially wood porch railing and spindles (or balusters).

Upon arrival, take note of the condition of the boxes and/or crating before the driver leaves.  Open all crating and boxes to inspect your new millwork.  In the rare event your products are damaged, it should be immediately reported to the delivery driver and Western Spindle.

Storage and moisture considerations

  • Always keep in mind that your new millwork is good old fashioned natural wood and needs to be handled accordingly.  Although we use only “dried” wood, it still contains between 5% and 15% moisture.  All woods eventually assume the moisture of the environment in which they are stored.  Problems arise when the moisture content changes too quickly.  Protect it from very wet or especially dry environments.
  • Never store unpainted millwork in direct sunlight, even for a few hours.  This will invariably dry the wood rapidly which causes checking (small cracks between the grain).  In extreme cases it can cause splitting.

Finishing your millwork

  • Always use a high quality acrylic primer before installation (available pre-primed from American Porch) on all surfaces, including (and especially) the ends.  Do this as soon as possible to help protect your investment.
  • Do not neglect the ends of your millwork.  The end grain gains and loses moisture more readily than the side of the grain and needs to be protected.
  • Finish your millwork with a high quality topcoat immediately after installation.  We recommend using oil-based paints, but latex can be used as well.  On our pre-primed products, our oil-based primer will accept either type of topcoat paint.
  • Go to your local professional paint store for the best advice and products. These types of places often have more knowledgeable help and better products than the big box stores.
  • American Porch cannot be held responsible for mistreated or neglected products.


  • We recommend using only high quality outdoor hardware, such as ceramic coated or chromed steel, among others, for you porch. These products will resist rust, corrosion, staining, discoloration, and bleeding.  Always pre-drill holes for your hardware to prevent splitting.

You’ve invested the time, money, and energy in seeking the absolute best, American-made, solid wood products from American Porch; take the extra time and care with the building phase and make the most of that beautiful porch!