By Amanda Opdycke
The facility manager is the shepherd of the church grounds, which might include a range of duties — from landscaping, to building maintenance, to basic maintenance of the seating.
It’s important for this individual to have thorough knowledge of how to properly clean upholstery and how often to tighten bolts on the seating.
There are certain precautions that need to be used when it comes to all wood products. It’s recommended not to expose furniture to direct sunlight, as this can cause the wood product color to change and might cause the finish to deteriorate from prolonged exposure.
It is also suggested that the interior maintain a constant temperature and humidity. Excess heat or cold can cause cracking, warping and checking of wood in furniture. For consistency, consider a humidifier that’s specifically engineered to service an entire building.
If direct wetting or moisture is allowed to sit on the wood products, the finish will deteriorate much faster than what should be expected.
Improper care and cleaning of wood products can cause some unsightly problems. The purpose of any cleaning and polishing is to provide protection from excessive wear to the finish but should only be done when needed. Often, cleaning wood components every other month with a damp rag in warm, soapy water or lemon oil will suffice. Furniture polish can be used every five years, unless it’s used to repair a simple scratch or blemish that hasn’t penetrated the finish. If a deeper scratch or gouge is made to the wood product, additional steps will be needed to remedy the problem.
Proper upholstery care is crucial in maintaining the life and longevity of the fabric. Fabric upholstery wears much faster if it’s improperly maintained. Dust and gritty particles — such as food crumbs — can become embedded into the upholstery, resulting in excessive wear. It’s important not to use a vacuum with a rolling brush directly on the upholstery. The bristles on the brush in the main head of a vacuum are far too harsh to use directly on the cushion.
Upholstery stains on the cushion can be another big problem. It’s important to refer to the cleaning code on the back of your fabric card or direct from the fabric vendor. The cleaning codes will provide the information needed to remove the stain.
Once the cleaning code is determined, the next step is to remove the stain. Any time a cleaning agent is used, it’s best to test a small hidden area to ensure it will work as expected. Once the test area is complete, you can proceed with the stain. We suggest cleaning the entire cushion — whether it’s the length of the pew or the entire seat of the chair or auditorium seat — to avoid cleaning circles.
Over time, minor changes can occur to the way the furniture functions. Sometimes, components can become loose or even break from heavy use. Any of these can be remedied by the facility manager or building maintenance department. An annual check of any moving parts will help locate loose parts that might simply need to be tightened. If fixed seating — such as auditorium seating or pews — are used in the church, an annual check of the anchoring system is also recommended. As carpet and padding settles, it’s common for the anchoring to feel loose or create a slight rocking feeling. Tightening the anchoring system will take care of this problem and is easily done.
The first line of defense in maintenance is having a facility manager or maintenance person who openly communicates with the manufacturer. The warranty department can be reached to order replacement parts or assist with procedural assistance when needed. They’re also able to provide further assistance with warranty problems should they arise.
Amanda Opdycke is Worship Market Manager at Sauder Worship Seating in Archbold, OH.