- Moisture (cont.)
When installing any wood materials in a home, it is important to know what moisture content is, what causes it, and what can be done tohelp control it. Making our clients awarethat any wood products will be altered by the interior climate of their home is important information that will aide them in the long term care of cabinetry, mouldings, doors, hardwood floors, etc.
All wood, naturally, contains moisture. Moisture content is the term used when describing the percentage of moisture in any given wood product. W W Wood Products strives to maintain 8% moisture content. This is the optimum level for product stability and structure. Wood is very hydroscopic, and will absorb or desorb moisture based on its surroundings. A moisture content of 8% can be maintained by keeping your homes year round relative humidity at 40-50%.
When exposed to high levels of humidity, wood absorbs moisture which causes the wood to expand or swell. When exposed to low levels of humidity wood dries out causing ti to shrink. Obviously, from North to South there are varying climate conditions. Despite the geographic location, the humidity or aridness of the immediate surroundings will have the greatest impact to the stability of doors and cabinets. Proper climate control is a necessity for home owners to maintain the beauty and integrity of the wood products in their home.
Cabinet doors are engineered to expand and contract with normal humidity swings. They will not,however, withstand extreme wet or dry, uncontrolled climate conditions. Extreme conditions can cause panel expansion, panel contraction, and joint failure.
Cabinets are an investment and, like any part of a home, need care and maintenance. Informing the home owner on the effects of moisture content, especially in more extreme climates where humidifiers or dehumidifiers should be used, is imperative to ensuring the long term happiness of the consumer. In instances where mild seasonal shrinkage or is observed due to an uncontrolled environment, the door will return to its original state (when the moisture content reaches the optimal 8-10%). This will usually occur in the next heating or cooling season. They should be aware that unless precautionary measures are taken to insure a stable environment, all of their wood materials (cabinets, moldings, doors, and hard wood floors) will be affected.