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Wood Shrinkage And Expansion

Wood Shrinkage And Expansion

Posted in Wood Flooring Installation And Maintenance by Source on May 19th 2011
Wood shrinkage and expansion. What some people might think is a defect is actually a natural occurrence and something that’s important to know when you’re considering making a hardwood purchase. So, what causes wood to shrink and expand? Moisture and temperature changes are the two main culprits.  In the winter it is much colder and relatively less humid than it is during the warmer spring and summer months. Most of the time a wood floor is installed and fits so well, but then you begin to notice signs of cracks, cupping or buckling. Those are the most common changes that moisture can inflict on a wood floor. Most solid wood flooring will contract (shrink) during periods of low humidity, usually during the heating season, sometimes leaving noticeable cracks between boards, or else expand during periods of high humidity, summer months. These cool, dry conditions cause wood floors to contract, and small gaps between the begin to show. When it’s hot outside and humidity levels are higher, wood floors will expand. Very high humidity can cause buckling, which is when the floors raise up from the substrate, often at the joints. All of this expanding and contracting over time can lead to hairline cracks, slight variations in board heights, or both Engineered Wood: If this whole shrinking and expanding thing sounds a little too scary, you should consider engineered hardwood floors as they are much less affected by moisture than solid hardwood. Generally, flooring is expected to shrink in dry environments and expand in wetter environments. Wider boards tend to move more than narrower boards. Movement in a 5" wide plank is more dramatic than in a 2 ¼" strip. Before installation, solid wood flooring should be acclimated to the area in which it is to be used, and then tested with a moisture meter to ensure the proper moisture content. Please feel free to contact us with any questions. 08456 021781 0r 01379652613, or take a look at our wood flooring collections at www.sourcewoodfloors.co.uk.


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