Why Wood Expands and Contracts in Your New Home

Why Wood Expands and Contracts

Your first heating season will remove much excess moisture from the wood and concrete in your new home. In the following years, your home will undergo an annual cycle of moderate expansion and contraction as the moisture content throughout your home increases and decreases across the seasons. This will be especially true if your home is located in a climate that experiences a lot of variation in temperature and humidity throughout the year – as is true of the northeast United States. The wood framing, doors, trim, and floors will shrink under conditions of low humidity (most often the winter) and expand under conditions of high humidity (most often the summer). This may cause wood fittings, such as at miter joints at the corners of windows and doors, to temporarily tighten or loosen. Usually, these conditions will return to normal when the humidity returns to normal.

Avoid Excessive Heat During the First Year

During the first year, use of a fireplace or a coal, pellet, wood, or other such stove at very high temperatures can lead to excessively fast drying. This can cause an unusual number of drywall cracks and nail pops as well as excessive warping, cupping, and shrinking of wood and other materials. The modular manufacturer, modular dealer, and general contractor cannot be responsible for any damage caused by these excessive heat conditions. Waiting a year before using these products at very high temperatures will help permit the wood and other materials in your home to dry slowly and normally.

For more information about why wood expands and contracts in your modular home, see Warranty Service for a Modular Home in my book The Modular Home.

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