Wood Movement Damage and Protection

Wood is dependent on moisture to keep its form. Wood movement in your cabinetry
cannot be eliminated but managed with climate control systems. Both air conditioning
and sanitary humidification systems reduce the range in moisture fluctuation, limiting the
amount of wood expansion and contraction*.

Dry heat without humidification causes wood contraction, resulting in finish film failure
caused by compression shrinkage. Peeling at wood joints, on end grain, and other surface
film separation will occur from extreme wood contraction, due to prolonged exposure to
dry heat without moisture compensation.

Durable finishes stabilize and slow moisture exchange, reducing compression stress.
Elastic, flexible finishes expand and contract, but will separate at extreme humidity
absorption ranges. Durable finishes are designed to resist trauma, and are less flexible.
Applied to stable wood species with a uniform specific gravity of .55 or higher, durable
finishes will produce a superior stable cabinet product.

New cabinets need time to adjust to the home environment. One wet and dry season are
necessary to complete a full cycle of expansion and contraction. Wood movement will
stabilize when the wood moisture content is in equilibrium(emc) with air humidity.

Cabinet surface exposure to sudden freezing temperatures during storage, shipping, and
installation will cause finishes to check, craze, crack, or separate in uniform patterns
on cabinetry surfaces. These patterned cracks may not be immediately visible, but will
appear after the wood has adjusted to the home climate. This damage is preventable with
heated shipping and storage, and insulating completed product with moving blankets.

At Alden Wythe, all advance measures are taken to prepare your cabinets for your home
environment. With routine maintenance, they will give you many years of satisfaction.

*Sanitary and sufficient humidification will also reduce upper respiratory infection and
lower home heating bills.

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