# What is wood contraction?

## What is wood contraction?

Like many building materials, wood expands and shrinks. This is due to how much moisture is in the air. If there’s high humidity the cells within the wood will expand. If there is low humidity, the cells will shrink. It can tell you whether your wood is going to expand or shrink.

How does wood expand and contract?

Wood expands and contracts with changes in the surrounding humidity and to a lesser degree the temperature. More humid air will cause wood to expand; drier air will cause wood to contract. This movement cannot be stopped.

### Does wood stop expanding and contracting?

The wood is dimensionally stable (it doesn’t shrink or swell noticeably) as it loses free water, but once it begins to lose bound water, it contracts. Wood dries to an average moisture content of between 4 and 11 percent, depending on the area of the country, but it never really comes to rest!

What direction does wood expand and contract?

Direction Matters Wood only expands and contracts in one direction; perpendicular to the grain. Depending on the specie of wood you’re working with, it can move as much as ¼”, or even more. You don’t need to worry about expansion and contraction parallel to the grain.

## What is the normal moisture content of wood?

between 8% and 25%
In normal use the moisture content of wood varies between 8% and 25% by weight, depending on the relative humidity of the air. The equilibrium moisture content of wood is a state corresponding to the air temperature and relative moisture, in which the moisture content of the wood remains steady.

What is the formula for wood shrinkage?

Multiply the width of the board (in inches) by the annual change in MC (highest annual MC minus lowest). Then multiply the result by the number from the chart. Because few boards are entirely F/S or Q/S, calculate both numbers and shoot for something between.

### How much does solid wood expand and contract?

In a warm, humid atmosphere, the cells reabsorb moisture from the air and expand. A board cut across the grain, or perpendicular to the growth rings, may expand as much as 1/4 inch for every 12 inches of width, while a quarter-sawn board may expand 1/8 inch.

Will sealing wood prevent expansion?

Sealing wood will not prevent it from warping or expanding. Sealing both ends of the wooden plank may help prevent the ends from expanding or shrinking faster and exacerbating the warping of the plank. However, there is no guarantee treating wood with a wood sealer will prevent it from warping or expanding.

## How do you stop wood from expanding and contracting?

Tabletops tend to be wide, and wood moves a lot across its width. Restricting the movement with screws or nails can cause the top to crack as it shrinks. To avoid this, use special tabletop fasteners or some other method that holds the top down but still allows the top to expand and contract.

How do you deal with wood expansion?

You can’t keep wood from moving, but these tips and strategies can help you avoid problems.

1. AVOID MITERS OUTDOORS.
2. PLAN FOR DECK BOARD MOVEMENT.
3. ALLOW EXPANSION SPACE FOR WOOD FLOORS.
4. LET TABLETOPS FLOAT.
5. LET WOOD ACCLIMATE.
6. AVOID WIDE BOARDS.
7. MANUFACTURED WOOD HOLDS PAINT BETTER.
8. PREFINISH TONGUE-AND-GROOVE.

### Which direction does wood shrink the most?

tangential direction
Wood shrinks and swells the greatest amount in the tangential direction, about half as much in the radial direction, and about 0.1% to 0.2% in the longitudinal direction, Figure 4. Because of its small magnitude, shrinkage in the longitudinal direction is usually ignored in most design problems.