When the Framing Shrinks
Detail for wood shrinkage, and avoid
callbacks for cracked plaster, stuck
doors, and popped nails.
by Henry Spies
Wood is the most common building
material in the U.S., but it is also one of
the most unstable. Wood shrinkage
(and expansion) has been the bane of
builders since Noah. Basically, wood
shrinks dimensionally as it loses moisture.
Most of the shrinkage is across the
grain, but there is some along the grain
as well. The amount of shrinkage varies
with the species of wood and with the
specific moisture-content range.
For instance, as Douglas fir dries, the
cells close and lock the opening, making
it difficult for moisture to be reabsorbed.
At the other end