How Texas Humidity Can Affect Wood and Paint

One of the challenges we face in Austin with interior finish work is, believe it or not, Humidity. You might ask, how can this affect the interior finish-out of a house? Wood expands and contracts based on the moisture content.

That being said, when cabinets, trim, interior doors, moldings, etc. are being installed these can all be affected by humidity. Here is what can and does happen if the humidity and weather are ignored:

  1. The wood floors, cabinets, interior doors, interior trim and moldings are being installed and are acclimating to whatever the humidity level may be outside.
  2. If the levels are high, which is often the case in Austin, then all these wood products tend to swell up, absorbing moisture.
  3. All looks good, and it is time to paint. So along come the painters and they seal in all this moisture with several coats of enamel, stain or whatever product is being applied.
  4. Everyone is delighted with the results as it looks great. Until everything dries out attempting to acclimate to the new environment created in the heated and cooled house. This will usually show itself with miter joints in door and window trims opening up and/or hardwood floors showing gaps where the boards are butted together.

Some of this just can’t be helped, but if the house is heated and cooled during cabinet & trim phase it can reduce the amount of shrinkage in the woodwork. It really depends on the time of year and the weather during the finish-out phase of the house as to how much expansion and contraction occurs.

In wet and humid weather conditions try running the HVAC to at least attempt to reduce the humidity levels during the cabinet and trim phase of construction. Plus, it will put a smile on the carpenters face, and we all know a happy carpenter builds a better house!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *