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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

3 Reasons Protecting Wood From Water Is Vital To Its Lifespan

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

Warped wooden floor from water damage Wooden floor damaged by water

Three Reasons To Protect Wood From Water

One of the biggest threats to the longevity of wood is water. Wood continuously absorbs and expels water, a process which eventually degrades the integrity of the material to the point that it is no longer usable. Especially in humid and rainy regions, swelling wood can be a persistent problem that is of utmost importance to address to extend the life of wooden constructions.

1. Contraction and Expansion Damages Wood
Swelling and shrinkage in wood is driven by moisture. Years of water absorption and expulsion weakens the integrity of the fibrous cell walls that make the material rigid. This leads to fragility and cracking, which not only causes breakage but increases the likelihood of decay. Minimizing the amount of water absorbed is key to prolonging the life of wood, making it vital to keep it sealed with paint or finishes like urethane.

2. Variation in Swelling Wood Rates Affect the Integrity of Structures
The speed of swelling and shrinking varies in each individual piece of wood. Uneven rates of swelling or shrinking can not only cause distortion or warping in an individual chunk but can also cause joint problems in the frame of a house or a piece of furniture. Protecting wood with paint or finish thus helps slow the distortion at the joints, increasing the longevity of wooden structures.

3. Keeping It Dry Is Protection, Too
Interior wood (studs, joists, etc.), although not exposed to the elements and hence often left unprotected, still requires vigilant upkeep. Exposure to water from a ruptured supply line or a leak from a water pipe repair can lead to swelling problems if left unaddressed. The life of even this unprotected wood can be prolonged simply by ensuring that any damp parts are allowed to dry and then are kept dry.
In most cases, the effects of swelling wood can be mitigated by keeping a watchful eye on the paint or finish that protects it. Hiring the services of protection and restoration professionals is also a good way to ensure that homeowners in Baton Rouge, LA, get the most out of their wood.

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