Baby, it’s cold outside!

It’s downright frigid today!  Living in the mountains, we get used to a certain degree of winter weather.  It’s not uncommon to dig out immediately after a snowstorm and return to business-as-usual.  That being said, though, we aren’t exactly accustomed to this kind of face-freezing, rip right through your winter coat cold.  I mean, this is still the South!

On a day like today, you take precautions to keep yourself safe and warm.  You probably left the house, (if you left home at all), with every inch of skin wrapped up against the sub-zero windchill.  You made sure the car warmed up before trying to drive it.  If you have pets, you made sure they were somewhere snug for the day.  But have you ever considered what weather like this can do to your home, particularly your cabinets?

We all know that freezing pipes can wreak havoc on a house, and most people take steps to prevent such an occurrence.  But wood products, such as flooring and cabinets, can also be extremely vulnerable to changes in weather.  In many cases, this won’t be a major issue.  Most homes are kept at a constant temperature, but quite a few homes in our area are seasonal or vacation properties.  This is where problems can arise, particularly in homes where the heat is left off for the winter.

Wood moves.  It’s as simple as that.  Whether or not you notice it, wood responds to environmental changes by swelling or shrinking.  Cold, dry air causes wood to contract, something that is especially noticeable on painted cabinet doors.  Door panels can shrink, sometimes enough to show raw wood around the edges.  The cold can also be harmful to the paint finish itself.  Warm, moist air causes wood to expand, with certain species growing more than others.  In this case, door panels can swell enough to create cracks at joint lines or cause adjacent cabinet doors to rub against each other.  In some extreme cases, high humidity can actually cause a cabinet door to come apart due to the wood swelling.

So, keep in mind, whether the forecast is for an arctic blast or a heat wave, your wood floors, trims, and cabinets need a consistently comfortable environment just as much as you do.  And, as for today, try to stay warm out there, High Country!

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