These panels are original to the house. They didn’t have kiln drying 150 years ago, so there would not have been the problem we face now, dealing with shrinkage for years after we build/trim whatever. Plus, in 150 years you would think the wood would be whatever size it was going to be, kiln dried or not.
I think this is happening for a couple of reasons. First, the house is now pretty weathertight. The leaks are few and are being found and sealed. So when it rains, inside the house it doesn’t feel that different. That is the good news. The other news is that for various reasons, when I leave for a few days, the heat goes down but never off. My pipes don’t freeze. Mildew inside and spalling outside are over. But I think the air inside the house must be drier than it has ever been. I’m not sure but that’s all I can figure.
Well, no, maybe it’s this. There is no insulation behind the panels. They lie flat against the stone, at least I’m pretty sure they do. So maybe the wood is caught between the consistent dry warmth of the interior and the changeable heat and humidity outside.
The contractor says he’ll run around with caulk and touch-up paint to make all this invisible. I don’t know. Even if he actually follows through, cracking panels could be an ongoing phenomenon.