Installation of hardwood floors at your home can be a long term investment if you have the right wood floor conditions. More than having a sturdy material, you also need to know the wood’s condition and moisture content. Sometimes accurate moisture readings can be the difference between a successful hardwood floor and not. However, a lot of homeowners don’t know the moisture content of their hardwood floors. Before installing your hardwood flooring, make sure that you are aware of the wood’s moisture content.

What is moisture content? Moisture Content is simply the amount of water contained in a material. Wood is hygroscopic in nature, which means it constantly absorbs and extracts moisture until it reaches its equilibrium with the surroundings. Equilibrium Moisture Content of wood is when the amount of water in the said wood remains stable. Here are other important questions you might have before installing your hardwood floors.

What are the ways to know the wood’s moisture content?
There are 3 ways to measure the wood’s moisture content. Be sure to ask your contractor or wood floor installers.

Oven Dry Method
The Oven Dry method is the most basic way of measuring the wood’s moisture content. You would have to measure the weight of the wood before and after putting it in an oven. The difference between the initial and final weight divided by the final weight is the moisture content. However, this process is a lot less accurate than other methods.

Pin Meters
Pin meters measure the moisture content of wood by having a small electrical current to flow in a wood sample. As the wood gets dryer, its resistance also increases.

Pinless Meters
Pinless meters measure the moisture content using electromagnetic signals. This method is perfect for expensive hardwood floors because it doesn’t leave marks like the pin meters. Just make sure that the setting of your meter is appropriate with the wood being tested because this device is sensitive to wood density.

Does the area of installation affect the wood’s moisture content?
As stated earlier, the Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) of wood is when the moisture content remains stable relative to its surroundings. The EMC is determined by the amount of water air can hold at a prevailing room temperature. That being said, factors such as humidity that can alter the wood’s condition. As humidity increases, the moisture content also increases causing the wood to expand. Conversely, as the moisture content decreases, the wood also shrinks. When the wood doesn’t shrink or expand, it has reached its equilibrium moisture content.

What’s the acceptable moisture content for wood flooring?
The acceptable moisture content depends on the kind of wood and relative humidity of the air. In most cases, the acceptable Equilibrium Moisture Content for indoors is 7%-8%.

What do I do if my acquired wood has a high moisture content?

Processes such as kiln drying can dry your wood up to the ideal 8% moisture content. Kiln Drying is a standard practice in the lumber industry to effectively lower the moisture content in wood, avoiding damages or problems concerning moisture levels for the long term. However, it doesn’t stop there. The moisture content of wood is continually changing because the wood is constantly interacting with environmental factors such as humidity.

Once your acquired wood has a stable moisture level, another measure to lengthen the lives of your wooden floor is to coat it with Bona. Bona’s comprehensive system gives you superior quality for your hardwood flooring. Bona Classic is a unique sealer specially developed to minimize ‘edge-bonding’. It produces a well bodied surface and adheres better to the floor for a maximum protection and durability. Bona’s lacquers offer superior protection against spills and scuffs. Bona Traffic adheres to commercial areas with high traffic areas while Bona Mega is ideal for residential and hotel rooms.

Sources:

https://www.woodproducts.fi/content/moisture-properties-wood#:~:text=In%20normal%20use%20the%20moisture,of%20the%20wood%20remains%20steady.

https://hardwoodfloorsmag.com/2017/08/01/understanding-moisture-content-wood/

https://www.delmhorst.com/blog/whats-the-ideal-moisture-content-of-wood-flooring

https://www.delmhorst.com/blog/what-are-safe-moisture-levels-for-hardwood-floors

https://www.wagnermeters.com/moisture-meters/wood-info/acceptable-moisture-levels-wood/

https://www.brisbanesfinestfloors.com.au/latest-advice/what-are-the-acceptable-moisture-levels-in-wood-flooring

https://www.wagnermeters.com/forest-products/industry-info/what-is-kiln-drying/

https://www.wagnermeters.com/moisture-meters/wood-info/pin-pinless-meter-differences/

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