When you’re knee-deep in a woodworking project such as flooring installation, humidity and temperature can impact the project before and after installation. Wood is a hygroscopic material, meaning it attracts water from its surroundings. It is also affected by the temperature where the size of the wood can expand or contract based on the ambient conditions. With an array of Kestrel Instruments to use for spot-checks or to leave on-site, you can measure temperature and humidity to avoid issues such as swelling of wood and ruined work.
How Humidity Impacts Woodwork and Millwork
The relationship between wood and humidity is known as Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). When there is moisture in the air, it can make its way inside the wood. High humidity levels can create problems with woodworking, millwork, and flooring installation.
When it comes to installation, aim for humidity levels between 25% and 55%. The wood itself should be around 5% to 10% moisture level. For flooring, ideal moisture levels are between 6% to 8%. This ensures that the wood won’t experience excessive swelling or shrinking.
What happens if wood expands beyond 55%? It can expand by as much as 1/8”. It's important to keep in mind that different species of wood expand and contract differently.
Keeping Temperature and Humidity in Check with Kestrel
While it's true that wood can be treated with moisture-resistant applications, this doesn’t make the wood resistant to humidity. One of the steps you can take to prevent problems during woodworking projects and installation is monitoring humidity and temperature to ensure quality control.
Kestrel DROP Data Loggers provide the easiest way to monitor humidity and temperature for any jobsite -- even at multiple locations . Accurate real-time readings, ongoing logging and storage capabilities, plus the ability to access all of this critical information on a mobile device gives busy contractors and project managers the flexibility and options needed to get the job done right.
Keep in mind that after the flooring or other millwork is installed, it still has the potential to expand and contract. If in doubt, check the manufacturer installation and humidity requirements.
By keeping humidity and temperature levels in check, you can make sure your woodwork or millwork looks beautiful for years to come.