Wood drying is an essential process in producing construction grade wood. While construction grade wood might not be necessary for applications such as fencing, it is required for building structures and houses.
Wood can have a moisture content greater than 200%, but to become a reliable construction material the moisture content needs to be approximately 18%.
Wood moisture content is the ratio of water weight to dry wood weight (all water removed).
Benefits of wood drying:
1.Reduced risk of wood-decaying fungi. Wood with a moisture content under 20% is highly resistant to fungi.
2.Increases wood hardness. Dried wood is stronger and more resistant.
3. Reduces wood movement. Wood shrinks as it dries and expands as it absorbs moisture, drying wood significantly reduces this movement. However, as a ‘live’ raw material, some movement at warping over time is part of the natural properties of wood.
4. Improved treatability. Wood with a moisture content under 20% has better impregnation/absorption of chemicals, paints, or oils.
5. Increases mechanical resistance. The mechanical properties of dried wood (e.g. static bending, compression, and hardness) are significantly improved.
6. Increases workability. Dried wood is much easier to work with (e.g. planning or sanding), this reduces labour costs and results in higher quality products.
7. Increases bonding capacity. This improves the production process of laminated products and application of bonding materials.
8. Increases fixation capacity. Dried wood assures better fixation of screws and bolts, which tend to loosen in wood with higher moisture content.
9. Enhances he wood’s natural insulation properties. Dried wood conducts less heat and is a better electric and acoustic insulator.
10. Reduces transportation costs. Dried wood is lighter and thus higher volumes can be transported at once.