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Best Way To Measure Moisture Content Of Wood – Guide

Published by 911 Restoration Washington DC on August 10, 2022 in category: Water Damage Restoration

It’s essential to learn how to measure the moisture content for wood projects. Moisture in wood can cause problems when you make furniture at home or install hardwood floors. Why?

Wood can become swollen or misshapen from excess moisture. If left unattended, moist wood may develop mold and rot. There are two main methods to measure wood moisture content. Let’s review the basics of each. Follow the ways below to learn which method of moisture measuring of wood content is best for you. 


Best Way To Measure Moisture Content Of Wood

1. Dry Oven Testing

Oven dry testing is one of the oldest methods for determining the wood’s moisture content. While the process can be time-consuming, it produces precise results if done correctly. Here’s how it works.

The wood sample is dried in a special oven, kiln, and its weight is periodically checked. The wood sample is then weighed and compared to its original weight before drying. The wood’s original moisture content is calculated using the weight difference.

Oven-drying can be accurate if done correctly. However, there are some drawbacks.

  • It takes hours. It is important to dry the wood slowly in the oven. Otherwise, the results of the tests will not be valid.
  • This will render the wood ineligible – Often, the wood is dried out by the oven.
  • This requires a special oven/kiln. Most woodworkers don’t own an oven capable of producing precise results.


These are the three main reasons why oven-drying is not recommended for hobbyists who work with wooden materials.


2. Moisture Meter Testing

A moisture meter is the fastest method to determine the moisture content of wood. There are two types of wood moisture meters: pin-type and non-pinless.


Pin-type Wood Moisture Meters

The pin-type meters employ penetrating electrodes to measure the wood’s moisture using electrical resistance. The resistance to an electric current can determine the wood’s dryness, as water conducts electricity but wood does not. Wood that is dry has a higher resistance than wood that is wet.


Pinless Wood Moisture Meters

Non-penetrating pinless meters scan the wood using an electromagnetic sensor. Pinless meters cover a greater area of wood than pin-type meters and scan more wood. This gives them a better picture of its moisture content.

The wood’s surface is not affected by pinholes left by pinless meters. Pinless moisture meters are ideal for measuring the moisture content in expensive hardwood floors.


How do you measure the moisture content of wood with a moisturemeter?

Pin-Type Moisture Meters

You can use pin-type moisture meters in the following manner:

  • Place the pins on the wood surface you wish to test.
  • Be sure to align them with the grain, not against it.
  • Turn on the meter. The current will move from pin-to-pin and measure resistance.


Pinless Moisture Meters

Even easier to use are pinless moisture meters. Simply press the scanning plate on the wood surface to get the reading.


Hopefully with the guide above you now know about how measure moisture content of wood. As mentioned there’s two different ways to do this, so select the option that is best for you.

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