It’s easy to end up having more wood than you need, which can result in your storage areas being filled up with lumber rather quickly. However, if you don’t store lumber properly for the long term, there are some risks involved.
Here are a few examples from a wooden lodgepole supplier in Utah of these risks and the best storage procedures to help you avoid them.
The biggest issue associated with long-term storage of extra lumber is changes in moisture content, especially with kiln-dried lumber.
Most of the time, the moisture content changes are reflected in an increase of moisture in lumber that has already been properly dried. If you are to avoid this issue, you must store the wood at a relative humidity (RH) level that will ensure you maintain the wood’s moisture content at the proper level as well. Storage temperature is not important—it’s humidity you need to consider.
As an example, at 30 percent RH your wood will achieve six percent moisture content. At this point, one would say the air is six percent equilibrium moisture content (EMC).
If you store a lot of kiln-dried lumber on your property, you should make it a priority to invest in an electronic RH sensor in the same room, which will help you monitor the humidity in the room. Keep records of this data and keep them on file to track long-term humidity trends.
Why is all of this so important? There are several reasons.
First, wood shrinks and swells over time as humidity levels rise and fall. For every four percent moisture content change, the wood will shrink or swell by one percent in thickness or width. If these moisture swings are more extreme, so too is the shrinkage or swelling of the wood. Wood that has seen a lot of shrinkage or swelling is more likely to warp, crack or break.
In addition, wood that has moisture levels that are too high is more susceptible to issues such as mold or fungi. If your kiln-dried lumber is below 22 percent moisture content, there is no risk of it having active fungi, such as rot or decay fungi or mold and mildew fungi. These fungi can eat away at your wood, causing significant damage.
Therefore, it is important to keep moisture levels in check. Invest in an RH sensor and a dehumidifier in the room where you store your wood, and you’ll be off to a good start.
The kiln drying process naturally kills all insects and eggs—they cannot survive at temperatures past 130° F, and kiln drying operations involve temperatures of at least 150° F. When the wood leaves the kiln, it’s sterile. In addition, very dry lumber (under 10 percent MC) is also not habitable for insects, so it is well protected.
However, if the kiln-dried lumber is stored close to previously infected wood, there is a chance it could become infected by insects. Infestations can also happen in other ways, so it is important to make sure you keep an eye out for any signs of insect infestations. Otherwise, there are bugs that could eat away at the wood.
For more information, contact a wooden lodgepole supplier in Utah.
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