Measuring wood’s moisture content

Pinless metres are fast and easy to use, and help monitor wood moisture levels in just about any construction or remedial application.
Pinless metres are fast and easy to use, and help monitor wood moisture levels in just about any construction or remedial application.

Since pinless metres are fast and easy to use, they provide an excellent way of monitoring wood moisture levels in just about any construction or remedial application. During construction, they can be used for assessing when wood materials are ready for installation, such as in a hardwood flooring application. In an existing building, they can be used to detect small trouble spots and help contain moisture-related problems before they grow totally out of hand. Handheld metres can also be used to determine the extent of existing moisture that might cause damage quickly and easily.

It is important to keep in mind it can be useful to monitor more than just the moisture in the wood. Given that ambient conditions play an important role in how wood is affected by moisture, it can be extremely helpful to monitor ambient temperature and RH at any jobsite or building where wood materials are used. Portable data logging devices make great tools for taking temperature and RH measurements 24/7.

Today’s advanced moisture measurement technology

Newer metre technology now make the monitoring of onsite moisture conditions easier and more accurate than ever. For example, some new lines of pinless moisture metres are engineered to take measurements at specified depths which minimize any effect from surface moisture and ensure more accurate results. Some newer devices are especially powerful, and provide accurate wood moisture measurements as well as asses the ambient temperature and RH.

Another recent advance in pinless metre technology is the ability to do in-field calibration of metres. Most handheld metres, whether pin or pinless, must be sent back to the manufacturer for recalibration, but some metres offer the convenience of onsite calibration to help ensure accuracy with every measurement.

While some of today’s wood moisture metres can measure ambient temperature and RH, they do so only when one is actually onsite using the device and taking measurements.

Obtaining ambient temperature and RH data 24/7

A growing number of people in the construction industry are taking advantage of today’s portable data loggers that capture temperature and RH data around the clock, even when no one is there to collect the data. Some new smart loggers are relatively tiny, unobtrusive devices that can be readily installed and left in any spot where one suspects ambient conditions could be a factor leading to moisture damage, mould or mildew growth, or other similar issues.

These data logging devices are useful in a variety of residential and commercial settings, including hospitals, schools, businesses, and government buildings. They save time and money by reducing the number of site visits needed to monitor ambient conditions. They can also serve as a valuable reminder to customers and clients to maintain consistent, optimal conditions in the building or project area.

In today’s construction world, where there is more knowledge about moisture-related issues and their causes and effects, it makes sense to take advantage of highly advanced wood moisture metres and data logging tools that are capable of giving a fast, easy, and accurate picture of conditions in wood and the surrounding environment. Indeed, it is a very practical way people can get a handle on what is happening so the significant expense and headache of wood moisture problems can be prevented or minimized.

Jason Spangler, Wagner Meters’ flooring division manager, has more than 25 years of experience in sales and sales management across a broad spectrum of industries. He has launched a variety of products to the market, including the original Rapid RH concrete moisture test. Spangler, who received an MBA from West Texas A&M University, has extensive industry involvement, including the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), the International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI), and is vice-chairman of associations for the Flooring Contractors Association (FCICA). He can be reached at jspangler@wagnermeters.com.

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