Before you can ensure that your wood flooring is at an ideal moisture content, it’s important to the relative humidity of the installation site and compare that to the %MC of your wood materials. Here, using a thermo-hygrometer to check temperature and humidity can be invaluable.
In most cases, your installation will probably in a zone with RH values between 40% and 45%. If the temperature of the building is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the equilibrium moisture content of your wood should be between 7% and 8%.
However, in some coastal areas, the average RH is in the 58% to 63% range. In these areas, your target RH is probably going to be closer to 11% in most wood materials for an indoor environment.
How do you know if your flooring is at the ideal moisture content for wood in your installation site? By using a moisture meter for wood flooring! Wood flooring meters can be used to quickly measure the moisture content of wood and come in two varieties:
- Pin Meters use the principle of electrical resistance to measure moisture. By passing a current through the wood between the pins of the meter, the resistance to the current can be measured and used to determine how wet the wood is because water is a conductor and wood is an insulator. More water equals less resistance.
- Pinless Meters use an electromagnetic frequency to “scan” a piece of wood for the presence of water. By checking distortions in the wave, the meter can establish how much water is present in the scanned area.