Irrespective of the intended use, letting your wood dry properly is something you can never forgo. A wet wood will be unstable and difficult for any craftsman to use. It has a high tendency to shrink or warp.
What about if your intention is to burn the wood? Well, allowing it to dry first is still a no brainer. Wood burns faster or is easier to cut when dry. That’s the point.
Unfortunately, wood drying is not the same as drying a piece of cloth. The former takes time, and that’s something many DIYers cannot afford, given the timeline of their proposed project.
Now, this leaves us with a very crucial question.
How long does it take for wood to dry after rain?
Wood can dry in a week after a heavy downpour. Size of wood and weather can also influence drying time.
After the rain, the water content should be about 30%. But you can aim to reduce it to below 15% to get it dry.
Wood can also get wet via other means, and this can impact drying time too. For instance, it takes approximately 2 or 3 days for wood to dry after power washing.
That’s because some amount of water gets trapped in the wood during the process. But exposing it to sunlight increases its chances of drying faster.
It’ll take about five days for the wood to dry after water damage under various circumstances. It won’t take up to 5 days if you stay in a dry, sunny, and windy area. And it’ll take more time in a high humidity environment.
It’ll be best to keep the wood covered during the drying phase. You don’t have to expose it to the atmosphere. Air drying, dehumidifying, and fan will be enough to dry it up.
Factors That Determine Drying Time Of Wood
It’s essential to know that several factors determine wood’s drying time. Let’s discuss each of those factors.
#1: The wood type:
Wood type and quality can influence its drying time. Hardwood absorbs less moisture than softwood ones. And that’s because it’s less porous.
On the flip side, softwood dries faster than hardwood.
#2: The wood size:
The drying time also differs according to the size of the wood. The larger the wood, the lower the surface area exposed to the environment and vice versa. So the wet wood can either dry faster or slower due to its size.
However, stacking, arranging, and covering it well will ensure the wood is safe from additional rain. And the moisture content won’t increase while it dries.
#3: The weather condition:
The drying time also differs according to weather conditions. It will take about two to three days for the wood to dry properly in a windy and dry environment. But the drying time will last for weeks in a wet and rainy area.
#4: The humidity:
Humidity can increase the time it takes for wood to dry. When the humidity level is low within the wood and the environment, the drying time will be longer. So it’s best to avoid storing wood in high humidity areas. A windy indoor space will help it dry faster.
Ways To Dry Wood Faster
Tip#1: Stack into smaller pieces:
To help the wood dry faster, stack it into small pieces. That’ll ensure it dries correctly because of unrestricted airflow.
First, split the wood into smaller parts. Then arrange them in a well-ventilated area, placing one on the other with space for airflow. That will block the access for moisture getting to the wood.
Tip#2: Cover properly:
When you cover the wood well, additional moisture won’t come in. That way, it can dry without extra rainfall reversing the progress.
Use a metal sheet or plywood to cover the top of the wood. By doing so, rain or moisture won’t have access to the wood. And there will be space for air to flow within the wood stack.
Tip#3: Warm the wood indoors:
Another way to dry wood is warming it indoors. You can do this by placing it close to the fireplace. When you do so, you’ll notice a quick change in its state. It will take less time for the wood to dry. The method is effective during rainy periods.
You can also place the wood in your garage or shed to warm it up. Such enclosed areas have heat and are spacious enough to allow airflow to hasten the drying process. You can also place it in a room with any heating system.
Tip#4: Dry the wood outdoors:
Leave the wood outside to dry. It’s helpful when there’s sunlight. Arrange it in such a way that heat can penetrate the wood. It may take a couple of days to dry, depending on the intensity of the sunlight.
Tip#5: Use a high-volume fan and dehumidifier:
Using the right equipment will help the wood dry quickly. The dehumidifier will absorb the humidity of the wood. But the drying process will speed up when it does so with a high volume fan.
Place the dehumidifier in the middle of the room and select the highest extraction setting. Then place fans to blow on the surface of the wood. That’ll aid the drying process.
As the dehumidifier extracts the moisture, the wood will dry within 24 hours.
Tip#6: Air drying:
You can also consider air-drying the wood. However, it can take up to several months to dry, depending on the water content.
The method requires you to stack the wood outside and allow it to dry based on airflow.
Tip#7: Use a kiln:
Using a kiln is another method to dry wood faster. A kiln works like an oven. The temperature and airflow in it will help bring down the water content of the wood. The process is faster than air drying. It also allows you to control the temperature and humidity levels.
A kiln can remove most of the moisture in a wood, making it last longer. So if you have access to one, it can make the work easier.
Importance Of Drying Wood
Drying wood reduces its weight. That way, it’s easier to carry around. You can also move and arrange it in a storage area without much stress.
Prevent wood rot:
There won’t be wood rot issues when it’s dry. Rot results from moisture trapped in wet ones.
When you use wet wood in your woodwork, it’ll get damaged. It’ll also waste your time and money as it’ll rot quickly.
Using wood with moisture content above 6 to 8% is a bad idea for wood projects. It makes it harder to work on the surface. It may also end up with pests and bugs that will damage it.
Some signs of wood rot include getting darker in rotting areas and may become spongy and soft. It may also be easy to penetrate and have black fungus on it. However, you can get professionals to fix it.
Make sanding easier:
It’s best to sand dry wood. You’ll also have a smooth and even surface after you finish the project.
Sanding wet wood will waste your efforts as it will tear apart or warp easily. And that’s because the moisture in it swells unevenly.
Even if you successfully sand wet wood, your work will have many scratches, swell marks, and cracks. So it’s best to let the wood dry completely before sanding.
Wood gets stronger as it dries. Wood density reduces when it’s wet. Even if it’s hardwood, it swells and gets weaker.
Moisture in wood makes it expand, and the strength of the bonds between the fibers weakens. Sometimes, the effects are irreversible even after it dries completely.
It’s best to avoid such wood for your projects. And that’s because applying sealer or water-resistant paint will be a waste of time.
Burn with ease:
You can burn dry wood with ease. However, when the wood doesn’t dry properly, it becomes difficult to burn. And that can be frustrating.
Wet wood also gives off a pungent smell when it burns. It does so at a low temperature.
Dried wood prevents smoke because they burn easily. On the other hand, wet wood is one of the causes of campfire smoke.
How To Tell If Your Wood Is Dry
To tell if the wood is dry, check it with a moisture meter. The instrument measures the percentage of water in it.
All you have to do is place it against the wood. It’ll record the percentage of water content. The moisture content of wood soaked in the rain is about 30%. It should be between 6 to 8% to be considered dry.
Some other methods to identify dry wood include:
- Cracks or splits at the end of the grain.
- The surface is dry and warm to the touch.
- Wood gets darker over time.
- It doesn’t make a dull sound when hit against another wood piece.
- Wood is lightweight.
- It’s light-colored.
- Wood doesn’t hiss when it burns.
How long does it take for wood to dry after rain? Well, it takes about one week. But the time it takes depends on some factors like wood type, size, and humidity.
You can hasten the drying time through processes like air-drying, using a kiln, and covering it properly. However, to ensure that the wood dries well, it’s best to check it using a moisture meter.