The Benefits of Kiln Dried Wood

By Wood Haven | May 05, 2020

Category: Wood

Why is our siding and decking woods superior to other suppliers? Because we only use kiln-dried wood.

We do not use air dried wood like most decking and siding suppliers do. Sometimes suppliers sell just plain green like some of the Western Red Cedar. Because we only use kiln-dried wood our wood warps less and lasts longer.

What is kiln drying?

Kiln-dried wood is wood that has been dried in a large commercial oven (kiln). With a kiln, you can control the environment such as temperature, humidity, and steam levels for a set period of time. Allowing you to dry wood to the desired moisture content faster than air-drying. Wood Haven prefers at least 12%.

Don’t be fooled by your decking supplier selling ‘well air dried Ipe’ or claiming a green Cedar board will work for any application. It will not, and you will be left with shrinkage, cupping and checking. Moisture in any wood board is the enemy because it means the product will continue to change after installation. Not only will your project look worse, it will perform poorly and require maintenance sooner.

Why “Air Dried” Boards Are a Problem:

There is no standard for air dried material in the U.S.– so buyer beware! We used to buy air dried Ipe with assurances from the supplier that would be 17% or less.  It never was! A lot of times the outside boards were near the claimed moisture but the insides of the bunks would be as high as 50%! Shrinkage happens often in a board with that percentage of moisture. Keep in mind that on a wall in the Midwest a board is going to end up at around 5 to 7% moisture on the sunny side of the building and 7 to 12% moisture on the shady side.  An “air dried” Ipe board that has gone from 40% to 7% will shrink about 3/16 of an inch on average.  3/16 may not sound like much, but when you’re looking at uneven edges on your project, you’ll really notice it.

So, if you are going through the trouble to build an Ipe or Cedar deck, or to wrap your structure in beautiful wood make sure the wood is kiln dried so it will move very little and check less.

Wood Haven is one of the few suppliers of exterior and interior millwork with their own kilns.  We guarantee the material will be at a moisture level that is suitable for your environment.  

If you’re looking to build it right the first time, whether it’s siding, a rainscreen, or even a treehouse - you can trust Wood Haven. Check out what species we have available, and order free samples today!

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