Choosing a Moisture Meter
When choosing a moisture meter for wood there are some key things to watch for:
Versatility: The meter must be able to read the true moisture content (MC) in the wood regardless of surface moisture or temperature changes.
Species to be measured: Most meters are not designed to measure every type of wood product, so it is important that you choose a meter that will fit your specific materials’ needs.
Destructive or non-destructive: If the holes will not show, then a pin-type meter may suffice. A good quality meter is a long term investment, and consideration should be given to project needs later on down the road. A pinless meter that uses electromagnetic field (EMF) technology might be the better choice for measuring moisture in a variety of wood situations.
Keep these three things in mind and you should be off to a good start when choosing the meter that is just right for your project needs.
Why Buy a Moisture Meter?
Industry experts agree that 75% of all wood manufacturing and quality problems are MC related. Improper MC levels in wood can affect the overall quality and durability of a product. Without a moisture detector to verify the MC, costly mistakes will certainly be made.
It is important that all incoming wood received into a manufacturing facility be immediately checked with a moisture meter for proper MC levels before any other value-added manufacturing is done. Improper MC in the manufacturing process can end up with excessive product waste and possible customer product liability claims.
Woodworkers, wood flooring installers, and inspectors must also use a wood moisture meter to avoid costly problems in their project or at their jobsite.
Since wood is a cellulosic material, it is continually losing or gaining water to or from the surrounding environment. Woodworkers must know what the wood they’re working with will eventually equalize to (click here for an exhaustive read or view this short wood moisture video series to learn more) in order to avoid major problems in the project they’re working on, then use a wood moisture meter to verify that the wood is at (or near) the correct MC.
Monitoring the MC of wood can help you eliminate the following problems:
- Shrinkage and swelling of wood
- Cupping, warping, cracking, and crowning of the wood
- Surface finishing problems
Next, learn: Which Moisture Meter Should I Choose?