If you want to put reclaimed wood in your home, you may have heard of kiln-dried wood. Kiln drying is important in transforming reclaimed lumber into beautiful, finished hardwood floors, paneling, mantels, and more. Below we’ve explained what goes into making kiln-dried wood and outlined why you should only buy kiln-dried wood.
What is Kiln Drying?
Kiln drying removes moisture from wood by placing it in a giant kiln. Even though reclaimed wood can be over a hundred years old, it may still contain 13-17% moisture. Although some companies choose to air dry their wood, doing so can leave much up to chance. Kiln drying is a much more modern, foolproof method.
When wood is drying in a kiln, the goal is to reach the wood’s equilibrium moisture content or “EMC.” Achieving EMC means the wood can better withstand changes in external temperature and will make the finished product last longer.
6 Key Advantages of Kiln Drying
By purchasing kiln-dried wood, you can guarantee higher quality goods. At Manomin Resawn Timbers, we’ve always kiln-dried our wood, as, after years of experimentation, we still know it to be the best method of naturally processing our reclaimed wood. There are several advantages to purchasing wood that has been through the kiln drying process.
Kiln Dried Wood Has Consistent Quality
Drying wood in a kiln ensures a controlled environment and allows you to easily adjust the temperature, humidity, and airflow throughout the drying process. Wood dries best when there is a consistent and continuous flow of air. Kiln drying is the only way to achieve the perfect balance of air that results in uniformly dried wood.
You might wonder why consistent wood quality matters. After all, textured wood that isn’t machine-processed looks best, right? You can vary the style and texture, but the inconsistent quality will cause the wood to wear differently over time. So three years after you install the wood, your beautiful project may look very different.
Kiln Dried Wood Is Easier To Install
Drying wood in a kiln helps keep the wood from shrinking. Reclaimed wood that has shrunk is much harder to install and can cause many unnecessary headaches during and after installation. Removing the wood’s moisture in a kiln ensures the wood remains a consistent size even after it has been installed. Kiln-Dried wood does not need much acclimatization and is instantly ready to be installed.
You Can Make Your Wood Last Longer By Kiln Drying It
Too much moisture can cause wood to warp over time, decreasing the longevity of your floors, ceiling tiles, or other reclaimed wood accents. Kiln-dried wood that has reached its ideal EMC is ready for multiple environments without losing its structural integrity. Purchasing kiln-dried wood means you won’t need to worry about your wood’s health during the extreme temperatures of the winter or summer months, making kiln-dried wood perfect for four-season states.
Kiln Drying Wood Kills Bugs
Another huge advantage of kiln-drying wood is that the process helps eliminate bugs or eggs living in the wood. Most reclaimed wood has been outside in a barn or old factory, sometimes for over a hundred years, housing countless little bugs. A kiln’s temperature can be increased enough to kill off these unwanted critters and keep them out of your home.
Kiln Drying Wood Standardizes Your Wood Product
As we mentioned above, the kiln drying process is a technologically advanced way to dry out wood. The results are that each plank will achieve a consistent, more finished look. Timber that has been kiln-dried is also more durable. It is strong enough to withstand the following milling, which gives the wood a higher-quality finish.
Kiln Dried Wood Is Very Cost-Effective
One huge advantage of kiln drying is that it’s much faster than traditional air drying but can still achieve a superior result. Wood that may take weeks to air dry will dry in less than a day in a kiln. The shorter process means less labor goes into finishing the wood. The result is wood that is both higher quality and less expensive than air-dried wood.
When you carry this cost-benefit out to its fullest effect, it enables you to use more wood, taking on larger projects at a much more affordable price. Furthermore, maintaining the wood is more affordable down the road, and it will last longer, saving you in replacement costs when that time comes.
The Disadvantages of Untreated Reclaimed Wood
Bringing untreated reclaimed wood into your home can cause many unnecessary issues. Untreated wood can be dangerous to handle and difficult to maintain. Below are some disadvantages of using untreated wood in your home.
Untreated Wood Still Has Unwanted Metal In It
Untreated wood may contain nails and other trace pieces of metal. You must be careful when handling it as these objects can be hazardous. These hazards could prove harmful to your family and pets if installed before they are removed. If you think the wood you purchase is free of harmful metals, double-check it. You can’t be sure unless you know what the wood was previously used for, and even then, it isn’t worth skipping a double-check. A loved one hurting themselves is not worth the risk.
Untreated Wood Is Very Hard to Clean
Untreated wood cannot be cleaned using soap and water. Too much moisture can cause serious damage to the wood. It is also far less resistant to spills and potential stains, making it a poor choice for busy households or ones with children. Simply kiln drying the wood makes it far more resistant to moisture and staining. It takes it one step beyond cleaning and adds a layer of protection you need for your wood. The last thing you want is to stain or damage your wood over time when it could have easily been avoided.
There is No Pest Control With Untreated Wood
As mentioned above, kiln-drying wood can help remove unwanted bugs and eggs. If you are using untreated wood, it means you are potentially inviting these creatures into your home. You could either switch the wood you’re using to Kiln wood, or you could get in touch with Terminix offices in Connecticut (if you live in and around this area) to use the services of a professional pest control company. They can eliminate unwanted pests in your home if this is the route you wish to go down. Reclaimed wood is highly desirable largely due to its history, but when it comes to bugs, you want to leave those in the past.
Untreated Wood Wears and Tears Much Faster
Ultimately, untreated wood will experience wear and tear much faster than treated materials. If you decide to use untreated wood, you will need to set aside money to maintain your new reclaimed wood pieces over time and be prepared to replace pieces as the ones installed warp and shrink. Simply kiln drying the wood before installation positions your wood to have a long life, free of most things that cause warping and early degrading. It will make your wood last longer, look better, cost less, and be less painful for you to maintain.
Find the Reclaimed Wood That’s Right for Your Next Project
When shopping for new reclaimed hardwood floors, wood wall paneling, or timbers, it’s best to choose the wood that has been kiln-dried. At Manomin Resawn Timbers, all of our reclaimed wood products go through our kiln as a part of our three-step natural processing system. Let us help you find the perfect reclaimed wood for your next project.
No worries if you don’t know where to start adding reclaimed wood to your home! We love helping homeowners bring their reclaimed wood dreams to life. So if you’re new to the game, we’d be happy to help you get started with whatever project you have.