As a construction worker, you work with wood all the time and have likely seen a bad piece or two. Although most wood will age well over a long period of time in the right conditions, lots of wood pieces could be ruined if they become warped due to poor storage conditions with excessive humidity or moisture. In order to wood waste, you must know how to store lumber to prevent warping.
This could affect the project that you are working on, and if the wood is meant to be used for a building or structure, the warping could prove to be dangerous. However, if you know how to store lumber to prevent warping, then you can save time and money by keeping your wood safe to use and in great condition.
Definition of Warping
Wood that is warped is curved or bent in certain areas from the moisture content being different in specific areas of the wood. This causes some areas to dry faster than others and shrink in size, causing the wood to bend or curve. This will keep a board from laying flat.
Who it Affects
Although construction workers will see this with improperly kept wood, there are others who may be affected by warping. Manufacturers for Crown moldings, wood instruments, and furniture could all find warping in their wood. Also, homeowners who are building a structure or wooden shed for their homes could also be affected.
Causes and Types
The cause of warping in wood is from contact with moisture or humidity, which could be in the air due to weather conditions. This could also occur if the wood is kept in an area where it could get wet from rain dripping through cracks in the ceiling. There are different types of warping that could occur, and you should know each type and what it looks like.
The Five Types
Bow: The wood remains flat across the face but bends upward on both ends. The shape from the side resembles a bow.
Twist or Wind: The wood turns at both ends inward creating a twisted shape. This often resembles a twisted ribbon.
Kink: This occurs when the wood bends upward on one side creating a shape that looks like an arm that is bent at the elbow.
Crook: This happens when only one edge of the wood is exposed to moisture. The shape looks like the letter C or a smile.
Cup: This is when the edges of the wood both curve inward towards the middle of the piece of wood. The shape resembles a piece of paper in which the long edges have been curved towards the center.
Clean, Dry Storage
How you store your wood can have a big impact on the moisture content that it is exposed to, preventing warping from happening. Keeping a clean and dry storage area for your wood can prevent moisture from causing it to warp. Here are a few ways to ensure that you store your wood properly:
- Put wood piles onto flat foundations
- Place wood boards and the stickers in uniform stacks with boards of the same thickness
- Align stickers vertically and lay them flat
- Space the wood out to provide proper ventilation
- Cover your wood with material that does not allow vapor into it to keep the wood dry in humid places
- Put weights on wood piles to prevent cupping
Abiding by these rules and suggestions can keep your lumber from warping and ensure that your wood is all usable when it comes time to use it. It is important to remember to always check the moisture content before use.
Monitoring Moisture Content
Not only do you want to make sure that the area you are storing your wood in is free from moisture and humidity, but you also want to check the moisture content of the wood itself. Larger factories or manufacturers should have hygrometers in the storage area so you can keep track of the moisture in every area.
Measure Moisture Content of Wood
You should also have prong meters that will measure the moisture content of the wood itself from the surface to the interior. It’s important to have both readings because the moisture content can vary from the surface to the interior.
Curing your wood can be another defense against warping, and if done right, it can increase the longevity of the wood. You want the wood to be completely dry before you store it. By following these simple instructions, you can prevent your wood from warping:
- Do not allow lumber that is drying to dry too slowly, which could allow moisture to stay long enough to cause warping
- Keep drying lumber from being exposed to moisture or humidity
- Do not cause cracks by over-drying wood
Optional, but Recommended
You could also choose to have the ends of the wood sealed to prevent them from warping, which happens faster than in other areas of the wood. This keeps the ends from warping by drying faster than the rest of the wood.
Work with Curtis Lumber to Ensure You’re Getting the Best
Do you need wholesale lumber for your next job, or do you want some advice from a professional about how to store lumber to prevent warping? Get in touch with Curtis Lumber and Plywood to ensure you will get the best wood possible and the best advice to prevent your wood from warping!