How Long Does Wet Wood Take To Dry? – All You Need To Know!

how long does wet wood take to dry

Wet woods are filled with lots of moisture content. They have absorbed moisture from the environment and swell in size. Too high moisture content results in fungi formation and causes wood rotting. Therefore, wet wood is not recommended for woodworking. Once your woods get wet and soaked due to various reasons, you may have asked, How long does wet wood take to dry?

Here’s what I know from my own experience:

Naturally wet wood takes at least 2 weeks to dry completely under warm and windy weather. Drying time depends on the moisture content inside the wood, length of time wood is exposed to rain or moisture, type of weather, location, and severity of the wood. Moisture content should be reduced at least 6% to 8% to consider the wood as dry wood.

But that’s not all there is to know about how long does wet wood takes to dry.

So, in this post, we’ll look at all the factors related to wet wood-like, how to make wet wood dry faster, how to dry out firewood, how long does it take wood to dry for woodworking, how to make sure the wood is dry and many more!

So, let’s get going!

How Long Does It Take Wood To Dry After Rain?

Mostly wood takes no more than one week to dry after rain. Normally moisture content of the wood will increase around 30% after exposure to rain and once moisture content reaches 15%, we can consider the wood is dry.

But this drying time can change due to various factors and drying time depends on things, such as,

1. Type of the wood

If your wet wood is a hardwood, mostly the moisture content will be lesser than softwoods that get soaked because of having less porous structure than softwoods. But in the same way, the moisture that is trapped inside of hardwood cannot be easily eliminated as softwood and this can increase its drying time.

Therefore, the type of wood and its qualities are significant when it dries after rain.

2. Weather condition

If you live in a dry and windy area with enough sunlight, the drying time will not last for weeks. Probably 2-3 days are enough to dry the wood completely. But if you live in a wet and rainy area, drying time probably takes more than 2-3 weeks.

3. Humidity

If your wet wood is stored in an area of high humidity level, the drying time will be much longer than the average value. Because when the humidity level difference between inside the wood and outside environment is low, the moisture elevation speed is also slow. So, make sure to keep your wet wood in a windy indoor area that has lesser humidity than other areas.

4. Size of the wood

The size of the wood is an important thing for wet wood to make them dry faster. If the size of the wet wood is small the surface area that is open to the outside environment is higher than the large wet woodblocks. So, when the surface area is high, moisture reduction speed to the environment is also high. This will make the wet wood dry faster.

You can measure the moisture content of the wood using a moisture meter and know exactly when your wood is dried sufficiently after rain exposure.

If your wood is properly covered and stacked up into small pieces and raised above the ground additional rain won’t increase the moisture content of the wood that much.

How to Make Wet Wood Dry Faster?

There are lots of ways you can dry wood faster. Any of the following methods are great to dry your wet wood faster.

1. Cover the wood properly

By covering the wood properly, the wood won’t expose to additional rain or moisture. Use a sheet of plywood or metal to cover the tops. They won’t give access to moisture or water droplets to go inside the wood.

2. Stack up the wood into small pieces

You need to build a stack properly by splitting wet wood into small pieces to dry them quickly. Once the stacked wood is ventilated properly using stickers, the moisture won’t get access to go inside the wood. The airflow between each wood will dry out the wood by absorbing moisture.

3. Warm the wood

By placing your wet wood nearby the fireplace, the moisture will quickly eliminate and help to dry the wood faster. This is the method that I follow during rainy days.

Or you can heat the wood by placing them in a shed or garage. Those areas have enough space and heat to make the drying process faster.

How To Tell If the Wood Is Dry?

There are some techniques we can follow to identify whether the wood is dried properly. They are,

  1. The wood’s split surface is dry and warm.
  2. Cracks in the end grain.
  3. Wood does not hiss when it burns.
  4. Wood darkens over time.
  5. No dull sounds from the wood when knocked against another piece of wood.
  6. Light in color.
  7. Lighter in weight.

If you don’t have a moisture meter, you can follow the above steps and techniques to make sure your wet wood has dried properly and is ready to use.

How Long Does It Take Wood to Dry After Power Washing?

Normally 48 hours is enough for wood to dry after power washing. After the power washing, there is a certain amount of moisture trapped inside the wood. So, you should dry the wood completely to make sure no water has soaked into the wood under the stain.

If you feel the wood won’t dry out within 2-3 days, expose it to sunlight to give more time to dry out quickly. In my experience power washed wood should be dried out completely within a maximum of 72 hours.

Once the moisture content of the wood is down to 12% to 15%, the wood is considered dried enough and you should wait another day before start staining.

How Long Does It Take Wood To Dry After Water Damage?

Normally, the wood will dry within 5 days after water damage under several circumstances. During those 5 days, wood should be covered and not much open to the outside environment.

This won’t take 5 days if you live in a sunny, dry, and windy area. Also, this can take more than 5 days if you live in a wet area with a high level of humidity.

You can dry wet wood that is damaged because of water by

  • Fans
  • Dehumidifying
  • Air drying

Fans are great to dry wet wood that is damaged with the help of air circulation. With fans, the moisture content will be eliminated.

By dehumidifying you’ll be able to remove moisture from the surrounding materials and air. By doing that, the moisture that is trapped inside the wood will release to the surrounding environment to balance the moisture level. This is known as the quickest method to dry out the wet wood.

Air drying is efficient for a sunny area with less humidity. Because of air circulation, the water-damaged wood will quickly dry out within a couple of days.

Why Wet Wood is Bad for Woodworking?

Moisture that causes wood rotting is trapped inside the wet wood. So, if you use wet wood for your next woodworking project, the woodwork will damage and rot pretty quickly and that will be a waste of time and money.

So, always select the wood that has a moisture content of 6% to 8% for woodworking.  With wet wood, the woodworking will be really difficult. Here are some reasons why wet wood is bad for woodworking,

1. Sanding is difficult

Sanding is best to do with dry wood. Wet wood will warp and tear apart easily once you start sanding. Because moisture or water absorbed wood swells up unevenly.

Even though you go through sanding wet wood without any issues, finally mostly you will end up with swell marks, scratches, and cracks.

So, never do the sanding for wet wood until they are completely dried.

2. Poor strength

Wet woods are not strong as dry wood. Even though the wood is hardwood, once the wood swells and absorbs water, the density of the wood will reduce dramatically.

When water or moisture gets into the wood, it will expand and loosen the strength of the bonds between fibers. Therefore, the wood will be weakened, and mostly it is irreversible even after the wet wood has dried completely.

Read: Does Wood Expand In Cold?

As a full-time woodworker, I never suggest wet wood for woodworking even after they’re dried because moisture damages the wood than any other substances and there is no use in applying sealer or water-resistant paint after the wood gets soaked already.

So, always make sure to keep the wood dry and warm environment before use.

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: How Long Does Wet Wood Take To Dry?

In this article, we went over how long does wet wood takes to dry and we focused on several related topics such as, how long does wet wood takes to dry after rain, water damage.

Furthermore, we have talked about how you can say if the wood is completely dried or not without using a moisture meter and how to make wet wood dry faster.

As a woodworker, I have discussed why wet wood is bad for woodworking with several reasons and examples.

Hope you have gained good knowledge about how to deal with wet wood and what are steps you should take if your wood gets soaked and what can you do to not happen again.

Stay safe and enjoy woodworking!

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