MOISTURE IN WOOD from the home of wood


Moisture content in wood - what you need to know

The moisture content level within timber ultimately dictates the subsequent movement and potential distortion when in service.

For guidance please see the table below for the recommended moisture content levels for timber in any given situation;

Wood moisture content

To download this handy illustration please click here.

Illustration explained;


Sub-category based on intended   in-service climates

Moisture Content range in %

External joinery



Internal joinery

For unheated buildings


Internal joinery

For buildings with heating providing   room temperatures of 12 deg C to 21 degrees C


Internal joinery

For buildings with heating providing   room temperatures in excess of 21 degrees C


Our manufacturers monitor the moisture content of their timbers and all are kiln dried (with the exception of some structural timbers and green oak). The moisture content normally falls between 12-18% but this does vary between species. Please see the specific materials for an indication of the moisture content at the point of supply. If you have a specific moisture level requirement please indicate this on your order (special instructions). Please note however that the cost and timescales may vary if your requirement is different to the projected moisture content levels shown. Once you receive your timber product, it is important to protect it and maintain the moisture levels to ensure that are at the desired level at time of install/positioning - for more information on protection click to go to finishing (care and handling).

If you purchase timber regularly or have concerns over moisture content levels in timber (this especially applies to building contractors, architects and other trade related professionals) we recommend that you invest in an accurate, quality moisture meter. It is important to obtain the correct type of meter – we strongly recommend the Wagner MMC220 (we have used one for years with great success). Having outstanding accuracy, another key advantage of these meters is that they provide measurement deep into the wood without the downside of unsightly holes that you get when using a pin-type meter.  Wagner's technology allows quick scanning of your wood, and Wagner meters provide INTELLISENSETM technology with virtually ignores absorbed surface moisture that can negatively affect other meters’ accuracy. For more information click here 

If you are interested in purchasing a Wagner meter please contact us -