The deVOL Journal

Kiln Dried Wood vs Air Dried Wood

24th November 2021

By Will Margetts

When wood is turned from timber to workable material, such as planks and parquet, it must be dried as a part of this process as otherwise it can cause a whole host of issues.

The wood on offer as part of our Planks & Parquet range here at Floors of Stone goes through a process called kiln drying during its production.

Another popular method of drying wood is to air dry it. Here I will outline the differences between the two and also make you aware of the potential risks associated with choosing air dried wood for your flooring.

The main difference, as you would expect, is that kiln dried wood is dried in a kiln and air dried wood is dried in the air, however there are a few nuances to each method that are important when it comes to selecting the wood you’ll use for your floor.

Drying wood in a kiln means that you are able to select the conditions the wood is drying in, as you can manipulate the temperature and therefore the humidity levels. When it then comes to the finished product you can then be sure it is dried to the correct degree and suitable for use.

Air drying the wood involves keeping it outdoors, and as wood is a hygroscopic material, it is still capable of absorbing moisture until it is fully sealed just before use or installation. As a result, it is very difficult to guarantee the moisture levels inside the wood and it can cause a few issues if improperly done.

The main issue is buckling, where the underside of the improperly dried plank shrinks as it dries in situ and pushes the middle of the plank up to create a convex shape or “crown” or the inverse of this occurs and pushes the middle of the plank down in a process called “cupping”. This can be repaired in some cases, but it’s often difficult and often leads to the whole floor being replaced which is a lot of labour and can be expensive.

As a result of this, we ensure the wood that we sell is kiln dried. We provide every Planks & Parquet customer with a wood installation and aftercare guide and offer a range of aftercare accessories for your new wood floor.

As an extra added bonus – the wood we offer can be installed over underfloor heating as a result of the kiln drying process combined with the fact our oak planks are engineered to allow for extra movement in terms of humidity and temperature, making them suitable with even wet underfloor heating.

If you’re interested in finding more information, get in touch with our sales team on 01509 234 000 or send us an email to