Winter Drying of Lumber in a Barn

      A quick description of the factors affecting drying time of wood stacked in a barn for the winter. July 16, 2012

Question
Anybody know how low temp/low humidity conditions affect air drying? I live in West Virginia and I sure think anecdotally that any wood in my barn over the long cold winter seems to dry significantly. My barn has a concrete floor with vapor barrier under it, so is very dry in the cold winter months.

Forum Responses
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The average outside humidity in WV is about 65% RH (the same as in the summer actually). So the surface will be trying to reach 12% MC. Due to the slight heating in the barn during a sunny day, you can expect the barn to be around 11% EMC. The surface will get that dry, but in the cold, it will take a long time for the interior MC to achieve this lower value… Maybe 10 times more slowly, but maybe less, than summertime. As a rough estimate we say that drying will be active at 55 F or hotter. Due to the 11% EMC, it is possible to surface check oak in the wintertime.



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