Perhaps you have heard the term “green lumber” before but don’t really know what it refers to. Green lumber is also known as wet lumber, and as the latter name suggests, is wood used for construction that contains a higher moisture content.
A freshly cut tree obviously contains a lot of water. The water that collects in the woods cells is known as free water. This water will slowly evaporate until it reaches the same level of water content as its surroundings. This is known as EMC, or equilibrium moisture content.
Obviously, the longer this wood is left, the better it dries out and is good for construction, but this does not always happen with green lumber. After being processed, it is often stored in plastic wrapping until its ready to be used in construction. This impedes the evaporation process which means that the wood will still have a high moisture content when it is used.
This type of wood will frequently be used in dryer areas of the country such as Arizona and areas of California. This is because it will dry out quicker.
Green lumber is also used because it usually costs less and is a softer wood, making it easier to cut and put nails into without it splitting.
Is green lumber a better option than kiln dried wood? This will be discussed in a future article.