May 11, 2021

How Long Does it take for Wood to Dry?

How long does it take lumber to dry

There are multiple facets to how wood dries. They include its environment, region, and general cellular structure. It becomes even more confusing for people who require wood daily but live in highly Equatorial areas worldwide.

As a homeowner, you might wonder if it rained yesterday and if the firewood will be usable today. These regions have humid climates and often change throughout the day from rain to sunshine. In such situations as these asking how long it takes wood to dry can be pretty complicated. There are regions where the problem is less drastic, and the seasons dictate when and how the rain comes.

The benchmark is around 72 hours in a controlled, heated environment. Natural drying will take at least two weeks. This is advisable for professional woodworkers because they will need this wood to become seasoned and therefore are willing to spend more time waiting for it. 

On the other hand, people who require firewood often consider about 24 hours because there are many things you can add to this wood to make it burn, which does not necessarily need the wood to be dry. 

It is essential to bear in mind that we are referring to seasoned wood in this scenario. This wood has gone through over six months without experiencing any moisture or rain penetrating it. 

This wood becomes much more rigid than regular wood that has not had some time to season. Therefore, scientifically we would judge this wood to have a moisture content of around 20%. This is an acceptable level for wood to be considered seasoned wood.

Drying Wood Quicker

If the moisture content is currently surpassing 20%, then it is fair to say that the wood is not yet in a position where you can use it for woodworking. Therefore, you might have to employ some techniques to get the wood to dry faster. 


How we position the wood is a crucial part of the time involved in drying a piece of wood. We must stack the wood strategically to allow enough space for the air to maneuver quickly within the pile of wood. 

The better the airflow, the more likely it is that all these wood sections will be equally dry by the end. You are trying to organize them in a clever mathematical system that will see the wood piling up sensibly. The best way to achieve this is to ensure an equal distance between each piece of wood. 

You can try different ideas, such as building a square with each piece of wood placed on the pile in the opposite direction. This means that it is essential that you cut up the wood as well. It should be cut up so that you can easily organize it without squashing everything, depriving the interior section of the pile of adequate air.

The sooner, the better

If this is a fresh piece of wood recently cut down, you must urgently perform the drying procedures. There is no point in waiting to stack these items correctly and then allowing mold to form in the meantime. You will find that mold is a very tricky situation that needs to be avoided at all costs. So, you should process this wood immediately once you receive it and then allow the drying process to begin.

Get rid of the bark.

The bark on a piece of wood is well known to function as a blanket, therefore, working against our cause of getting the wood to dry faster. You will not achieve the desired results if you do not remove the bark as soon as possible. 

To prevent moisture from being caged into the wood, you must perform this task. The process you follow when removing the bark is essential because this is a protective layer that, if removed incorrectly, can cause rotting. 

Place it by fire.

Another option you can consider is placing it right by the burning fire, not in the fire but right beside it. This will help the wood dry quickly because the fire will suck out all the remaining moisture from within the wood. 

Preserve the edges of the logs.

You can try to seal the edges of the logs because this assists in pushing out the moisture from the ends of the log much faster. This is a well-known method worldwide because it is simple and works naturally. The preserve will also help prevent unwanted intruders such as insects or bugs from eating up the wood.

Drying time depends on the type of wood

The type of wood will determine how long it takes to dry. Hardwoods like oak typically take a little longer to dry than softwoods, such as pine.

Redwood and cedar are the slowest-drying hardwoods. They can take six months or more to dry before they will not warp or cup when finished.

Drying time depends on humidity

The humidity will also affect how long wood takes to dry. The higher the humidity, the slower it will dry.

Drying time depends on moisture content

You must reduce the moisture content of the wood to 8 percent or less for most woodworking jobs. If it is too high, the wood can warp or cup as it dries out.

All lumber has a sticker on the side indicating the type of wood and its moisture content at milling. For instance, white oak graded No. 1 common/air-dried would have a 15-percent maximum moisture content.

Drying time depends on temperature

A warm room and a heat source such as a fire heater can speed up drying. A fire heater, which you can purchase at home centers, heats a room and produces radiant heat that can dry wood quickly.

Drying time depends on the construction

Pressure-treated lumber should dry for at least 15 days indoors before it is used outdoors. Pressure-treating results in much higher moisture content in the wood, so drying takes longer than other treated woods.

Drying time depends on the airflow

The thickness of lumber will also affect drying time. Lumber that is 3/4-inch thick will take more time to dry than lumber that is 1-inch thick.

A room with drafty windows, such as those in a garage, can dry lumber more quickly than a room with no windows or weak windows. A room with too few windows will not dry lumber quickly enough.

Drying time depends on the thickness of the wood

The thickness of the lumber also affects how long it takes to dry. Wood that is 3/4-inch thick takes more time to dry than wood that is 1/2-inch thick because the thicker lumber has more water.


In conclusion, it is essential to note the difference between seasoned and unseasoned wood. This is because the decisions you make surrounding the drying process and time estimates will dictate what you can do with them. Seasoning wood will take about six months; depending on the climate, it could be faster. After this season, the wood should dry within 72 hours every time it meets moisture. 

This can be even less if the wood has been sealed before this. There are a lot of ways in which you can store the wood to allow it to dry faster. These are effortless and practical ways that anybody can access in the comfort of their home. 

For example, if you want the wood to dry faster, you can leave it by a current fire within the house. You can also consider leaving it in a warm room or simply positioning it so that it receives maximum airflow.

David D. Hughes

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