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How Do I Know If My Building Conditions Are Stable Enough for Wood Finishes?

The construction industry has been affected by several logistical challenges post-pandemic. With shortages in steel, HVAC equipment, and everything in between, every job seems to have its share of roadblocks. Eventually, these challenges will get resolved, but most of the time, the scheduled completion date will not consider these setbacks. This usually means more work must be done in a shortened window, which can lead to trades starting work before site conditions are acceptable.

Importance of properly controlled air environments

An example of these situations is when contractors want wood-finished products to be installed prior to properly controlled air environments. The standard set by The Architectural Woodwork Institute has identified that the proper ranges for woodwork installation should be 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit with 25-50% relative humidity. These ranges must be maintained to allow the woodwork to be installed, preventing the materials from expanding or contracting.

Temperature and Humidity Reactions

It is more common today that we are being asked to install woodwork in buildings without a building envelope, which makes regulating temperature and humidity difficult. MDF and Particleboard will eventually show signs of movement, but the bigger concern is the veneer core plywood and solid lumber. They are very reactive to large temperature and humidity swings, which will warp quickly if not controlled. Overall, woodworkers do a good job of protecting their products from these situations, but many have recently been asked to move forward with the installation before the buildings are ready.

What Can You Do?

To help fix this problem, we recommend placing Wi-Fi humidity and temperature monitors at various locations onsite. This data can be captured in real-time and transmitted to the project team to document building conditions. Good communication with the project team and a clear understanding of the potential outcome can also help projects move forward promptly.

About H2I Group

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