What is Kiln Dried Lumber, and Does it Matter?

Using Wet Lumber for Flooring


You can use wet, ( non kiln dried flooring ) in your house, however, you need to expect to have 3/16″ spaces between the boards when it acclimates to the moisture level of the air. Those gaps between the boards will change from time to time as well. In the summer the floor will soak up moisture and the gaps will shrink. In the winter, when there is less humidity in the air because it is cold outside, the gaps will expand again. You will actually hear it groaning and creaking as this happens.

This is charming and fits many old houses…because that is how they were done when the home was built!

We had to match a floor in a century home north of Toronto (Barrie area), and the specialist flooring contractor had ordered quarter sawn douglas fir, which has a beautiful red colour and the straightest grain you can imagine. However the original floor was put down wet and had those tell tale 3/16″ spaces. I had the contractor lay waxed twine between the boards as they laid them. He installed the floor with modern equipment, then to match the original square head nails we ordered horse shoe nails which looked nearly identical.

If you want that unique look of a perfect floor though, you need kiln dried materials.


While we are talking about kiln drying, you have to be aware that much of the flooring coming out of South America is only dried to about 13-14%. This flooring will shrink and warp and cup significantly after installation.

Colling-Wood flooring dries all our floors to 6%. It takes more energy, more time but we believe it is worth the effort to create a flooring that will remain the way it is installed.


Get in touch about 2 months before you need it if you are looking for a truly special floor.