Moisture Meters

As carpenters, we’ve been known to invest heavily in tools that make our jobs easier and more efficient. When was the last time you saw a fellow framer or trimmer drive more than a few nails by hand? It’s likely been awhile, as most of us are using pneumatic or gas-powered nailers these days.

How about setting level and plumb lines for a project? Are you still using a water level or transit for such applications? Probably not—the laser level has earned a place in the tool arsenal of most carpenters because it reduces both labor and potentially costly layout errors, thereby saving its owner time and money.

There’s another tool, which, while not yet very common on most jobsites I visit, has the potential to save you even more time and money than laser levels and nail guns combined. It’s a moisture meter.

What Moisture Meters Do

Moisture meters “read” the moisture content of lumber, drywall, concrete—in fact, just about any porous building product, whether already installed or sitting in a supplier’s warehouse. This information allows installers to accurately predict how the materials they’re working with will move in the future. This knowledge is invaluable, as one can then plan the installation accordingly and be secure in knowing they’ve made provisions for the inevitable expansion or contraction of the lumber, or whatever material they’re working with.

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