From my work on a previous lighthouse I know the problems with moisture metering wood that has been exposed to salt water. On this first lighthouse I was hired to restore an existing transom and build a new door. During the restoration of the transom I received very weird numbers from my moisture meter. After some digging around on the net I found the reason why, the salt in the wood effects the transmission between the two pins therefore giving an inaccurate reading.
The day I went out to Heceta Head lighthouse to start the prep for the painting of the watchtower window frames I came up against a real problem. My moisture meter was reading at the maximum number, 95.8%. Even though I couldn't rely on the percentage number I knew all the wood was soaking wet from the feel and because water pooled around the pins when I inserted them into the wood. And this was the middle of summer.
After a call to Benjamin Moore I learned that they won't warranty their paint coats unless the wood substrate was at 11% moisture or less. I knew that drastic measures would have to be taken if I was going to get a paint coat that was to last past the first six months.
First off, I called my moisture meter company to get some advice. It was the best thing I ever did. I found out the Lignomat moisture meters that I use are assembled and designed in Portland. The owner of the company invited me to come to her workshop where I watched as she assembled my new moisture meter. She instructed me on how I can monitor the wood and gage when the moisture content would be close to the 11%.
First thing I had to do was remove the frames from the openings which is something I had not wanted to do when I started the project. I have learned from experience that they often don't go back in as easily as they come out. But do this I must.
Second, I would have to take a moisture reading every other day once they were in Portland. I would have to graph each reading and when the numbers had stopped dropping and leveled off I would be close to 11% moisture for Portland in the summer.
Once levels were stable, then I could start the repair process.