Tips For Storing Your Lumber

Construction & Contractors Blog

Ordering lumber for your next weekend project means that you will need a means to store it at your site. Don't just toss it in a corner of your yard, or worse, stand it on end against the garage. To ensure that your supplies remain straight, true, and unwarped, follow these tips for proper job site storage.

Tip #1: Pick a spot before the lumber arrives

If you can spare a covered location for the lumber, such as in a garage, under a patio overhang, or beneath a carport, then that is the best location. Otherwise, select a relatively level spot that is somewhat protected from the weather, such as on the protected side of the house or garage. Make sure the delivery truck can easily access the spot, otherwise you will need to cart it to the location by hand.

Tip #2: Elevate above the moisture

No matter how protected you think your location is, moisture seep will occur. This is even the case on concrete and under cover, but it's especially problematic on bare ground. The key is to elevate your lumber. If you have pallets lying around, you can simply create a platform and set the lumber on top. Otherwise, you will need to sacrifice a few boards to create stringers. Place the stringer horizontal to one another on the ground, arranged perpendicular to how you plan to set the lumber. Space them no more than a couple of feet apart, because you don't want your lumber to sage and warp. Then, simply stack your lumber on top of the stringers.

Tip #3: Don't cover the lumber too well

For lumber that is in the open, a tarp is a good idea to keep the weather off. Just don't secure it too tightly around the lumber stack. If there are no openings, moisture from inside the wood will evaporate and collect under the tarp, leading to warping and rot. Instead, cover the top of the wood pile with the tarp but leave the ends open. While some moisture will get in through the ends, far more will evaporate, and the lumber will benefit from the air circulation.

Tip #4: Wait to order in specialty lumber

Specialty lumber is anything that can't survive a bit of weather. This means items like flooring or wood for building cabinets. It may seem like a good idea to lump your entire supply order together, but if you don't have a covered indoor place to store specialty lumber, then it will be ruined before you can use it. Instead, wait until the space where it will be used is framed and roofed in, then store the specialty lumber in this new space.

For more information, contact N.Z. Cramer & Son Inc | Building Supplies or a similar company.

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