A Simple Guide to Proper Lumber Storage

Whether you’re working on a small home improvement project or constructing an entire building from scratch, you need quality materials to get the job done. Not only do you need to select the right supplies for your project, but you also need to keep them all in perfect condition until the job is finished. Lumber, in particular, is challenging to store. It’s vulnerable to warping and bowing when exposed to the elements. If you’re working on any construction project in Seattle, WA, read on to discover how to properly store lumber/a>.

What causes lumber to warp?

Moisture or humidity in the air causes wood to warp. You don’t have to completely cover a board in water for damage to occur—even minimal contact with moisture causes wood to change shape. If you’ve left wood outdoors, below a dripping ceiling or in a very humid space, you’re going to notice some warping. Keeping wood dry is especially tough to do in a damp climate like that of Seattle, WA. As you inspect the condition of your boards, look for:

  • Bowing
  • Twisting
  • Crooking
  • Kinking
  • Cupping

Damaged lumber is often unsalvageable, but it’s important to save what you can. If you notice any of your boards exhibiting the types of warping described above, cut off the portion with damage and salvage the rest. The salvaged portion might need some additional planing or trimming, but it keeps at least part of the board out of the trash.

What’s the right way to store lumber?

It’s important that you know how to properly store lumber so none goes to waste. Follow these simple guidelines to properly store your lumber and prevent damage:

  • Stack lumber horizontally: As you add pieces to the pile, be sure to separate each layer with stickers. These are small, dry, 1” x 1” strips of wood that keep your boards from resting directly on top of each other. Ensure the boards resist sagging by placing the stickers at the ends of each stack and ever 16 inches in between.
  • Install a wall-mounted storage rack: When you’re able to get lumber up off the floor, it’s much easier to keep it dry. Create stable racks on the walls of your garage, workshop or wherever you store your lumber. When you store boards on these racks, try to avoid stacking too many on top of each other. Wood stays in good condition with proper air circulation—make sure you don’t overload your racks.
  • Create vertical storage: When space in your workshop is at a premium, your best bet is to vertically store your lumber. Wood will remain in great condition as long as it stays dry—make sure each board is up off the ground to prevent any water damage.

If you’re storing wood in Seattle, WA, you need to be mindful of the area’s humid climate. Now that you’ve learned how to properly store lumber, you’ll have project-ready boards available whenever you need them. Contact Stewart Lumber & Hardware Co. to learn more about lumber storage and find quality boards for all of your construction needs.

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