Storing Lumber or Building Materials

Storing Lumber for Building Materials

The cost of shipping materials has increased dramatically in the past year. This is mainly due to the cost of containers to ship materials from one port to another. As such, there has been a bottlenecking in supply yards, leading to shortages of materials across the globe.

Those who have materials, have taken measures for storing lumber or building materials properly. Since there does not seem to be an end in site to the containment issue, those who have lumber or building materials should focus on storing their lumber or building materials properly. Here is what you need to know.

Not all lumber is created the same

The first thing to recognize when you are storing lumber or building materials is that not all the lumber is the same. You have hard and soft lumber, weather treated lumber, and compressed lumber.

All of these different types of lumber need to be stored in different ways. The best way to ensure that you have the lumber in the proper storage is to separate the different lumber and building materials according to the type.

Check with the lumber distributor as to the proper storage of the type of lumber or building materials that you have. Each supply is different and so the conditions will change according to the manufacturer of the lumber or building materials

Evenly distribute the weight

When storing lumber or building materials, it is critical that you distribute the weight evenly. There are two reasons, primarily, why you will need to do this. First, there is a safety consideration.

The wood and the other building materials are heavy. If you do not have the weight distributed evenly, then the slightest bump could send the material cascading down upon the person. Even if you have a “light” load, the weight would be evenly dispersed.

Even a light load can cause injury if it falls on a foot. Second, properly distributing the weight will ensure the longevity of the product being stored. Boards of lumber which are not properly stacked may fall subject to bending and warping. This renders the building materials useless. Store the lumber with weight at the front, mid, and rear of the boards.

For best results when storing lumber, stack the wood alternating between forward to back and side to side stacking. Not only does this ensure that the weight is distributed evenly, but it also builds the integrity of the stack, minimizing the risk of falling lumber.

Keep the moisture low

Important to the storing of lumber or building materials is the humidity of the storage environment. You will want to keep the moisture in the unit low. This will help to preserve the lumber and the building materials. For example, drywall requires that you have the driest of spaces to keep it from breakage and molding.

Lumber requires that you do not have high humidity to avoid warping and bending. High humidity is not good for most lumber and building supplies. Use a storage unit which has temperature control or seek out an air tight storage unit for the best results. If using an outdoor unit, consider placing a dehumidifier within the unit to minimize the humidity. If storing for the long term, you will need to check your lumber and building materials on a regular basis for any signs of moisture.

Wrapping building supplies is an excellent way in which to keep out moisture. As some units can fluctuate between 55ᵒ to over 85ᵒ it is important to have a means, even if it is just a moving blanket, to keep the temperature regulated. Avoid using any wrapping which may trap in moisture, such as cotton. Plastic wrapping may be the best option for lumber as it tends to direct moisture away effectively. If using plastic, you will want to have the entire pallet wrapped to avoid unforeseen moisture accumulation.

Size and shape

Just as you will want to place the different types of lumber and building supplies in the same area, you will want to store the lumber and building materials according to their size and their shape. The sizes should be sorted with the more cumbersome of the materials at the back and the smaller units at the front. Building materials which are of soft lumber, or those building materials which are subject to moisture damage, should be kept in the middle of the storage unit.

Avoid stacking different types of materials on top of each other. The different types could effect the overall integrity of the materials, especially if there is a leak. For example, you would not want to put varnish on top of your lumber supply as this would be a huge disaster should the varnish leak out of the container. Separate and store per the suggested method from the manufacturer.

Other considerations

Apart from the interior storage of the lumber and building materials, there are other things which must be considered. Specifically, you should consider how the unit will be accessed, the duration of the storage, and whether or not you need 24 hour access.

Units which have drive up access may be desirable for some contractors, especially if the contractor is using the unit for temporary access. If you are storing for the long term, you may not require the drive up access. However, for loading and unloading, even the long-term may benefit from drive up access.

The duration of your storage will determine a lot. Short term storage may have more amenities than the long term storage units. You may find that the short term offers electricity, climate control, and 24 hour access. Long term units may gain storage space, but may loose the option of electricity and climate control.

Regardless of the option that you choose for storing lumber or building materials, you should have ample access to your unit. Determine the duration and the frequency of access to know which storage unit will be the best option for you.

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