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Tips For Storing Lumber

How to store lumber to protect your lumber investment.

How To Store Your Lumber

Whether you are a general contractor furniture builder or a person who has hobbies that require lumber, you want to store your lumber correctly. With the higher price of lumber you want to avoid lumber damage at all costs. Sometimes you can be restricted on how you store your lumber based on your business, location, and property. Here we will go over the best way to store your lumber on a wide variety of levels. Most of our recommendations are taking the lumber storage to extreme levels. If you have a high turn around you probably won’t have to go to such extremes to care for your lumber..

It is always best to store your wood indoors to avoid moisture and temperature changes, but if that is not an option, don’t worry we break down all of the different ways to store your lumber effectively.

General Wood Storage Tips And Common Questions

While different types of wood and situations require you to store it in different ways there are general rules you should follow to maintain your wood’s integrity. You will need to take greater measures in storing finished furniture or specific types of wood. Below are tips to get you started:

  • Dry: Keep your wood dry and the moisture maintained at an even level. We recommend you keep your lumber and wood dry, but be aware, if you make it too dry it can be more brittle and difficult to work with. If your wood is still green (literally a tree you cut down in your backyard), you should slowly dry the lumber. If the wood dries too quickly it can check and the 
  • Temperature: Temperature fluctuations can result in wood warping and changing shape.
  • Protection Blankets: When transporting furniture protection blankets are typically placed on the wooden furniture to avoid markings from pressure or other objects. If you plan to place other things on top of your lumber consider using thicker blankets to avoid markings. If your lumber is simply used for construction this shouldn’t be a concern.
  • Don’t seal moisture in with plastic wrap: Plastic wrap can hold moisture close to your lumber and result in molding if it sits for a large amount of time. Plastic wrap on the cut ends of a log is a great way to slow dry lumber, but make sure the wood can still breathe.
  • Light Exposure: Uneven light exposure can result in the wood being stained different colors. If a section of your wood is continually exposed to sunlight you will see the color in it fade. This isn’t a concern for 2x4s but it should be a concern if you are planning on using your lumber for furniture. A lot of fading can be removed with sanding down the first layer of the wood, but that creates more time, wok and expense.
  • Elevate Lumber Off Floor: Elevating your lumber off the floor or ground will keep it from storing up moisture underneath. Also if you have any water build up or flooding, you can avoid the wood becoming damaged and waterlogged. 


How Can I Make Sure My Investment In Lumber Is Protected?

Having insurance for lumber can save you a lot of worry. Especially if you are a general contractor or construction worker, you will always be using lumber and having to store lumber. Protect lumber on your job sites or the wood that is stored on your property. Contact Strickler insurance to learn more.

How Do I Store Lumber So It Doesn’t Warp?

The main way you can avoid warping in wood is by managing moisture and humidity around the wood. Lumber will expand when exposed to water and rapid temperature changes. The constant exposure to water, freezing of that water, and disproportionate exposure to water on your lumber will lead to your boards warping. Learn more about this in our keeping lumber dry section below.

Can I Store Lumber Vertically?

It is OK to store lumber vertically. If you are going to store your lumber upright make sure you do it correctly. When storing lumber vertically you want to make sure the bottom is not touching the ground where it can absorb moisture. Create a lifted wood cart can help with this problem. Also pay attention to how you stack the wood. If it is stored at an incorrect angle it can lead to bowing.

Storing Wood Furniture

Storing furniture, especially antique furniture requires much more attention to detail, temperature management, and atmosphere management. Finished Furniture has a greater potential of being damaged by elements than raw lumber.

Storing Wood & Lumber Outdoors

When storing your wood outdoors there are 3 things you want to keep in mind:

  • Elevate Lumber: By elevating your lumber you can keep it clean and dry. You will also avoid potential bugs from damaging the wood.
  • Sunlight: The sunlight can change the color of your wood and create unwanted lines. Take this into consideration when storing your lumber outside. Try to get it under a roof or take a tarp and cover the lumber.
  • Water: As always water is a huge problem in damaging lumber. Place a tarp over top of your lumber pile to protect it from the elements.


Storing Dry Lumber

If your lumber was kiln dried or force dried it is best to keep it indoors. Even minimal outdoor exposure has a strong likelihood of the wood being damaged or warped.

Keeping Lumber Dry

Keeping your lumber dry is probably one of the most important parts of storing your lumber well. Moisture can damage would lead to rotting as well as leading to warping. 

Protect Your Lumber Investment

With how expensive lumber has become you should consider having the correct construction insurance or contractor insurance to protect your building materials. At Strickler Insurance we work with multiple construction businesses and many carpentry and roofing businesses to provide their insurance. Learn more about how you can protect your lumber investment.