Lumber Storage - Horizontal or Vertical

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 02-04-2016 11:48 AM 1144 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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891 posts in 2838 days

02-04-2016 11:48 AM

I need to do something with my lumber pile. I have noticed that the Lumber Jock community has posted lumber storage racks with vertical orientation and horizontal orientation. I am fortunate that I have space to do either but not both. Which is a better way to store 6-8’ boards of various species, standing up on end in a vertical rack, or laying flat across 4 supports in a horizontal rack? and why?

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

8 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


3283 posts in 2014 days

#1 posted 02-04-2016 12:01 PM

I think storing them flat is better if you have room.

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Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2518 days

#2 posted 02-04-2016 12:06 PM

I agree with the flat storage if you have room. Going vertical works well if you have the lumber supported in a way it doesn’t sag. I have a small pole barn and some lumber stored both ways. The vertical stuff are generally the longer boards (10’+) that won’t fir my horizontal rack. They lean against some 4×6s I happen to pick up somewhere. After 6 years (for some of the boards) they are still have no bowing.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View rwe2156's profile


2965 posts in 1506 days

#3 posted 02-04-2016 02:00 PM

Vertical for long boards and shelves for shorter ones.
Way way easier to sort and select.
I made a rack for mine out of heavy timbers with cross braces.

For me its just too much work to select boards from 5 or 6 layers of horizontal boards. You just end up stacking and restacking.

I keep shorter stock 4-6’ long on horizontal shelves.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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1028 posts in 3090 days

#4 posted 02-04-2016 02:11 PM

I store lumber horizontally for drying up in my attic, and I take it down approximately 100bf at a time when my supply is low in the shop. I have a 50/50 mix of horizontal and vertical storage in my shop. I would say that I end up using the vertically stored lumber about 80% of the time because it is so much easier to sift through the stock to choose a board. With the horizontal stuff I end up just taking whatever is on top a lot of the time (ok, I’ll admit that’s lazy, but it is a pain), which can make for an inefficient use of material, poor grain/color matching, etc.

The downside with vertical storage is that it steals footprint in the shop, and I don’t have much to spare. My horizontal rack is mounted high enough that I can use the space underneath if I want to.

-- PaulMayer,

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1417 posts in 1202 days

#5 posted 02-04-2016 03:50 PM

I store wood horizontal in both the rafters and on racks. I have tried fixed and adjustable shelves. I prefer fixed shelves that are close together so I can only place a few boards on a shelf. I place the vertical supports at 2 foot intervals to allow different lengths and prevent sagging. Some of the boards will remain on the shelf for years so even thick boards can sag if not supported.

I store plywood vertically on it’s long edge.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View becikeja's profile


891 posts in 2838 days

#6 posted 02-05-2016 12:37 AM

I’m thinking horizontal 18” centers. I can see the benefit of vertical for sorting though. However, how do you keep vertical from twisting or sagging as it leans?

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View JBrow's profile


1361 posts in 945 days

#7 posted 02-05-2016 12:49 AM


I cannot say which method of storage is best – probably like everything else in life, anyway you go has its pluses and minuses. I store mine horizontally, stickered is best but requires more height. Stickering allows air to move around all sides of the boards and thus helps control moisture in the wood.

One major consideration for vertically stored lumber is moisture. I suspect that moisture enters and leaves a board mostly from the ends. This is why the lumber yard oftentimes paints the ends of lumber – to control moisture in the wood. If the ends of boards are set on concrete, moisture could enter the lumber from the end and do whatever moisture does to lumber. An end setting on a floor also slows or stops moisture from leaving the board.

Another consideration for storing lumber, no matter which way it is stored, is getting to those pieces you want. Big piles make it a real chore to get at the lumber at the back or on the bottom. Ideally lumber is stored grouped together by species and by size. But that can take a lot of room.

View JAAune's profile


1802 posts in 2342 days

#8 posted 02-05-2016 02:35 AM

Depends upon how you handle inventory. I like picking through vertical racks for long boards but also like the convenience of placing bundles of lumber on a horizontal rack with a forklift instead of manually putting them in the vertical rack.

My wood is stored both ways.

-- See my work at and

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