LumberJocks

Storing lumber outside - do's and don'ts

  • Advertise with us

« back to Focus on the Workspace forum

Forum topic by Ian S posted 01-24-2017 03:53 PM 1790 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 533 days


01-24-2017 03:53 PM

I’m continuing to get my 10×20 shop set up, and finding (quite unsurprisingly) that floor space is at a premium. What I’m considering doing is rigging up my own version of one of these wall-mounted lumber racks on the OUTSIDE WALL of my shop.

My shop is a simple gable-roof design, and the eaves of the metal roof and soffit overhang past the “long” sides of the building by about 2 feet measured horizontally. This creates a significant enough pocket of rain protection that I believe it would be more-or-less suitable for long term storage of the majority of my wood stockpile.

The idea is to set up something like this:
https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1b56xasXYzQI9tbO5Gf4ZoVsm25Q_5YOqk2HeHVqUTP0/edit?usp=sharing

And it’s also probably worth saying that the majority of my stockpile (at this point) is already fairly weathered, as I tend to scavenge from craigslist and acquire stocks of large offcuts, etc. I do have a few pieces of lumber that are nicer, or kiln-dried, and I have a small wall rack located inside my shop to store those. But the vast majority of my material (dimensional lumber and sheet goods) is not in excellent condition to begin with.

Also, I live in central Texas. It’s pretty dry most of the year, though we do have a few wet months where we get decent rainfall. I would think freezing / thawing / snow is not a concern, as we only get below 32 for about one week out of every year. But again, we do get some rain.

So that’s the scene. Here are my questions:*
Am I setting myself up to ruin most of my stock doing this, or do you suppose I’ll be fine?
If you think that I need to set up more substantial weather protection for this outdoor rack, what would you recommend? (On that note: I’ve toyed with the idea of getting some old shower curtains and hanging some long shop-made “curtain rods” on the edge of the eave, basically resulting in a continuous, vertical, waterproof barrier which would presumably guard against wind-driven rain coming in horizontally. But, let me know if you can think of a better option.)

Happy for any thoughts. Thanks as always.


26 replies so far

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

474 posts in 387 days


#1 posted 01-24-2017 04:10 PM

I’m interested in hearing what folks hav to say on this cause I’m in the same situation as u are except I only hav around a foot of over hang. Where I live at tho I figured on extending that to at least 4-5 foot since rain doesn’t always blow I need from the same direction.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4757 posts in 2329 days


#2 posted 01-24-2017 04:52 PM

I think you want to keep it dry, and that might mean some kind of curtain for at least part of the year. Freezing and thawing wouldn’t be a problem no matter where you are, most lumber isn’t stored in a controlled room. But you will have to be sure to “acclimate” your wood before working with it…..not a bad idea regardless of where it was stored.

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

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 533 days


#3 posted 01-24-2017 05:12 PM

That sounds good so far Fred. I guess what I’m trying to judge is, how dry is “dry”? As far as wind-driven rain, we might get a storm of that seriousness here only 2-3 times a year, and I would guess the rest is just a straight vertical drizzle or sprinkle. It’s also somewhat rare that we see more than ~1 week of continuous moisture and overcast skies—usually the sun comes out and dries stuff out pretty reliably.

That said, could just 1 week of high humidity and a touch of direct moisture be enough to permanently warp or damage some of my lumber? That’s the kind of thing I’m trying to figure out.

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

156 posts in 1429 days


#4 posted 01-24-2017 05:24 PM

I don’t know what your set up is exactly. Maybe under a deck where you can hang the curtain. “Water proofing” will hardly be seen under there and save you precious shop space.

Some people storing wood outside put a tarp over it and call it a day. Depends on how permanent you want it to be. Either way, keep it as far off the ground as you can as plenty of moisture will come from there.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View dannmarks's profile

dannmarks

384 posts in 418 days


#5 posted 01-24-2017 05:33 PM

I looked at the design. you can easily put on sides, and doors for the front that will protect your wood from the direct elements. You could even go so far as to add a dehumidifier and make it a part time kiln. I think you are doing the right thing making the wood shelves on the side of the building. You could do the same thing on the other side for a miter saw and/or outside work space. My shop is much bigger than yours and I am working outside frequently because it is so big and I get some fresh air.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 533 days


#6 posted 01-24-2017 05:36 PM



I don t know what your set up is exactly. Maybe under a deck where you can hang the curtain. “Water proofing” will hardly be seen under there and save you precious shop space.

Some people storing wood outside put a tarp over it and call it a day. Depends on how permanent you want it to be. Either way, keep it as far off the ground as you can as plenty of moisture will come from there.

- TObenhuber

Good point about the tarp—I guess I’ve seen that work for some people.

My setup is illustrated (crudely) in the link I provided in the OP. I’m hanging some (strong) adjustable shelves off the outside wall of my shop to use as a lumber rack, and all this will be sheltered under the eave of the roof.

From what I’m hearing so far, it sounds like I’ll probably be fine. Maybe the exception would be if I have really nice (or really dry) wood that ought to be kept in a low-humidity and low-exposure setting.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 533 days


#7 posted 01-24-2017 05:40 PM



I looked at the design. you can easily put on sides, and doors for the front that will protect your wood from the direct elements. You could even go so far as to add a dehumidifier and make it a part time kiln. I think you are doing the right thing making the wood shelves on the side of the building. You could do the same thing on the other side for a miter saw and/or outside work space. My shop is much bigger than yours and I am working outside frequently because it is so big and I get some fresh air.

- dannmarks

Very interesting ideas. I haven’t built something that large before (a full enclosure would be something like 7’ tall X 15’ wide) but I suppose it’s doable. Although, enclosing it more assertively like that might create a space that’s ideal for insects or mold (dark, cool, etc.) so I’m not sure that’s the right way either. Dehumidifier or even a fan would be interesting though.

I actually love the idea of an exterior-mounted miter saw station. Might have to see what I can figure out in that regard. Good idea!

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3204 days


#8 posted 01-24-2017 06:15 PM

Place your wood on slightly angled brackets so that any rain that gets it will run off quick instead of soaking in. Also sticker the wood so air can circulate between the pieces. It should not take more that a day or 2 inside for the wood to be usable when needed.

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

565 posts in 1983 days


#9 posted 01-24-2017 06:20 PM

Don’t forget about bugs.

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3204 days


#10 posted 01-24-2017 06:26 PM



Don t forget about bugs.

- ScottM


Another reason to sticker your boards.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 533 days


#11 posted 01-24-2017 07:15 PM

Today I learned what stickers are! Good suggestion. I have enough scrap lying around that that shouldn’t be too hard.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4757 posts in 2329 days


#12 posted 01-24-2017 07:57 PM

I guess by “dry”, I would aim for no more than just sprinkles hitting the wood. If it gets downright wet, it might cup/bow/twist or something else that’s undesirable.

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

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1686 posts in 2695 days


#13 posted 01-24-2017 08:57 PM



...

Some people storing wood outside put a tarp over it and call it a day. Depends on how permanent you want it to be. ...

Nope, depends on how quickly you want mold, mildew and other fungus growths to form and ruin your lumber. The tarp traps rising moisture from the ground creates and a greenhouse environment encouraging the growth of undesirable funguses (fungi?).

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 533 days


#14 posted 01-24-2017 10:10 PM


Nope, depends on how quickly you want mold, mildew and other fungus growths to form and ruin your lumber. The tarp traps rising moisture from the ground creates and a greenhouse environment encouraging the growth of undesirable funguses (fungi?).
- HerbC

Right, I started thinking about the hazards of a vapor barrier shortly after I thought about that shower curtain idea. At minimum, I think I’ll make sure that my setup can breathe adequately. At most I will create something to block moisture rising from the ground and/or set up enough space to vent at the top via convection.

I think I’ve probly got this sorted out. Will post pics of the progress once I put something into action.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 756 days


#15 posted 01-24-2017 10:34 PM

Ian S,

I like dannmarks’ idea of enclosing the space to keep rain and what little snow you may get off the lumber. Additionally it would protect the lumber from direct sun light. The heat of the sun on portions of the lumber could cause a lot of undesirable wood movement.

Rather than a solid enclosure, a ventilated enclosure with a moisture barrier on the ground would be my approach. The ends and the access doors could be made from two layers of pressure treated lattice. The layers of lattice could be separated by 1×3 furring strips vertically mounted with the lattice sheets screwed to each side of the furring strips and offset from one another. The offset would block rain and snow from entering the enclosure. The open but offset open squares in the lattice would allow the enclosure to breath.

I have found that the propylene tarps and shower curtains last only about a year in Ohio before the ultraviolet light from sunlight cause them to become brittle, causing tears and disintegration.

showing 1 through 15 of 26 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com