With seasonal change comes broad fluctuations in temperatures, humidity and moisture levels,
triggering the beautiful warm colors of fall and the bright colors of spring. As enjoyable as the
changing colors of trees and plants is, seasonal change can also promote the not-so-splendid
colors of mold and mildew on lumber and plywood inventories.
How we store our lumber and plywood goes a long way to extending their quality and saleable life. Following are a few lumber and plywood storage tips to reduce seasonal mold and mildew growth, plus a couple of cleaning options in the event mold or mildew does appear.
Ideally, all our lumber and plywood would be stored indoors in a climate-controlled
environment. The high cost of climate-controlled storage for large inventories makes this
storage option impractical, even when considering the potential for material damage resulting
from storage in more exposed environments. Still, the goal is to maintain the quality, value and life of
our inventory for as long as necessary to sell it. Taking a FERAL approach to inventory storage
will help you do that.
FERAL is an acronym to help quickly remember five best practices for storing your wood
materials outside. Lumber and plywood should be stored flat, elevated, roofed with good
airflow, and loosely covered.
- Flat – Storing material flat, with equally spaced supports reduces bowing, twisting, andcrooking.
- Elevated – Elevating material at least 4-6 inches above ground minimizes sustained
contact with damp or moist surfaces and provides opportunity for airflow that promotes
evaporation of moisture.
- Roofed – Keeping your material under a roof helps reduce the direct sunlight and
precipitation that promotes expansion and contraction of wood and the warm, moist
environment conducive to mold and mildew.
- Airflow – Continual airflow helps regulate the moisture content of lumber and plywood.
Mold and mildew grow when wood moisture levels reach 20% or higher. Kiln dried
lumber and plywood is typically dried to 19% or less, so it’s important for the material to
maintain or quickly return to moisture levels below 20%. To maximize airflow, material should have a half-inch gap between layers. This is achieved by evenly spacing three or four stickers (half-inch thick strips of wood) across the material, repeating for each layer.
- Loose cover – When material is not immediately under roof, loosely cover with plastic or
other non-porous material. Remember that lumber and plywood need airflow so it is
important to allow ventilation around the material. Adding four- or six-inch material on
top of stacked material will keep the cover off the material, allow air to circulate and
reduce condensation under the cover.
Whether storing treated or untreated lumber and plywood, taking a FERAL approach to your
inventory will go a long way to extending the life and quality of your valuable stock.
Reach Out to Northern Virginia’s Wholesale Lumber Supplier
If you are looking for a wide variety of high-quality lumber and plywood, including a range of
popular treated and specialty products, get in touch with Curtis Lumber & Plywood online or call us at (703) 972 -1947. Our experienced staff is happy to answer your questions and help you find the lumber you need.