Protecting Lumber

Don't leave your boards out in the rain

Save the Bay Tom Silva

I often see lumber stacked unprotected on job sites. Given the increasing concern about mold problems that develop in buildings, do you think builders should be more careful?
— William Taylor, Richmond, VA


Tom Silva replies: Absolutely. Lumber stacked outdoors without any protection from the weather offers a great habitat for mold. Plus, wet wood is more likely to twist, warp, and shrink excessively as it dries.
The fix is simple: Set the stack on a couple of 4x4s to keep the underside dry, then tie a tarp over the top to keep the wood from getting wet. Keep the stack away from soft ground or muddy areas; it needs plenty of air circulation underneath. Good planning helps, too. Deliveries should be scheduled to arrive when lumber is needed. It's harder to protect stacks that sit around for a long time.
Once a building is framed and roofed, the lumber usually dries out pretty quickly. And when its moisture content falls below 20 percent, mold won't be able to grow on it.


TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.