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Storing Building Materials – Keep Them Dry

building materials stored outside

Storing Building Materials | Expensive building supplies and materials are exposed to rain and the sun on this New Hampshire job site. That's not a good practice. Photo Credit: Tim Carter (C) 2021

"Using all of the above things speeds up the construction process allowing you to get a roof on your new home faster."

DEAR TIM: I'm getting ready to build a new home and the weather will start to get colder and wetter. My wife and I are really concerned about materials left out in the weather. What are some best practices we can put in place with our builder so that our house does not suffer any more than it has to? What are some reasonable expectations that we can expect from our builder? What's not too important? Randy P., Racine, WI

DEAR RANDY: It's really smart for you to think about storing building materials before you start your new home. It's even better to include provisions in your contract about storing building materials and wet construction situations. Storing opens in a new windownew building products safely preventing damage and them getting wet is important.e Many people freak out about their houses getting wet during the construction process, but they need to realize that water and construction go hand in hand unless you're building in the Atacama desert.

Is It Okay For Lumber to Get Wet?

Yes, it's okay for lumber to get wet. But getting lots of opens in a new windowrain on framing lumber for extended periods of time is not a great idea. This is why it's a fantastic idea to build using:

Using all of the above things speeds up the construction process allowing you to get a roof on your new home faster.

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Should I Specify Materials Not Harmed by Water?

The first thing to do is specify materials that are not harmed by water. Traditional oriented strand board (OSB), a material that's supplanted plywood as the primary floor, wall and roof sheathing material, has a bad reputation for swelling when it gets wet. You can now purchase an OSB product for subfloors that's guaranteed not to swell, even if it's got standing water on it.

Are Products Available With Plastic Coatings?

Wall and roof sheathing products are available that have plastic coatings that repel water. These are good products so long as they allow water vapor to pass through them with ease.

Don't worry about traditional wood wall studs, floor joists and roof rafters getting wet. This solid lumber will not be harmed by repeated periods of rain. Many people think that the wood will rot in a short time. This will not happen.

Is it Important to Have a Great Builder?

It's imperative that you have a great builder who has fantastic subcontractors. You want the builder to get the house frame up as rapidly as possible and get the house under roof so that rain becomes a non factor. Have a serious talk with your builder and get firm commitments as to what's going to happen to ensure work is happening on any good weather day.

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To this end, when building late in the season with bad weather a possibility, I'd seriously consider looking at manufactured housing options. It's possible to have your house delivered to the building site nearly completed. A crane can lift the house sections together and in a matter of hours, or a few days, the entire house is weatherproof.

At the very least, consider prefabricated walls that could shave a week or two off the building schedule. Within a week or two, your house could be under roof as many walls can be tilted in place or set by a crane in hours.

Materials delivered to the job site need to be protected from the rain and sun if possible. Stacks of lumber should not rest directly on the soil. Try to get an air space of 4 inches under the wood. Cover lumber with waterproof tarps, but allow two ends to be open so air can pass through the covered lumber pile.

Will Wood Twist and Bow if Left in the Sun?

Wall studs and timbers can twist and bow if allowed to be stored in direct sunlight. It's best to store lumber in the shade if at all possible. This is not easy to do, and it will add to your construction costs if you move the lumber into the structure.

Will Hunting Season Slow Construction?

Understand that hunting season can have a detrimental effect on your house project. In some parts of the USA, hunting season is more important to people than just about anything. Construction workers can suddenly disappear into the forest. They'll sit for hours in the rain waiting for an animal, but they'll rarely work in the rain for money to pay bills. Hunting manifests strange human behavior!

What Should I Do If My House Gets Soaked by Rain?

If your house gets soaked with water as it's being framed and as the roof goes on, be sure to slow the construction process until the lumber dries well. You can make a huge mistake by allowing the builder to install insulation, vapor barriers and drywall over lumber that saturated with water.

If mold and mildew have formed on the lumber, clean it off with opens in a new windowcertified organic Stain Solver. It's a USA oxygen bleach you mix with water.

Stain Solver black background yellow scoop

Stain Solver is MADE in the USA with USA ingredients that are food-grade quality.

Is Standing Water in a Basement a Good Thing?

Standing water in a basement is not a good thing. Be sure that drain lines are in place or pumps are used to prevent your basement from turning into an indoor swimming pool.

Can I Erect a Tent Over My New House?

If you have a sizeable budget, you can actually erect a large tent over the construction site and create an artificial environment for the builder. You can do the same thing with pipe scaffolding and simple floor trusses that are used to create a temporary roof over the site.

It's all about money at the end of the day. In certain instances, it may make financial sense to go to these extremes to create a dry and pleasant work environment for those working on your home.

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