How to store DIY and Home Improvement Materials


At the end of a DIY project, you often end up with leftover building materials and equipment. Throwing these away is a waste of money, particularly given that these materials are often expensive. A better option is to therefore store them for later use.

Different types of building materials need to be stored in different ways to prevent their deterioration. Failing to do this can render your stored item(s) useless when it comes time to work with them again.

To help you cut out all unnecessary costs associated with home improvement projects, here is a rundown of how you can store the most common type of materials involved in DIY.

How to Store Lumber Correctly

The main type of deterioration that you want to avoid when storing wooden beams and planks is warping.

Warping is when wooden beams bend or curve, making them unable to fit together when you next use them. It is caused by certain parts of a beam absorbing more moisture than others.

Areas that hold more moisture expand, causing the beam as a whole to become misshapen.

There are two ways that you can prevent warping from happening. These are:

1) Keep lumber away from moisture: You can do this either by keeping the wood in a climate controlled storage unit or by putting a physical barrier (such as a tarp) on top of the wood. Make sure that the tarp covers the wood entirely as partial coverage may increase warping.

2) Put even pressure on the lumber: Even pressure can help spread any moisture that gets into the wood across the beams so that one specific area does not warp. If you are stacking lumber up, put bricks down evenly across the top of the stack. It’s a good idea to put these weights on top of a tarp to give lumber double protection from warping.

If you are buying wood with the explicit purpose of keeping it in storage for a long time, we would recommend spending a bit extra on cured wood. If you plan to store wood for over two years, then this is definitely a better option and should save you money in the long run.

How to Store Bricks Properly

Bricks are relatively durable, with only long-term exposure to pools of water potentially damaging them. You can therefore store them at home depending on your property’s location and climate as well as how much covered space that you have.

If you are going to store bricks at home, then it’s important to either keep your bricks raised off the ground or to put some physical barrier around them to stop the bottom bricks from coming into contact with rainwater.

If you are storing bricks in a storage unit, the only way they might be damaged is if they topple over, as bricks are brittle relative to their weight. Do not stack bricks more than five bricks high if you want to prevent this type of damage from occurring to them.

How to Store Cement in Any Climate

Cement is one of the hardest building materials to store properly. Any contact with moisture will cause cement to degrade.

As well as needing to be sealed tightly in a plastic bag, cement needs to be raised off the ground in order to provide adequate ventilation. It should also be kept away from other “wet” building materials such as paint, glue, and primers, as the fumes from these substances can cause cement to deteriorate.

Any cement stored in an open bag can only last a maximum of six months, assuming that the bag has been sealed as tightly as possible. When cement is sealed it usually does not have a shelf life of over a year. This should be made clear on the bag.

Store Paint and Primer Like the Pros

The most common way that paint and primer deteriorate is by drying out due to exposure to heat and air.

You therefore want to keep these products in a cool location (under 70 degrees Fahrenheit) and make sure that any container that they are in is sealed as tightly as possible.

The best way to seal pots tightly is by putting a layer of thin plastic wrap on top of the opening of the pot, and then hammering down the lid of the pot on top of it.

Covering the opening of a paint pot with plastic will help protect it if it is stored in humid environments. Part of the risk that humid environments post to the long-term storage of paint is that humidity causes the lid of a paint pot to rust, and this rust then falls into the paint and discolors it. Adding a physical barrier to the top of the paint should stop this from happening.

Storing Tiles and Roof Shingles

Although tiles and roof shingles are designed to withstand the elements, if they are being kept for a long period of time then they should not be kept in an environment that could exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, tiles and shingles are more likely to crack.

Other than heat, the most likely way that tiles and shingles can be damaged in storage is through being scratched or falling on the ground. You should therefore avoid stacking tiles more than three tiles high, and keep them in boxes or bubble wrap whenever possible.

Storing Glue Without Drying it Out

Like with paint and primer, you want to prevent glue from drying out when in storage.

Opened pots and bottles of glue should be sealed as tightly as possible and kept at a temperature of under 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Smaller open pots in the glue should be kept in the fridge if possible.

Half used sticks of glue, the type that you would use in a glue gun, should be kept in a sealed plastic bag in either rice or with packets of silica to remove the moisture from the inside of the bag. This again should be stored at a temperature below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Summing up

Correct storage of construction materials is vital to you being able to use them in the future.

Even professional construction and home improvement companies get this wrong and end up wasting a lot of money in the process.

For optimal longevity, most building materials need to be kept in some sort of climate-controlled environment, whether that be temperature or humidity-controlled. This is why attics are some of the worst places to store building materials, as they often become hot.

Keeping materials in a basement, or in a long-term storage facility, is a better way of ensuring that stored building materials last as long as possible.


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