Whether you’re building a new deck, patio cover or even garden box, purchasing lumber will be one of your very first steps – and it’s important to get it right the first time. The following checklist will help you make sure you purchase the right wood for your outdoor building project, and get your project off on the right foot.
You probably have a good idea of the overall size of your DIY project, but do you know the exact dimensions?
Too often, the first inclination is to head right to your lumber distributor and grab some wood without knowing exactly what you need. Before you purchase your lumber, pull out the tape measure and estimate the size of your structure. Your measurements don’t have to be exact, but a rough estimate will allow you to work with the lumber yard to get the dimensions to where you need them.
Identify the Target
Where you build your structure is important, for a variety of reasons. You’ll need to consider variables like privacy, sun and shade, local regulations and overall space. The area will determine the size and amount of lumber necessary to execute your project. Another variable that often flies under the radar is atmosphere. If you plan to build a structure in an area of your property that is susceptible to moisture, you will need to consider types of lumber better suited for moist conditions, like Redwood.
Have a Budget
There are plenty of options for style, type and budget. Knowing your budget beforehand is key to ensuring you get the right lumber materials for your project. Your local lumber yard can help you pick the right materials to fit your project goals – but only if they have an idea of your budget.
Be honest with yourself and your distributer, so you’ll get it right the first time and walk away satisfied.
Do Your Homework
Know before you go. There is plenty of information on lumber out there on the web. You can learn about the different types of wood, what types of wood work for certain projects, and what styles fit your vision. The more homework you do, the more smoothly the lumber purchasing process will go.
Having a focused idea of what you want and need will help your distributor put together the right materials for your project.
Know Your Limits
Many home building projects are fairly straight forward. With the right tools, the right materials and a little bit of know-how, you can build some pretty impressive stuff. If you bite off more than you can chew, however, things can go south quickly. Some projects require professional carpenters and builders. Doing it yourself is both satisfying and cost-effective, but you must be realistic about what you can pull off.
Determining whether you can do it yourself or need to hire a contractor will directly affect your budget, and therefore, your materials.
Sketch it Out
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to home building projects, a sketch could save you a thousand dollars. Bringing a sketch of what your project will look like helps both you and your lumber company hone in on exactly the right materials for your job. This will cut down on trial and error, and help you eliminate waste.
If you’re not an artist, don’t worry. Even a rudimentary sketch can go a long way in communicating what you need.
If you’re trying to match your project to an existing wood type in or around your home, bring a sample to your distributor. They will be able to match up your sample with the correct lumber. If an exact match is not possible, they will recommend a similar wood and stain to match.
Get it Home
You’d be surprised how often people buy large quantities of lumber without considering how they will transport it. Measure the size of your truck’s bed or SUV’s space. Depending on the amount of lumber you purchase, you could conceivably make a few trips to the distributer. For large projects though, it’s best to have your wood delivered to you by the lumber yard.