How to Store Excess Materials From Your DIY Home Remodeling Project

How to Store Excess Materials From Your DIY Home Remodeling Project
by Kevyn Pitts - January 28, 2022

Homeowners, landlords, and house flippers sometimes take the task of home remodeling into their own hands instead of hiring a contractor. 

DIYers often find themselves with excess materials after each project. With no knowledge on how to properly store leftover building materials, you may be inclined to throw everything away. 

However, keeping leftover materials that can still be used is a great way to reduce the cost of your next renovation project.

Here are some ways that you can keep leftover materials and extend their shelf life with proper storage.

Lumber

You should keep lumber away from moisture to lessen the likelihood of warping or bending.

Warping happens when some parts of a wooden beam absorb more moisture than the other parts of it. This causes the wetter parts to expand and deforms the lumber when it dries out.

The best way to prevent moisture from getting in contact with your lumber is to keep them off the ground by using cured wooden beams as a base when you stack your lumber in storage. This will protect the lumber from soil moisture and let the air circulate around the stack.

You also need to make sure that each layer will have enough of a gap between them so air can flow between the wooden beams in the pile. You can insert smaller strips of cured beams between every layer to create a gap.

You can, then, cover it with a waterproof tarp for further protection. 

Placing bricks over the stack will put even pressure on the beams below. This will help in spreading any moisture that may have entered over the whole body of the beams, preventing any part from warping.

Bricks

Bricks are not sensitive to moisture in the air, unlike lumber. However, having bricks sit in puddles of water will cause them to deteriorate over time.

Keep bricks elevated to avoid any water that may accumulate on the ground. 

If you'll be storing your bricks in an open area, it's best to cover them with a tarp to protect them from rainwater.

Do not stack them higher than five layers too as they may topple over and break.

Roof Shingles

Roof shingles are made to be durable against different kinds of weather. However, they are still susceptible to scratching and cracking if they topple when in storage.

Excess roof shingles should be put back in the box that they came with to protect them from scratching.

Wrapping them in bubble wrap should also weaken the impact in case they fall over and minimize the chance of breaking. 

It's also worth remembering that asphalt roof shingles should be stored in a place with a temperature no more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will make them weaker and more prone to cracking.

Tiles

Tiles are durable against water because of their non-porous nature. However, they are also brittle and break easily.

You therefore shouldn't store them in piles more than three tiles high to reduce the chances of them toppling over and breaking.

It's a good idea too to put them back in their boxes and wrap them in bubble wrap just like with roof shingles to further protect them from breaking and cracking.

Cement

Cement must be kept away from moisture at all times. Moisture will cause cement to harden and become unusable on your future projects.

It's best to keep cement indoors to protect it from the weather. 

Make sure that cement is not kept in the same room as unsealed pots of paint and primer as their fumes can cause cement to deteriorate.

Raise the bags of cement off of the ground and keep them away from walls and ceiling to make sure that the moisture that these surfaces may generate due to humidity won't come in contact with the cement.

You should also shroud your pile with a tarp to shield them from possible roof leakage.

It’s important to note that a cement’s quality degrades the longer it is kept in storage. 

Cement that is stored for more than 3 months should not be used in any project as its strength has already been reduced by 30%.

Paints and Primers

Paints and primers must be kept in a cool place as prolonged exposure to air and excessive heat will dry them out.

The ideal temperature for paints and primers is between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are some methods in storing them properly for longevity:

1. Transfer them to smaller containers - Instead of keeping paint and primers in the large bucket that they came in, it's worth transferring them to smaller containers where there will be less area for air to occupy and come into direct contact with the liquids.

2. Use plastic wrap - You can also cover the rim with a plastic wrap before closing the lid. This reduces the amount of air that can enter the container.

3. Store the container upside down - The paint or the primer inside a container will create an airtight seal if you store the container upside down. Just make sure that the lid is properly closed or the liquid will leak out. You can do this by hammering the lid down with a rubber mallet instead of a metal hammer to reduce the possibility of creating an indent.

Glues

Glues dry out with too much heat and air, and freeze over with extreme cold.

You should, therefore, make sure that glue containers are tightly sealed every after use.

You should also keep them in a fridge or a storage unit where the temperature is regulated so they won’t freeze during the cold months.

Although frozen glue can be thawed and used afterward, it is still better to prevent them from freezing as they can only handle 5 cycles of freezing and thawing.

If you're using a glue gun, the excess glue stick can be packed inside a sealed plastic with rice or silica gel to remove moisture from the bag.

Conclusion

It can be tempting to throw out leftover materials after a home renovation project. However, it is always worth checking which ones can be thrown out and which ones can be recycled for other projects. Doing so will not only save you money in the future but also reduce the junk that may end up in landfills.

This article was contributed by Volodymyr Barabakh from Structural Beam.

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