As a retail store owner, your reputation is going to be made based on several factors. First and foremost will be customer service and price competitiveness. With that said, you can't afford to overlook the importance of making sure that the products and materials you sell are of the finest quality possible.
Sometimes, the way you treat your plywood inventory will affect the quality of that inventory. It doesn't apply so much to things that are safely sealed in containers and or wrappings. Where you might have quality exposure issues is with the storage of raw materials that don't come sealed.
One such item would be plywood. Depending on how and where you store your plywood inventory, the quality of it could be adversely affected. It matters because the quality of your plywood will directly affect the sell-ability of your entire inventory, as well as your reputation. With that in mind, we would like to offer you some information on how to properly store your plywood inventory (indoors or outdoors) in a way that will ensure it maintains an acceptable level of quality.
Note: This information would also apply to developers and homebuilders that choose to maintain large inventories of lumber.
How to Maintain the Quality of your Plywood Inventory
If you are storing your plywood indoors, there isn't a lot to worry about in terms of maintaining the plywood's quality. As long as the area is properly air-conditioned, you would do very well to make sure the materials are stacked nicely on a flat surface to avoid warping. The issue you might have with an indoor storage solution is the amount it might cost your business because of the large area you would need to provide.
If your store is currently purchasing truck loads of lumber Silvaris can help you lower your costs.
It's when you plan on using some type of outdoor storage solution that you are going to have several important factors to consider. Remember, the enemy of your plywood inventory is going to be exposure to the elements and pests. There are steps you can take to control pests in your outdoor storage area. What you can't easily control for is frequent changes in temperature, humidity, exposure to moisture, and exposure to sunlight.
In an effort to keep things as simple and affordable for you as possible, here are five things you can do to keep your plywood's quality at the highest level possible during storage.
1. Store It on Flat Sturdy Surfaces
The last thing you want your plywood boards to do is to start bowing, twisting, and or warping. In order to prevent these things from happening, you need to store your plywood materials on a flat and sturdy surface. If possible, you would want to make sure that the length and width of the surface are adequate enough to make sure no portions are hanging over the sides.
As far as sturdiness, the surface has to be able to fully support the weight of however much inventory you might store on each shelf or platform. If there is any give in the surface at all, it might be reflected in the shape of the plywood when pulled off the rack.
2. Roofing Highly Preferred
If at all possible, put your plywood inventory underneath some type of roofing. This is a highly preferred option because constant exposure to the elements (sunlight and precipitation) can cause the lumber to expand under the sunlight and contract as things cool off at night. You also want to avoid as much precipitation as possible to help avoid the formation of mold and mildew.
3. Keep Materials Elevated
If you are storing plywood outside, you need to keep it elevated at least 6 to 12 inches off the ground. This is necessary in order to avoid the bottom pieces of plywood coming in contact with moisture from the ground be it rain or water from other sources. The additional use of elevation at each level will also help to make sure there is enough airflow between the stacks. This helps with the evaporation of any moisture that might be present in the area.
By the way, the elevation of plywood also makes it easier to retrieve pieces when customers are making their selections.
4. Make Sure of Proper Airflow Between Boards and Stacks
Speaking of airflow, there needs to be proper airflow between boards and stacks to ensure there is a minimal buildup of condensation and moisture. As a rule of thumb, mold and mildew will grow whenever wood moisture levels reach a 20% ratio or higher. You can control for that by making sure all stored plywood is getting adequate airflow on a constant basis. Remember, any mold or mildew that forms on one piece of plywood is subject to spreading to other pieces that might come in contact with the contaminated piece.
Suggestion: As you are stacking plywood, you might want to consider using spacers between each layer. That would help to ensure that every piece is getting airflow underneath as well as on top.
5. Provide Proper Clearance Under Tarps
If you can't provide some type of roofing, you might have to resort to protecting your inventory from the elements by keeping it covered with some type of covering. If you go in this direction, there are a couple of guidelines you would want to follow. First, you would want to loosely cover the inventory with a non-porous material like plastic or tarp. This will protect it from rain and dust.
Second and at the same time, you need to avoid condensation by making sure there is adequate airflow under the covering. Again, you can help create some airflow under a covering if you use spacers to keep the covering from laying directly on the plywood.
Note: If your plywood inventory has been treated with preservatives, you will have more latitude in how you store it outdoors. However, you should still protect it as best you can because, at the end of the day, you want to get the highest prices possible when making sales.
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