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Thread: Storing White Oak Flooring Outside?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    149

    Storing White Oak Flooring Outside?

    I'm wrapping up a project for a client who has been sitting on a ton of white oak flooring. It's a pretty cool story actually, the tree fell on her property years ago, she had it milled, dried, stored. I've installed as much as she wanted up a wall, converted it to shelving, and built some furniture. Now the job is nearly done and there is still a ton left. She's decided to give it all to me, and it's enough to fill my promaster low roof up to the ceiling. Normally I keep my wood in the shop, but this would take up far too much space. I do have an outdoor lumber rack, but I typically reserve that for softwoods that go into framing or exterior projects.

    Will this store reasonably outside, in a covered space over winter in Oregon? Or do I really need to consider getting a climate controlled storage space to keep all of this wood in? I'm not especially familiar with the moisture content and consequences of interior, to exterior storage, and then back in the shop for use.

  2. #2
    I’m assuming you’re talking about tongue and groove flooring? If so, I would say if you expect it to remain flat and not twist / bow / cup / etc then I would not store it outside. Rough lumber that you can further mill and flatten is one thing and totally fine to store outside if you do it properly. I think if you are expecting the material to stay flat and not expect to further process it and potentially have to loose the tongue and groove and current thickness / width then you will be disappointed. I wouldn’t store it outside.
    Still waters run deep.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    149
    Correct, it's all T&G.

    I don't intend to keep it as T&G though. I'll have to remill it and will use it for other projects. But, thanks for confirming my fear that leaving it outside will result in less than favorable results.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    772
    If you can tightly wrap it in plastic to keep the air from it.. you could store it outside.. the important thing is to make sure it is tightly wrapped so moisture cannot get in or get out of it...

    Manufacturers do this all the time... just wrap it tight...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    7,899
    Ed's right; if you can wrap and seal it in plastic it will be fine.

    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Peoria, IL
    Posts
    2,686
    I thought Portland never had a dry season. I would definitely not store it outside. Both temperature and humidity make a difference in the stability of wood.

  7. #7
    Dead stacking and sealing in plastic will work to a degree, depending on the effectiveness of the sealing technique and the plastic film's permeability. Sooner or later the lumber will equilibrate with its storage conditions, the center of the stack taking longer. I have wrapped bundles in 6 mil poly film and attempted to seal the wrap up in packing tape. In 6 months the mc matched the unwrapped lumber on adjacent shelves. If you could get a heat-sealed envelope like boat wraps it would work better. The surest way to keep your flooring as dry as you want it is to store it in conditioned space, which could be as simple as an insulated box with a minimal heat source and a roof. Otherwise, plan on acclimating it after extended outdoor storage.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    1,017
    I think you should sell it now for market rates and bank the proceeds into a jar . Then, when you need some oak for a project you go to the jar. This will almost certainly net you the most value.

    Otherwise your free windfall may end up costing you money after you figure in all your wasted time on handling ,wrapping, culling, re milling and throwing away the unusable stuff.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,065
    Agree with Dave, sell it now. Then your future projects will not be constrained to what you can mill out of this hoard.

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