Choosing the Best Lumber Rack for Your Wood Storage

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A lumber rack for wood storage is often an afterthought.

Wood is expensive. And with most hardwoods at $4-6 board feet just one board can run $25 or more.

And a hardwood storage rack* can be found for around $50.

What makes a lumber rack important? Well consider that:

    • Stored lumber must be perfectly flat to avoid warping
    • Wood can be ruined if it absorbs moisture from concrete
    • Accessible storage let’s you easily find what you own
    • A board saved is the green thing to do and saves you money.

Best lumber storage racks:

ModelRatingKey FeaturesShop Amazon
Bora Portamate
4.7Six shelves, 600 total pound storageCheck Price
4.5Most economical with three shelves and just 17″ of vertical heightCheck Price
Home Master
4.1Great for small spaces or customizing shelves for long lumberCheck Price

Six Level Wood Storage Rack *Editors Choice*

The Bora Portamate features 6 levels of storage and 600 pounds of capacity in a 41″ high rack with 12-1/2″ deep shelves.

For multi-level storage a six level rack will support both large quantities of lumber and separation of multiple species.

A couple of considerations in a rack like this (which I own):

    • At 41″ tall you can buy two and have a floor-to-ceiling rack.
    • For longer boards or to have more center support simply buy two.
    • More shelves enables better distribution of weight and easier access

Bora Portamate PBR-001 with 600 pound capacity for hardwood, dimensional lumber, pipe, ladders, and more. Don't forget lag bolts.

Why a DIY-lumber rack isn't my choice preference

Sure, you can build your own lumber rack.

But why invest the time and materials in something that is readily available in a pre-built, steel offering. Unless you’re a welder, a wooden rack will typically hold less weight and likely rival the cost of a purchased unit.

And by stacking pre-built racks you can customize their height. Or for longer lumber you can simply add more to customize a wall lumber rack.

Can you store plywood in a lumber rack?

While it’s important to store plywood off the floor, the options are fewer on storage. Unless you go with a wheeled steel panel truck like this Little Giant with 1000# capacity*.

Personally, I store my plywood on a couple of 12″ long 2×4’s as my stock is generally low.

How do you keep lumber from warping?

There’s two answers to this, really.

First, for quality hardwood the secret is flat storage in a low humidity environment. Since it should be kiln-dried to prepare the wood for cabinetry and other projects a hardwood will withstand humidity variations well.

But for rough lumber like 2×4’s it’s a little trickier. Keeping this lumber straight involves:

    • Flat storage
    • Use stickers/lathe to allow the wood to evenly air dry
    • Turn the top row of the lumber frequently (and put a 1/4″ sheet of plywood on it)

If using lathe isn’t an option, stack it tight and straight and cover the top. This will prevent the top row from drying faster on the outside surface.

How can you tell if wood is dry?

Either before your wood is stored, or after a period of storage, you may want to know if it’s dried.

While kiln dried wood is generally stable and doesn’t accumulate moisture, if it’s stored in the wrong environment it can wreak havoc with it.

With a wood moisture meter, like the pinless Dr.Meter, you’ll be able to get an accurate read on the moisture content. And you can use these meters while buying hardwood to find the moisture content.

What is a lumber rack?

A lumber rack is a heavy duty storage system for holding large quantities of lumber in an organized rack. Due to the weight of wood a lumber rack is best made from steel and typically fastened securely to a wall with lag bolts.

      The Home Woodworker