I'm thinking of building some shelves and cabinets in
a few areas of my house. I've bought lots of wood from
HD/Lowe's over the years but it's just been plywood
and 2x4s. Do they sell decent sheet lumber there too?
Or do I really need to visit a local lumber co.?
To reply, myname (in e-mail address) is dougappleyard
Depends on which store, and sometimes which day or week you go there.
Sometimes, it's good, and sometimes, it's crap. It's highly variable.
You will find good quality sheet goods more consistently at a real lumber
yard. The Borg sells whatever they can make the most profit on that particular
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss
<< Or do I really need to visit a local lumber co. >>
A qualified, yes. The more highly graded lumber products can be ordered by your
local lumber yard. Caveats apply, like a decent sized order, not a single 8' 2
x 4. Make sure the , standards you set for your project really need the better
stuff, then order it. Prepare be amazed at the difference in quality between
the box store run of the mill #3 mystery wood and #2 or better Western fir or
Ponderosa pine for example. In some cases the better wood can save you a lot of
time labor wise on a project, so consider that before getting too concerned
about the price. HTH
That's almost a day-by-day thing with the HD/Lowes of the world. :)
Best way to answer your question -- do a comparison. Go to the HD/Lowes in
your area and take a look at their lumber and pricing, then go to a lumber
yard or two. Lumber yards will consistently produce better lumber -- it is,
after all, what they're in business to do of course -- and you may be
surprised that the prices are higher but not exorbitantly so.
When did our bedroom a few years back, we ordered the lumber for the
subfloor, underlayment, and walls from a lumber yard -- got it sight unseen
at that. Wasn't a single bad board in the lot. Try to find that at HD or
The replies in this thread sound like the usual from lumber yard
employees and contractors trying desperately to stop them (the local
lumber yards) going out of business.
The scene is the local lumber yard:
"You want to see the wood before you buy it?" [Grunt rolls on the
"You're only buying $50 worth? Get out and stop breathing my expensive
"You're a retail customer? Step aside so I can serve this contractor
who arrived after you."
"OK, I've paid for my wood, where do I pick it up?" [Grunt gestures in
the vague direction of a sign saying something like "Keep out, our
insurance won't allow you in the storage area."]
You finally find the "yard man" who just happens to be driving a fork
lift at the time and who looks at your receipt and you with the
contempt you reserve for doggie-doo. He doesn't say anything, just
keeps driving his fork lift unloading pallets from a truck or even
worse loading up the truck of that contractor who arrived after you.
Eventually he deigns to take you to the pile of whatever you're buying
and tosses the top 10 onto the fork lift which he dumps beside the
entrance for you to struggle with loading onto your roof rack (don't
dare ask for some twine!). Oh, and don't complain that 50% of that top
10 are firewood. I did that once and was told by the owner that THEY
choose what I get and if I don't like it I can go elsewhere. Oh yeah
and don't forget their great return policy: you can't!
All of this for about 50% more than HD. Aren't you lucky!
True, if you want to buy cocobola or teak or Honduras mahogany or even
one-inch marine grade plywood, HD is not the place to go, but then
you're shopping at a specialty wood store and you'll probably be
treated well as you're just as good as any contractor (he doesn't buy
more than you).
The only reason to go to these small businessmen is to laugh at their
anachronistic ways and thank the Lord for HD, Lowe's etc.
Just like the Borgs, the lumber yards are different around the world.
I'm neither a lumber yard employee or a contractor, but you're right--
I'll feel awful when/if either one of my 2 remaining lumber yards go
out of business.
No problem at one - the other will let you if you're persistent. But
since they both sell 'common' lumber that is better quality than the
Borg's [I have a Lowes & 2 HD's] select lumber, I rarely bother unless
I'm looking for 'the perfect knot in the right place' sort of board.
Or rather- "We're out of 6 footers-- I'll cut a 12 down for you"
Never had that happen in 20 years at either place.
One of my lumber yards just built this incredible covered warehouse
that you drive through -- the guy at the counter tells you where your
'first stop' will be-- you drive in and stop there. I've made several
trips there now & I have only managed to load one piece of my stuff
before a yard guy shows up to help load.
No problem picking-- but they do get upset if you mess up their pile.
And for lumber, both places are cheaper - and far better quality on
most lumber. The give-away matchsticks that the Borg calls 'economy'
aren't available at the lumber yard, but I've only gone that route
once & I'll never do it again.
Sad for you that you don't have a decent lumber yard in your area.
If you ever get in the vicinity of Schenectady, NY - try Friend's
Lumber, Bellevue Builders, and then take a ride up to Curtis Lumber.
The Borgs sell 'other stuff' cheaper-- but when it comes to lumber in
this part of the world, the lumber yards rule.
[OTOH- the 100+ year old Hardware store downtown that was part
hardware store/part museum; had anything you wanted, including
knowledgeable clerks- died a few years ago. The owner, gr-grandson of
the founder, went to work for one of the Borgs.]
I don't know where you've been shopping but I've never once seen
anything remotely like it at the local lumberyards. The employees are
always helpful and friendly and don't have a problem with you driving
out into the yard to pick out your own lumber. And the prices are
always MUCH cheaper than HD, with wood, even the crappy firewood,
that's much better quality.
You need to find yourself a better place to shop.
On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 23:07:02 GMT, Brian Henderson wrote:
Agreed, The lumber at the local yards is higher quality, cheaper
they will load it for you, no pushing heavy carts to a check out,
it is drier. Home Depot does not have the cheapest prices on many
On Fri, 09 Jan 2004 23:07:02 GMT, Brian Henderson wrote:
I have to agree with that. I regularly use two different lumber yards, one in
NJ and one in Massachusetts, and the guys out in the yard couldn't be more
helpful. I've picked through a whole pallet of 2x4s when I just needed 16 of
them. I put everything back, of course, but one the men came over and helped me
pick out the studs and then put the pile back together and he did it with a
If it's cheaper at the Borg, you are getting what you pay for.
That's been my experience at the local lumber yard as well. A few
years ago when I bought fencing material, we were allowed to select
our own posts and cedar fencing from a huge selection. Most of what
we rejected was for cosmetic reasons; there really was very little
twisted or bad lumber in the stack. Additionally, I got a break on
price because I bought over a certain quantity. Not a bad deal all
Lauri in WA
I like my email spamless
I think you got it right for most of them. There's one yard near me
that keeps everything under cover, quality is always great. The other
yards keep half their stock outside where it gets rained on and
baked and looks like it.
The quality at Depot sucks too but if you don't mind spending a half
hour finding the 10% good stock, you can get some quality wood.
The best bet is to find a mill near you that sells retail and buy
Wow, Patrick, I've been to that same lumberyard! *ROFL*
I was happy happy to see Home Depot move in a few years back. Most of
those old yards are closed. The two that GAVE SERVICE are still open
and doing fairly well. They're a lot farther away but if the job is
big enough, I certainly will phone to check it out.
They still do keep the lumber a secret though. I dislike that a lot. I
wouold prefer to walk around and LOOK at the lumber and choose what I
want to buy.
When I order from Home Depot, I can literally pull each piece and
refuse some. There is no headache at all about returns. I once saw a
contractor return a truckload due to wrong grading. The manager stayed
smiling the whole time, apologized for getting it wrong. They will
deliver right to your door if the order is big enough (and the limit's
not very high, like $200 on some orders). Baltic birch came with
packing on the corners so it was in better condition than any I *ever*
got from those old lumber yards.
Home Depot is a formidable competitor in service, not just price. Even
when their price is similar, they often give better service, are
closer, friendlier, have more to offer by way of associated purchases
so you don't have to drive all over town with a half ton of lumber in
the back. They will special order hardware too. Look for the HD
nearest you with a Special Order desk. I don't think they all have
them yet. Phone, ask. Life's too short, shop with the friendly ones -
lumber yard or Big Box, it's the people who matter.
[No connection with HD, just a customer.]
Sounds like you need to find a new lumber yard. Then again, perhaps you
have been assimilated by the Borgs -- I hear resistance is futile. :)
The lumber yards here have decent enough fellows working them. They're
definitely going to give a contractor a little more attention -- those are
their regular customers and they typically know them by name -- but I've
never been pointedly ignored in favor of one. For that matter, I've also
not gone to a lumber yard to buy $50 worth of lumber. Last project I did
that I used the lumber yard came up to about 800 bucks. When I just need a
few boards, then I'll likely hit an HD/Lowes simply for convenience
(besides, those kinds of projects usually do not require the higher quality
of lumber I need for walls and floors either).
The local lumber company for me is a hardwood lumber yard, they sell
fine wood for furniture.
Once you start using some real decent ply, you won't go back. Unless
your just throwing together some cheap furniture for the lowest $$, your
labor should exceed the material cost.
Yeah, a sheet of 3/4" ply costs $70-120, but that is A-1 furniture grade
veneer core ply, which works like real wood.
If your doing this, because you enjoy it, then it is worth it to
yourself to get good materials, so your not working around the
limitations of cheap stuff. Instead of working to make the finish look
"decent", now the stuff looks "wonderful".
Would you all send some of your polite, friendly,
service-minded Home Depot employees up our way.
(Beautiful or not, we're desparate!) Here in the
New York metro area, in order to get both the
space and approvals, HD must do the "politician's
dance" and hire local talent. A friend of mine
applied and did their test in 15 minutes; the
Ass't Manager supervising the testing for this new
HD said several of the applicants were still
working on that test after 3 hours. My friend
didn't get hired.
It also gets me really angry when they build a HD
here with 26 checkout lines, and at peak times
have no more than 6 open. It can take nearly an
hour to check out.
Check out the Special Order desk at Home Depot. You might be shocked
how well they can deliver very good wood, very quickly, at discounts
that matter. Lumber isn't a really high margin product line but
there's still plenty of room when you're a buyer as large as Home
Ask. It can't hurt. Lumber yards are not equal in every location.
Sometimes they are the better buy, sometimes they are not. Do not
dismiss Home Depot without checking. Also check online dealers. Steve
Wall Lumber has many bargains all year long. They aren't the only wood
dealers online either.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.