I've drawn plans for a stick-built workshop and interested in knowing how
much to allow for material waste. (Percentage ?) and is it broken down by
type of material, such as 2x4's, plywood, shingles, sheathing, etc.
Depends on the plans and dimensions. If it can be sheathed in full 8'
sheets of plywood, say 24', there is less waste than if it is 23' or 25'.
Shingles can be returned so there is no more than part of one bundle in
waste. Any extra 2 x 4's will eventually be use for something down the
Two years ago they didn't care about waste, they were ordering about
25% more than they needed of everything and throwing away anything
left over. Time was money.
I built a 10x16 shed, remodeled a kitchen and put an addition on my
house and more than half the stuff came out of a dumpster.
I bet these days they are digging in the dumpster themselves for a
little board if they need one.
I would say to plan as close as you can rounding up on the high side
and then order several extra 2x4s and a couple extra sheets of
plywood. HD/Lowes are really pretty good about taking things back if
you really guess wrong. It is better to go back with extra stuff when
you are done than to be in the middle of something with people
standing around and run out.
"waste" can come for a couple of different sources....
design errors, construction errors, bad material.
so it depends on how good each of these categories is
when I was building laboratory specimens (8' shear walls; 8', 12, 16'
long) we had no design errors because the design was so simple
depending on the skill & experience of the crew we had the occasional
const error but again we were building simple repetitive stuff
The bulk of our waste came from "un-usable" material.....by the time
we stickered & dried a unit of 2x4's, we usually had a number of
Since we wanted our test specimens to be pretty decent we ordered
about 10 to 15% extra on 2x4's
but if you're building with green lumber you can get it all nailed
together and it will stay straighter when it dries out.
As Ed mentioned, on plywood you should be able to get really close
depending on how the design matches up with sheet sizes. Plywood,
being a manufactured product should have zero un-usable sheets.
You've got to evaluate your process & determine how many mistakes you
Nowadays with expensive gas, expensive labor, running to store doesn't
make sense... imo better to overbuy and avoid the extra trips, then
return unused stuff when you're all done.
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