There’s a certain fear of buying something sight unseen. Whether it’s the vintage ceramic rooster you bought off of eBay or in this case material for your next build. Everyone has that fear when ordering lumber online that you’re going to get those warped beyond recognition cast offs. Recently I ordered lumber from a specialty store for a high end project and then construction material from the big box store. Let’s find out how it went!
Big Box Store Beware?
Recently I purchased 2200 lbs. of pressure treated lumber from The Home Depot. That’s not a typo. Over a ton of building materials for the Outdoor Playhouse I’ll be releasing plans for soon (I’ll update once it goes live). The order was so big that they had to deliver it on a flatbed truck and unload it via a forklift. There was also a delivery fee, which, given the size and cost of my order, I’m a little surprised I paid $79 to deliver. But then… it was way more convenient than borrowing a truck and taking multiple trips.
But what about the material? I ordered 2×4’s, 2×6’s, 4×4’s, 6×6’s, 1×6 decking and 3/4″ sheets of exterior plywood. So lots of opportunities for some truly terrible lumber. And guess what? Out of 80 some items ordered… almost every piece was usable lumber. My only complaint had to do with a 2×6 that had a 3 foot split running down the middle. That very well could have popped up in transit. So the success rate was really high on this purchase. I also made this purchase on my own, not as a partner or as an influencer so the results were legit.
Delivery time was 2-4 days, which in my opinion was impressive given the state of things. So am I confident in ordering lumber online from a big box store? You bet!
Specialty Store Selection
A few months ago I built a Mid Century Modern Bar Cart with some exotic and premium lumber. I used African Shedua, Canary Wood and Walnut. Not really a selection my local big box store carries. So I took to the internet and ordered lumber from Woodworkers Source. The big difference with premium lumber is that you’re not ordering an 8 foot 2×4 that’s $3.00 a board. You’re paying by the board foot which can be really confusing for a first timer. Luckily, the website makes the purchase extremely easy and even better, everything you ever wanted to know about the type of wood and what it’s used for is included.
Delivery time was a bit slower, especially because this lumber was being shipped from Woodworkers Source’s store in Arizona. So about a week in transit for standard shipping. But most importantly… what was the wood like? How was the figure? Amazing. The real fear when ordering premium lumber sight unseen is are you missing some of those special features? Or do you want it devoid of character? The Woodworkers Source staff actually is extremely attuned with that in you can request pictures of your lumber ahead of time.
What’s The Verdict?
Surprisingly… I’ve had nothing but good experiences despite my fears of getting the leftovers. There is obviously a convenience cost and a premium for shopping online. We’re not talking Amazon cost savings here for their bulk ordering. Plus, it’s not as personal as picking out each piece of wood. The good news is, the people who have fulfilled my orders seem to know how important quality material is.
So should you order lumber online? I think so. But I’d love to hear about your experiences below in the comment section as well.
I did a pair of large lumber order a few years back for a screened in porch I built. Lumber order was roughly the same size order that you did for the playset, including 8x8s, 2x8s, 2x6s the list went on. I also purchased Treks decking later into the project online but decided to pick up to save on delivery charges. All in all all of my boards were usable and delivery saved me time and energy at the store. For large projects I would completely recommend ordering online as you can shop after you’re done working for the day… Read more »
Thanks Ken! Absolutely agree on the large orders. Plus, if you get a junk piece of lumber, they aren’t going to fight you on it. If you can return a broken rake that’s 10 years old and left in the yard without a receipt a piece of wood they sent… no issue whatsoever. Thanks for sharing!
I use a local lumber yard, Henry Poore. I get better quality pieces than big box stores, cheaper shipping, great service, and pretty much all of the above and more. It helps that the owner has kids at the school I teach at. But at the same time, I know I can confidently order and get 95-100 percentage usable construction lumber. They made building my shed so easy a few years ago. Plus, I don’t have to worry about loading my vehicle and taking so many trips. And to top it all off, supporting a local business! I also have… Read more »
Woodworkers source.com was going to charge $45 shipping on some Baltic birch pieces that I was going to pay $34.99…
Sort of a crazy time right now for lumber and shipping pricing separately. So I’m not surprised.