Should I Have My Materials Delivered?

From on December 12, 2008 in General Remodel

Lumber Delivery

Building materials are perhaps the most important part of your remodel. They are the building blocks themselves. Nearly every building supply store will offer delivery—usually for free—of these materials to your home when you’re ready to get started. But is it always your best option? Here are some pros and cons:


  • Convenience is an obvious advantage, especially for large projects. Indeed this is often the only option, unless you want to make 20 trips with your pickup truck.
  • Organization. When delivered in large quantities, materials are often sorted and banded together. This can add some organization to your project. Instead of a pile of boards tossed out of a truck, your material will be neatly stacked (most delivery trucks have hydraulic dump beds so they can set your package down neatly, without the need to unload anything by hand).
  • The Big Stuff. Sometimes it’s just not feasible for you to pick materials up yourself. Think long beams, trusses, floor joists, etc. It’s these times that we are all thankful for large delivery trucks.


  • Who’s selecting your studs? Especially for small (pickup sized) loads, it is often best to go to the lumber yard yourself. This way you can handpick what you want. Oftentimes, wood sits in the yard, and weather, for some time, resulting in warped and twisted boards. Suppliers want to sell them just the same and somebody will find them in their stack.*
  • Is there a charge? While many lumber stores will deliver for free, especially large loads, some may want a little extra for their time. You’ll want to know that that fee might be. If you can, why not go get it yourself?
  • It’s a busy day. Keep in mind that lumber yards deliver to contractors the vast majority of the time. Know that you may be subject to their schedule. So either call a few days ahead to schedule a delivery time or hop in your truck.

*One note about substandard lumber: Any good lumber yard will happily take back materials which they’ve delivered that you found to be of poor quality or that turned out to be extra. Just keep your receipt and keep extra lumber in good shape (i.e., out of the weather).

It’s also a good idea to let your remodeling contractor handle all the deliveries. They are usually familiar with the lumber yard and its employees. They rarely get charged, even for the smallest loads, because of the amount of business they bring in. More than that, they can often get special deliveries so that work is not interrupted if you find something missing.