5 ways to minimize cost and waste when it comes to DIY projects

Published: April 24, 2019

a-carpenter-at-work-outside-with-plans Photo by Cryptographer/Shutterstock

When considering a project, try to keep in mind best-use of materials to both minimize cost and waste. Here are some suggestions.

1. Building a shed? 8 X 12 is an optimum layout. Not only does this configuration generally not require a permit, it is also perfect for rim and floor joists lengths and floor surface (i.e. 3 full sheets of plywood).

2. Want a cedar deck? Look to pressure treated lumber for the substructure. The new Sienna Micro Pro is rather attractive on its own and will save you a bundle.

3. Like board and batten? A cheaper and faster alternative is to sheathe the walls with 3/8” or ½” plywood and nail 1 X 2 or 1 X 3 strips over the studs. The appearance of b&b without the hassle.

4. Building stairs? To save on a costly layout mistake (2 X 10 or 2 X 12 stringers are not cheap), rip a piece of plywood sheathing to the width of your stringers, layout the cuts and then position the model to see if it works. If so, use this as a pattern for the stringer(s). Also, check out my YouTube video.

5. Need a Woodshed? Use 1 X 6 for the siding and space the boards about 1.5” apart (for a little architectural appeal, run the boards diagonally). Reduces overall cost and increases air flow to the wood. Likewise, leave a 1” gap for the floor boards. The front can be open—simple bracing eliminates racking—with a drop down tarp for winter protection.

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