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Construction Material Transportation: What You Need to Know

July 21, 2020
 By rltruckseo
Construction Material Transportation: What You Need to Know
Last Modified: March 8, 2023
Shipping construction materials to your next jobsite is easy with the right partner on your side. See how Heavy Haul and Oversized can move materials and more.

Shipping construction materials involves a lot of careful planning. To get all the materials delivered to the construction site on-time, you often need to coordinate multiple different shipments from different places, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted partner like Heavy Haul and Oversized to make sure everything gets done right. You won’t have to stress about coordinating the delivery of multiple different shipments because we can do that for you. 

Shipping construction materials requires having a knowledgeable shipping partner on your side. These materials are often large, heavy, or oddly shaped, making them difficult to transport. If you don’t work with a team that knows what they’re doing, you could end up taking some serious losses. 

Transporting Doors and Doorframes

Doors and doorframes are generally too large to fit on a standard pickup truck, especially if you have multiple doors you need to ship. Large construction projects often require dozens or even hundreds of doors. However, the methods of shipping are a little different depending on how many you need to ship. 

If you just have a few doors to ship, you will likely need a box truck to fit everything inside. If you work with a 3PL, that part will be handled for you. Doors, like other kinds of flat slabs, should never be shipped while laying flat. Instead, they should be strapped to an A-frame that would hold them up on their edges. Doors are a lot less susceptible to damage when shipped upright like this, and an A-frame can be provided for you if you don’t have one available. In addition to that, box trucks also have a larger capacity to easily fit doorframes in as well. 

If you have multiple doors to ship, you could still use a box truck, but you may end up needing a full freight truck to hold everything depending on the size of your load. In this case, each door should be wrapped securely in a padded blanket. This is optional, but it significantly limits the amount of damage that could happen to your freight. Then, the doors are loaded up onto the truck on their long edge, so the doors sit vertically on their sides. 

The doors are loaded from wall to wall, with no room to wiggle around between them. If the doors are able to shuffle or rattle around, then they may damage each other. If there is any extra space between the doors, it should be filled in with some kind of packing material to ensure the doors won’t move. That material can be fabric, paper, foam, or anything else you have, as long as it will fill the space between the doors. 

Under no circumstances should you ever stack a second layer of doors in the truck. You can, however, place any doorframes you have to ship on top of the doors, as long as you place a cover between them and the doors, and they are secured and not going to move around or hit things while the truck is in motion. 

A roofer working on a roof

Shipping Roofing Tiles and Shingles

If you need to ship roofing tiles and shingles, you’ll be relieved to learn that it’s not a complicated process. The difficulty lies in packaging the tiles correctly, then they can just be shipped like any other type of freight. 

First, you’re going to need to box the shingles. You, or the person packing your shipment, should pick a sturdy box to lay the tiles in, and they should reach the edges of the box on all sides while positioned edge to edge. Once you have one layer of shingles in the box, lay a piece of paper on top to start the next layer. This provides some cushion between the shingles and reduces the likelihood of them damaging each other. Do this until the box is full, then securely tape it up. Do this with many more boxes until all your shingles are boxed. 

The next step is to palletize the boxes of shingles. This process is similar to packing the boxes with the shingles. Stack the boxes in layers on the pallet, with thick plastic or fiberboard sheets between the layers to keep the stack secure. Then, once it is between 5 and 6 feet tall, wrap the whole thing in stretch wrap a minimum of 5 times. Then, the carrier will simply pick up the load and deliver it to the construction site for you. 

Paving equipment is considered a construction material as well. Check out our article to learn how to ship these heavy slabs and machinery.

How to Transport Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a popular exterior for homes, but there’s a hidden danger involved in shipping it. 

For the most part, vinyl siding is durable and easy to load into the back of a freight truck and transport it just about anywhere. However, if all the factors are just right, you could end up with a mess on your hands. Vinyl siding has a melting point of about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. That might sound like it’s not an issue, but there are times it can be problematic for shippers. If you’re shipping vinyl siding a long distance in the summertime in the South, then the temperatures inside a metal freight truck can actually get hot enough to melt the vinyl.

An experienced shipping expert will know how to prevent this, however. Much of the heat that builds up inside a freight truck is due to the sun, so placing a reflective tarp on the top of the truck can deflect a lot of the heat that would otherwise get absorbed by the metal. Carriers can also drive later in the day or at night to avoid daytime temperatures that could damage the vinyl siding. 

How to Transport Solar Panels

Solar panels are fragile and liable to crack under pressure. Even too much vibration during shipping can cause microcracks to develop. So how do you protect these delicate behemoths from getting damaged during transportation?

Although it may be tempting to package solar panels in cardboard boxes, and even palletize smaller boxes together, you should not package them this way. Solar panels are extremely sensitive to pressure, so you should package them in well-padded, sturdy wooden crates. It is more expensive, but it is an investment in protecting the fragile panels. 

If possible, try to select a wooden crate that has pallet holes at the bottom to allow it to be moved by forklift. If not, you can simply attach it to a pallet with durable nylon straps. Solar panels should only be shipped by themselves or other solar panels. You should never consolidate them with other shipments or other types of freight since this could put your solar panels at an increased risk of damage. 

How to Transport Fencing

In order to transport fencing, the main things you need to be aware of is the moisture level of the wood and the weather outside. The reason for this is that wood is highly susceptible to water damage, and even a humid environment can foster rot and mold growth. 

Ensure that the fence being transported hasn’t gotten wet prior to shipping, and that the wood is not inherently high in moisture. It should be dried and treated to prevent mildew and other moisture problems before it is shipped. 

If you are shipping fence panels, then attach them to each other in batches. You can do this with stretch wrap, but avoid using metal wires as that can scratch the wood. Once several panels are attached to each other, they can be loaded onto the freight truck vertically—similar to how doors are transported. Round fence posts are typically boxed in large crates to keep them together.

For shipping chain link fence or mesh, it is best to roll the fence into a coil and secure it together so it does not come unraveled. It should then be boxed in cardboard or kept away from the wood so that neither part can damage the other on the truck. 

transporting lumber

How to Transport Decks

As you know from shipping fencing, the most important part about shipping wood is keeping the moisture in the truck as low as possible. This is true for wooden deck boards too. Too much moisture or humidity can cause the boards to bow or twist, which renders them unusable on a construction site. In addition to that, they might also mold or rot along the way.

To transport wooden boards for a deck, you need to make sure the wood is treated and dry before you ship it out. As with other types of wooden freight, the driver may opt to wait for clear weather to drive, in order to protect the quality of the wood. 

Another way of keeping the boards straight is to strap them together in stacks with nylon straps. This holds the boards rigid against each other, discouraging any kind of distortion. However, you need to make sure the straps are not too tight, since that could cause damage and unsightly dents to the wood. Once the wooden boards are strapped together, you can give them another layer of protection by wrapping them in a plastic sheet or stretch wrapping.

Other parts of the deck, such as metal balusters, screws, and handrails, are boxed and palletized to make transporting them easier. 

Shipping Stair Railing

Stair railings can be difficult to ship depending on the length of the stairs they will be used for. Because these rails are often assembled in one large piece, they must be shipped as one piece too. For smaller stair rails, a box truck might be all that is required, but they might have to go in diagonally in order to fit all the way, and that could seriously limit the other materials you can fit on the truck around it. To fit the rails in a truck along with any other construction materials you may need, a full 53-foot freight truck is going to be your best bet. 

To prepare stair rails for shipping, they should be meticulously wrapped in plastic packaging or stretch wrapping to ensure they don’t get scuffed during the trip. This plastic also protects the rails from moisture, which as you know, can be a problem when shipping wooden materials. 

Transporting Wall Moulding and Trim

Baseboards, moulding, and wall trim can sometimes reach lengths of 12 or even 16 feet long, and like stair rails, they must be shipped whole. You run into a lot of the same problems shipping this as you would with stair railing, so the strategy is the same. 

However, unlike stair rails, wall moulding and trim is easily damaged. The wood itself is susceptible to moisture damage, but if the boards are being shipped painted, then the paint could chip, dent, flake, or peel if it isn’t protected properly. They should be handled with care, and if possible, they should be wrapped in paper or stretch wrap to keep them safe. This is especially important if you are shipping the wall moulding with other construction materials. 

How to Transport Home Insulation

There are several different types of insulation that can be used to insulate a house, but fiberglass is one of the most popular choices. However, one of the dangers of fiberglass is the potential for tiny fibers to become airborne, where they can be swallowed or breathed in by shippers, truck drivers, or construction site workers. Because of this, it is extremely important to package it correctly before it leaves the manufacturing plant, to protect the health and safety of those who will be working with it. Of course, it poses no danger to homeowners once it has been installed. 

First and foremost, the sheets of fiberglass insulation should be rolled up in manageable-sized rolls. The most common sizes for rolls of insulation are 16 feet and 24 feet. Then, it must be packaged in plastic wrap or a large plastic bag, to contain all the fibers and prevent them from becoming airborne. 

Once it has been bagged, a roll of fiberglass insulation should be boxed in a durable cardboard box, and all the seams should be securely taped over. Then, it should be able to get loaded up onto the truck without posing any danger to the carrier team. 

loading roof trusses

How to Transport Drywall and Ceilings

Drywall is notoriously brittle and easy to break if it is handled improperly. If you just need to transport a few pieces, shipping them on an A-frame like doors is a viable option. However, construction projects usually require many more panels to completely cover the walls and ceiling of a new home. 

Another option is to palletize the drywall panels, but you wouldn’t go about doing this the traditional way. As you know, when laid flat, drywall is longer than a standard pallet. Even with a wide pallet, the drywall may hand over the sides of the pallet—and that’s okay. You can simply stack the panels on the pallet, roughly 50 panels high, and tether them down with nylon straps. If you’re worried about moisture, you can also cover the pallet with plastic stretch wrap or a plastic tarp to keep them dry.  

If you want to ensure your drywall panels stay intact, you should consider adding a layer of cardboard or fiberboard between each panel to help absorb shock from bumps in the road. This will greatly reduce the risk of cracks developing, but it may make it so you have to put fewer panels on a pallet. 

Shipping Construction Materials with Heavy Haul and Oversized

Shipping construction materials involves a lot of careful planning, and oftentimes specialized carriers to deliver them to the construction site. Having your building materials arrive on time is important, but trying to orchestrate everything yourself can be an enormous hassle. That’s what makes working with Heavy Haul and Oversized such a popular choice among shippers! We can get construction materials and supplies delivered on-time, every time. In fact, we even have experience transporting construction equipment like tractors and excavators!

Shipping for the construction industry isn’t the only thing we do, however. If you need help shipping lemons or shipping Georgia red clay, or anything else, we’ve got you covered. We have experience shipping freight of all kinds, and our network of carriers has access to a range of different truck types to offer you the best option for your shipment.

In addition to that versatility, we also have: 

  • Multilingual specialists to communicate with any shipper
  • A customer service team available 24/7 to hear your concerns the moment a problem arises
  • The financial stability to protect your shipment, invest in the best equipment, and offer the best service possible
  • A 99.5% on-time delivery record, and the dedication to uphold that record
  • A commitment to serving any customer to the best of our ability, regardless of any and all factors involved with the shipment

We know shipping construction materials can be a hassle, so we make it easy for you. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call at (855) 490-2433 or fill out our online quote form to request a freight quote today.

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