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How to get plywood home without a truck

Planning your next woodworking project and don’t know how to get the plywood home without a truck? Here’s a few options for how to do it!

Recently, my best friend texted me and asked how I get my plywood home since I don’t have a truck. I was confused because he had just done a big set of built ins in his home and I thought he’d done this before.

He told me that since he ordered a large load, he had them delivered and had never had to just bring home one sheet of plywood before.

It got me thinking- most people don’t have trucks, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to do a building project.

So, I’ve put together a list of ways to transport plywood home from the home improvement store if you don’t have a truck!

How to transport plywood without a truck - Charleston Crafted

How to transport plywood home

You don’t have to have a truck to transport plywood home for your next project. There’s a lot of great options for what you can do to get it home.

Make sure you read through these safety precautions first, then figure out which option is best for you!

Lumber strapped to roof of car

Safety considerations transporting plywood

No matter how you are getting plywood home (even if you have a truck), be careful when carrying it. Plywood sheets are big and bulky and can be really heavy (hello 3/4″ oak plywood).

When available, you should really use two people to carry a sheet of plywood and to load it on your car.

The easiest way to physically carry a sheet of plywood alone is with a panel carrier. We have a Kreg Panel Carrier in the car and a random brand one in our workshop.

A plywood panel carrier grips onto the sheet of plywood and allows you to lift up on the handle to carry it instead of trying to reach around the huge sheet. It immediately makes the plywood possible to carry.

How to use Kreg Panel Carrier to carry plywood

Strap plywood to roof rack

The option we choose for transporting plywood home without a truck is strapping it to our roof rack.

We own a Honda Pilot and we added a set of after-market roof rails on top because we knew we would be needing to transport things on top.

For years, we only used bungee cords to secure plywood to the roof rails, but that really wasn’t totally secure.

When transporting plywood on your roof rack, we recommend having a good set of ratchet straps to make sure your plywood and other lumber is completely tight on your ride home. Run the straps over the plywood and hook them on either side around the roof rails and then tighten down.

Strapping plywood to the roof

Lay down seats in the car

If your car is wide enough, you can also lay down the seats in your car to transport plywood or other lumber home from the store.

This works best if you can get your seats to lay down completely flat, but you can work around that depending on your vehicle. You may have to put your plywood in at an angle or even have to tie down the trunk since it probably won’t close, but it’s possible to get it home this way.

Have plywood cut down in store

Did you know that you can have plywood cut down for you at the hardware store? Lowe’s and Home Depot both have giant plywood cutting machines and they will make cuts for you in the store.

The employees will tell you that the cuts are “not precision” so you need to know that they won’t cut things exactly, but they can cut the plywood sheet down enough to get it into your car.

Home Depot cutting plywood for you

Cut plywood down in parking lot

Another way to get plywood home without a truck is to cut it down in the parking lot yourself! No, it’s not weird, I’ve done it myself!

If you already know your cuts, buy your plywood and head out to your car in the parking lot. Make sure you’ve brought your circular saw and a Kreg Rip-Cut with you and then make your cuts in the parking lot.

This method is extra cool because you don’t have to do any cleanup! Now you can fit the pieces in your car.

Plywood in parking lot

Rent a truck

If you have to bring a few sheets of plywood home, you can rent a pickup truck from Lowe’s and Home Depot. It only costs about $20 and you can rent the truck, fill it up with plywood, transport it all home, then bring the truck back.

This method is especially great if you can plan a few projects in advance and get all the supplies at once so you don’t have to rent the truck each time. $20 isn’t much, but it is if you do it five times in a month.

Pay for delivery

Finally, if you’re ordering a lot of plywood for a big project (like my friend with his built in bookcase), you can have it delivered. There is a relatively small delivery fee to have a large amount of wood delivered to your home, but you don’t have to lift a finger and it shows up at your door.

The only real negative to paying for delivery of plywood is that you won’t get to pick out your own sheets of plywood, which means you might get one or two with some damage. However, you can probably work around those bits.

rack of plywood at lowes

Before you go…

Here’s a couple of really great projects you can make with plywood!

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