How to Tie Lumber to a Roof Rack – 4 DYI Steps

Attach lumber to a roof rack? Sound a bit awkward, right? But the truth is it’s not so awkward! Lumber is a helpful thing that can help for various reasons, such as roof building, sheds, build tents, etc.

So, it’s clear to see there are many uses for it. As a result, people tend to carry it on top of their vehicle’s roof rack for various reasons.

However, it’s risky if you don’t know the tying procedure correctly. You surely don’t want to damage your car, increase the chance of an accident or rattle around while you are driving. Therefore, you must know how to attach timber to a roof rack properly.

Lumber is a versatile material that is useful for many sectors. Hence, transporting lumber is a common scenario. Today, I will share my insight on how to tie lumber to a roof rack correctly.

I’ll share some of the best steps and procedures. Read the whole article to know the tying process perfectly. Let’s dive in –

How to Secure Lumber/Plywood to a Roof Rack | Easy Methods

How to Secure Lumber to a Roof Rack

Transporting lumber can be a daunting task. But with the perfect materials and techniques, it can be done safely and securely. One way to transport lumber is by tying it to a roof rack on your vehicle. This article will review how to tie lumber to a roof rack.

I promise the whole task will be effortless for you if you follow it correctly. Anyway, let’s get into the discussion –

1st Method –Ratchet Tie-Downs

To secure the lumber on the rack sophisticatedly, you can use ratchet tie-downs. This is undoubtedly the best type of tie strap to conduct this task. However, while working the method, you should ensure the straps mustn’t go under the car’s door handles.

Otherwise, it will create an unnecessary twist that will cause a problem for the procedure. To do this method correctly, please follow these steps –

1. Choose the Right Roof Rack

The first thing you need to do is to select the right roof rack for your car. Since different types of roof racks are available with various weight capacities, you should move smartly while choosing them. Further, lumber is a large-sized product. Selecting the wrong rack could backfire badly.

I recommend purchasing the Thule MultiLift Roof Rack to transport lumber. It could be a great option for this task.

Measure the Lumber

2. Measure the Lumber

Before loading the lumber into the rack, you should measure it. It is crucial to know whether the lumber will fit into the rack. Besides, it is also essential to ensure the lumber is not too heavy for the roof rack.

3. Arrange Lumber and Co.

Arrange the lumber on the roof rack. So, it is evenly distributed and won’t shift during transport. Selecting a sturdy and flat area to position it would be a good decision.

Besides, if you have multiple pieces of lumber, stack them so they are as flat as possible. Apart from the lumber, you should bring all the necessary materials to secure the lumber onto the rack.

4. Fasten the Hooks

I can assume you’ve found the right place to put the lumber. It’s time to fasten the snap hooks to connect them to the lumber. On top of that, please check carefully whether it is tight or not. You can’t make a mistake on this point. Otherwise, it could be very costly.

5. Secure the Hooks

Fasten and Secure the Hooks

Join snap hooks to each strap’s tail point. The hooks must be locked into the good position. So, there won’t be any chance the lumber will be unsafe during transportation.

6. Fasten the Strap to the Vehicle and Lumber

Firstly, you should attach the ratchet straps’ first clip to your car. After connecting it, fasten the second clip onto the lumber’s part. To get the best one, you can purchase Rhino USA Boat Trailer Strap. It is made of stainless steel and is super sturdy.

7. Make it Rigid

The ratchet strap should be used to tighten all over the straps. Keep it up until you are sure these straps are tightly secured and won’t become unfastened during transportation.

2nd Method – Bungee Cords Straps

During lumber transportation, bungee cords straps could be super helpful. A set of bungee cords straps can assist you in loading the lumber pretty conveniently. Let’s check some essential steps to use these straps accurately.

1. Wood Rails Mounting

Firstly, take a ladder with you if you’re not long enough to touch the vehicle’s roof (especially if you’re an owner of an SUV). Hence, you’ll get a foundation to fasten the bungee cords straps.

2. Position the Lumber

Carefully position the lumber on the rack and secure them with bungee cords straps.

3. Hook it up!

Fasten the bungee cord straps to the metal plate’s hooks. After that, it’s time to tighten the straps properly. Use all the drooping of the rack. So they can hug the lumber firmly.

4. Repeat the Process

Attach at least 2 or 3 additional bungee cords at suitable locations around the lumber.

5. Double-check

Double-check that the lumber is securely fastened and won’t move during transport.

It’s important to note that bungee cords can easily stretch and lose tension. For this reason, they should be checked frequently during transport. So, you’ll ensure they remain tight and secure and do not cause adverse incidents.

Therefore, for heavier loads, it is highly recommended to use ratchet tie-downs or other heavy-duty tie-downs to secure your lumber.

3rd Method – Web Strapping

secure lumber by web strapping

Web strapping is a standard method to secure lumber for transport or storage. Here are the steps to secure lumber by web strapping:

1. Arrange the Lumber

Arrange the lumber neatly in a stack. Make sure the pieces are aligned and the ends are flush.

2. Webbing Placement

Place a piece of webbing (also known as strapping or banding) around the entire stack, with the loose ends overlapping at the top of the stack.

3. Threading Task

Thread the loose ends of the webbing through a ratcheting buckle.

4. Tighten it

Pull the webbing tight, ensuring the buckle is centered on the top of the stack. After that, start tightening the webbing by operating the ratcheting mechanism. It will lock the webbing in place and hold it securely.

Continue tightening the webbing until it is snug and the lumber is securely in place. Check that the webbing is not too tight, as it may damage the lumber.

5. It’s Trimming Time!

Once the webbing is tightened to the desired tension, use a pair of scissors or a knife to trim the additional webbing.

6. Put the Protectors

Place corner protectors on the lumber’s corners to prevent the webbing from digging into the wood if desired.

Finally, label the stack with relevant information such as the type of lumber, date of shipment, and any other necessary details.

4th Method –Using Nylon Rope

lumber to a roof rack with nylon rope

Tying lumber to a roof rack with nylon rope is a simple process. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Loop the Rope through the Roof Rack

Loop the rope through the roof rack on both sides of the lumber. Thus, it creates two loops on both sides.

2. Tie a Knot

Tie a knot with the two loops on each side to create a secure anchor point.

3. Create a Crisscross Pattern

Loop the rope over the lumber, creating a crisscross pattern. Wrap the rope around the lumber several times, alternating between the lumber’s front and back.

4. Secure the Rope

Tie the rope’s end securely to the roof rack using a knot or a carabiner.

5. Test the tie-down

Push and pull on the lumber to test the tie-down. It should be snug and secure.

6. Repeat the Process

Repeat the process on the other side of the lumber. Hence, ensure it is also snug and secure.

7. Double-check the tie-downs

Double-check the tie-downs before driving to make sure they are still secure.

When using rope to tie down lumber, it’s essential to use a high-quality nylon rope that can withstand the weight of the load and the tension of the tie-downs.

Also, make sure to tie the rope securely and use multiple tie-down points for equal load distribution.

Equipment Required for Tying Plywood to Roof Rack

When tying plywood to a roof rack, you’ll need some materials to ensure that the plywood stays securely in place during transportation. Here are some materials you can use:

Ratchet Straps

Equipment Required for Tying Plywood to Roof Rack

These are strong, durable, and highly secured straps that use a ratcheting mechanism to tighten and secure the load. On top of that, they come in various lengths and widths. As a result, you can choose the perfect size for your plywood and roof rack.

Bungee Cords

These are elastic cords with hooks on both ends. These cords can stretch to hold the plywood in place. Although they aren’t as robust as ratchet straps, they can be helpful in tying lumber. Additionally, bungee cords aren’t perfect for heavier lumber.

You can only use them for relatively short-sized plywood.


A robust and durable rope can also be used to tie down the plywood. Hence, ensure the rope is thick enough to handle the plywood’s weight. After knowing about it, attach it securely with knots. However, it’s good to skip using thin ropes.

Someone can cut the thin ropes and steal the product. Due to the lack of sturdiness, ropes can be cut while you’re driving. So, I won’t recommend you use regular ropes. You should avoid them.


These metal clips can attach straps or ropes to the roof rack. They provide a secure connection and can be easily removed when necessary.


You might need a scissor to cut the additional straps or bungee cords.

It’s always great to use high-quality equipment. Since transporting lumber is a bit challenging, you need to be careful. There’s no point in taking any risk. Besides, high-quality materials are perfect for standing against plywood’s weight and movement during transportation.

Some Important Tips to Tie Lumber to a Vehicles Roof Rack

Since lumber is a tough product, you should be careful during transportation. Therefore, following some tips are very necessary. Hence, you can keep the lumber perfectly on the rack and ensure there won’t be any damage to the car or lumber.

Let’s take a look at those steps for secured lumber transportation –

Properly Tighten the Tie-downs 

Tighten the tie-downs securely, but not too tight. Over-tightening can damage the lumber or the roof rack. Contrariwise, under-tightening can allow the load to shift during transportation.

Don’t go for the Cheaper Option

I’ve already echoed these words in the past. You need to go for a good option. So, you should try to use a ratchet strap. Don’t go for ropes. They’re not reliable and secure.

Consequently, I’ve seen the failure of ropes. One of my friends used it in Chicago and one day, his lumbers accidentally fell off the car.

He used rope to tie the lumber to the roof rack, which was a total failure. So, spend a few bucks more and purchase ratchet straps.

Use Foam Blocks

When placing the lumber on the rack, it is recommended to put foam blocks between the rack and the lumber. It provides extra cushioning and prevents any damage to the car’s roof.

Cover the Load

A tarp or other covering protects the lumber from rain, wind, or debris during transportation.

Make a Test

If you’re a beginner in tying down lumber to a roof rack, testing the load before hitting the highway street is highly recommended. Check thoroughly whether you’re comfortable driving while carrying the load.

Moreover, you should also ensure that the lumber is securely attached to the vehicle’s roof.

Stack the Lumber Carefully

Stack the lumber neatly and evenly to distribute the weight across the roof rack. Try to avoid stacking lumber too high. It can increase the risk of load shifting during transportation.

Cover the Load

A tarp or other covering protects the lumber from rain, wind, or debris during transportation.

So, you should follow these tips and recommendations for lumber transportation. It will enhance the security measurement and pave the way for smoother movement.

Things to Check When Driving with Lumber on the Roof Rack

Driving with Lumber on the Roof Rack

There are some essential things you should check when you’re driving with lumber on the rack. Let’s check –


Check the tie-downs regularly during transportation. This is the best way to ensure they are still tight and the load secure. In addition, re-tighten the tie-downs if required.

Wind Resistance

High winds can cause the plywood to shift or even fly off the roof rack. For this reason, drive safely, and avoid high-speed highways or windy areas.


Make sure the plywood has enough clearance from overhead obstacles such as bridges or tree branches. Hence, check the approval before entering a garage or parking structure.


Large or uneven loads can obstruct the driver’s visibility. Besides, ensure the load does not hinder the driver’s view of the road, traffic, or signals.

Weather Conditions

Rain or snow can make the roof rack and tie-downs slippery. Check the tie-downs for tightness and re-tighten them if necessary.

Check the Sharp Edges

The edges of the lumber can be sharp, like a Bowfin. It doesn’t matter what protective things you’re using –ratchet straps, bungee cords, or ropes –there’s a high possibility of the tie-down getting caught on a sharp edge. Subsequently, massive damage can happen.

Securing Timber on Vehicles Roof Rack – Safety and Precautions

Securing Timber on Vehicles Roof Rack

Since lumber is a heavy product, it is crucial to maintain some safety measures while carrying it. Let’s check some of the most critical safety and precautionary measurements regarding securing timber on roof racks –

  • Use the exact length straps. If the length is longer than expected, cut it down.
  • Ensure that the timber is not hanging over the edges of the vehicle. The overhang can cause accidents and damage to other cars on the road.
  • You should make sure that the straps aren’t twisted. It’s a very concerning thing. Remember that it could turn into failure under load. As a result, a severe injury can occur.
  • Check the roof rack and tie-downs frequently to ensure they are secure and tight during transit.
  • Use anti-slip pads to prevent the plywood from slipping off the naked roof during transit.
  • Make sure the timber is tightly secured and cannot shift during transit. Use ratchet straps with a minimum breaking strength rating of at least 500 kg (1100 lbs).
  • The timber must be laid out flat.

I assure you that if you follow the safety and precautions mentioned above correctly, you’ll be able to safely transport timber in the car without putting you and others at risk.


Now, I’ll talk about some essential questions and answers on how to tie plywood to a roof rack on a vehicle.

What type of tie-downs or straps should I use to secure lumber to a roof rack?

Use straps with a hook or web ratcheting straps with a minimum breaking strength rating of at least 500 kg (1100 lbs) to secure lumber to a roof rack. Yes, there are also solid ropes and bungee cords available too. But, it will be good to skip them to tie down a bulky product like plywood.

How many tie-downs or straps do I need to secure lumber to a roof rack?

Using at least two or three straps to secure lumber would be best. If the lumber is short-sized, two is enough. On the other hand, if it is a long one, use three or four to secure it onto a rack.

Is driving with lumber on top of my car safe?

Yes, it is. The roof racks are supposed to be built for these reasons. In whatever way, you should use a high-quality rack, strap, and take the highest level of safety and precautions while transporting it.

Can I transport plywood during rain time or snow falling?

You can surely take plywood during rain or snow falling. However, you should ensure that the plywood is covered with a tarp. This is how the plywood stays dry. As a result, the chance of an accident gets decreases significantly.

Final Words

So, we are at the end point of our lengthy discussion. I hope you’ve earned sufficient knowledge on how to tie lumber to a roof rack on your vehicle. Since lumber is bulky, you must take enough safety measurements during transportation. So, what’s your take on this article? Do you have something to say? Or do you have any other creative opinions about timber transportation? Feel free to share it in the comment box below.

A seasoned writer with a passion for crafting engaging content. Whether it’s exploring the great outdoors, diving into automotive trends, or uncovering travel secrets, I’m here to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with you.