Crash Course on Lumber

Crash Course on Lumber

Unless you are an expert that has been building for years, many can be surprised to find that lumber is surprisingly complex. There is an abundance of choices, and often when you go to the local hardware store, you may find yourself wandering the wood works section trying to figure out what lumber to buy. Considering this, we figured it would be of great value to provide a little crash course on lumber.


Softwood Lumber

Softwood lumber is made from conifer trees and can easily be dented with small amounts of pressure. They absorb and lose moisture much easier than hardwoods, so often softwood is pressure treated. There are three classifications of softwood lumber: Yard, Structural, and Shop and Factory.


Yard- Yard Lumber is useful for construction and building projects. It is visually graded by an inspector.


Structural- Primarily used in construction and is often machine stress graded so builders know how much stress it can take. These are all the 2×4 and 4×4’s.


Shop and factory- These are not intended for structural projects. This is typically where all your accessories- doors, cabinets, pencils, and boxes- are made from.


Hardwood Lumber


Classification and grading under hardwood lumber is simply based on appearance. There are four hardwood lumber grades, and the grade is determined by the percentage of clear surface area on the boards poorer looking side. These are the grades from highest quality to lowest quality: FAS (First and Second), Select- No. 1 Common, Select- No. 2 Common, and Select- No. 3 Common.


Plywood and Paneling


Plywood is heavily used in construction jobs, ranging all the way from flooring to siding. It’s very strong, light, and stern. With the way plywood is made, it can cover a lot of space without bending or cracking. That’s why it’s such a staple in construction. There are a couple of grading systems for plywood. Some follow an alphabetical classification from A-D with A being the best. Another way plywood is classified is (in order of highest quality to lowest quality) Exterior, Exposure 1, Exposure 2, and Interior. Plywood can be made from softwood lumber, hardwood lumber, or both!


Gerber Lumber provides the highest graded wood and materials for your next project. Our team of expert staff will help you determine which lumber is best for your project so that you can be prepared with quality and confidence!