How to Choose the Right Lumber for a Home Project

Posted on: 6 November 2017

When you decide to take on a home project that involves any type of woodworking, you'll need to understand how to choose the right lumber. When you visit a lumberyard, you can easily get overwhelmed with the many options of wood species, and you may not know how to choose the best and most durable boards and beams. To ensure your home projects hold up well over the years, and to ensure you choose the right lumber for any job, note a few tips to keep in mind.

Softwood versus hardwood

As the names would imply, softwood is easier to dent and ding than hardwood. Because of their added durability, hardwoods are often more expensive and may be a better choice for a wood item that suffers a lot of wear and tear every day, such as timber floors.

However, softwood that is used for home projects will be treated and seasoned so that it becomes very durable and can be easier for someone to cut and fabricate with standard tools. Softwoods may also be easier to sand in order to paint and stain. Exotic hardwoods especially are very dense and difficult to sand down, so they may not be good for cabinets and other pieces you'll want to paint versus leaving bare.

Structural lumber

If you're buying wood for any type of framing, such as for adding a wall in the home or expanding a doorway, you'll want to look for structural lumber. This lumber is cut to standard dimensions that are required for work that needs to be done to local codes. By choosing structural lumber rather than standard lumber that cut and plane down to size, your project is more likely to pass needed inspections, and will be safe and structurally sound.

Moisture content

Lumber should have a marking as to the moisture content at the time of fabrication, meaning when the wood was turned into lumber. These markings will vary from location to location, so check on what to look for at your local lumber yard, as the more that timber dries out, the more it shrinks. You may not mind some shrinking for pieces like shelving, but if decking slats or interior doors shrink, they can then cup and bow. While lumber that has less moisture content may be more expensive, it can be worth the added cost, in order to preserve your project and ensure the quality of the lumber over the years.

For more information on timber for sale, contact a local business.

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