3 Things To Look For When Buying Lumber For Your Framing Project

Completing a home remodel often requires you to frame in new areas of your home. While it can be easy to assume that all wood is created equal, the lumber you use for your framing project should meet some very specific criteria.

Here are 3 things you should be looking for as you purchase lumber for your future framing projects.

1. Moisture Content

Softwoods like pine or cypress are commonly used as framing materials because they are affordable. Because these woods are naturally more porous, they can absorb higher levels of water than their harder counterparts.

To ensure that your softwood frame doesn't sustain water damage, the lumber you purchase for your framing project should fall within a specific moisture content parameter. Softwoods should have an average moisture content of 15%, and not exceed a moisture content of 19%. You can find information regarding the moisture content on the lumber's label.

2. Species

Certain species are better suited for some framing tasks than others, so being able to identify the species of tree a certain piece of lumber was harvested from will be beneficial when it comes to framing your home.

If you are planning to frame a wall that is not load bearing, invest in spruce-pine-fir lumber. Commonly referred to as simply SPF, this type of lumber is affordable and lightweight. If you need a more durable lumber to frame in a load bearing wall, opt for materials made from a stronger wood like Douglas fir or Southern Yellow Pine.

3. Grade

Each piece of lumber available for sale commercially is graded. These grades can help you determine the quality of the wood you are purchasing. Since lumber is manufactured from natural wood, there are bound to be some defects or flaws in each piece. These defects can compromise the strength of the wood.

Lumber is graded based on the percentage of wood that is free from defect, with the highest grade being select (which contains 80% clear wood). Most framing lumber is classified as #2 structural grade, which means it is at least 66% clear wood. Be sure to check your lumber's label to determine if the grade meets your project's requirements.

Taking the time to check the moisture content, species of origin, and grade of the lumber materials you are planning to purchase will help you ensure that you buy the right wood for your framing project. Talk to your local experts, such as The Cedar Shop Building Materials, for more information.