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Old 11-10-2008, 06:42 PM   #1
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Builder grader wood


Is there a builder's grade wood? I noticed HD and Lowes both have premium lumber, at least the wood states it is premium. I went to a new construction home to look at the framing and the wood looked horrible. I am just curious if wood gets rated (kind of like USDA meat).

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Old 11-10-2008, 08:40 PM   #2
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Builder grader wood


In till someone with knowledge about this chimes in...

Google says...
http://www.google.com/search?q=lumber+grade

From what i remember (which is little, have a bad memory) 'select' wood is from the middle of a tree, its straiter and has less knots in it.


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Old 11-10-2008, 09:08 PM   #3
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Builder grader wood


I was in the commodity lumber business for a few years...

Box stores' lumber grading is pure marketing to make you think you're buying something special. You're not. There is not such grade as "premium"...And I assure you that their lumber is nothing more than average. You won't find "select" or "premium" grades in any span chart, and it could potentially complicate a project (like when the inspector looks for a recognized grading agency's stamp).

Dimensional framing lumber is graded #1, #2, #3, standard and better, stud, and utility. #1 is the best (although there are some specialty grades), and is generally uncommon and expensive. For general use 2x4's and up, the majority of lumber used in homes is #2. Studs are "stud" grade or standard and better, usually.

#1 and #1 select structural tend to have less defects such as large loose knots and waned edges. Usually only specialty lumberyards have them.

As for the wood looking horrible in the new home you visited, remember it is graded for structural ability, not looks. Most "construction" grades of lumber allow large knots, knots near the edges, waned (bark) edges, and other "defect". Fact is, there is nothing wrong with that at all. The defects are part of the approved product, and are considered when the engineering gurus come up with the span charts.

The box stores have the ability to purchase lumber that meets their standards due to their buying power. This may include less wane, smaller knots, etc. They essentially make it a proprietary product. If you're making a project that needs those criteria to be met for appearance sake, by all means buy from them. If you're framing a wall, compare prices and buy based on grade of lumber.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:18 PM   #4
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Builder grader wood


If you are planning on building a home, addition, or deck....do not order your lumber from a Big Box Home Improvement Store. Order it from a local lumber/builder supply house/yard.
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Old 11-11-2008, 06:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
I was in the commodity lumber business for a few years...

Box stores' lumber grading is pure marketing to make you think you're buying something special. You're not. There is not such grade as "premium"...And I assure you that their lumber is nothing more than average. You won't find "select" or "premium" grades in any span chart, and it could potentially complicate a project (like when the inspector looks for a recognized grading agency's stamp).

Dimensional framing lumber is graded #1, #2, #3, standard and better, stud, and utility. #1 is the best (although there are some specialty grades), and is generally uncommon and expensive. For general use 2x4's and up, the majority of lumber used in homes is #2. Studs are "stud" grade or standard and better, usually.

#1 and #1 select structural tend to have less defects such as large loose knots and waned edges. Usually only specialty lumberyards have them.

As for the wood looking horrible in the new home you visited, remember it is graded for structural ability, not looks. Most "construction" grades of lumber allow large knots, knots near the edges, waned (bark) edges, and other "defect". Fact is, there is nothing wrong with that at all. The defects are part of the approved product, and are considered when the engineering gurus come up with the span charts.

The box stores have the ability to purchase lumber that meets their standards due to their buying power. This may include less wane, smaller knots, etc. They essentially make it a proprietary product. If you're making a project that needs those criteria to be met for appearance sake, by all means buy from them. If you're framing a wall, compare prices and buy based on grade of lumber.

Great response.

I was just curious. It would make sense for a big box store to try to purchase wood with less defects. Every time I go there I see people taking large amounts of time to select two pieces of wood. I think an average homeowner would be overly selective. I was just curious.
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:44 AM   #6
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Builder grader wood


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. View Post
If you are planning on building a home, addition, or deck....do not order your lumber from a Big Box Home Improvement Store. Order it from a local lumber/builder supply house/yard.
I ordered dimensional lumber from my local major lumberyard. I have to say, I was unimpressed with the quality of materials, useable yes, but hand picking from big box is better.
At HD, depending on if the stack was restacked, it can take a little time digging. I've been in there where I needed 20-2x4s, sometimes I only need to look at 25 to get 20 and other times I need to look at 50 to 20.
Another thought, once you get it home, keep it strapped together to keep it from bending and twisting.
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Old 11-11-2008, 08:44 AM   #7
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Builder grader wood


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
I ordered dimensional lumber from my local major lumberyard. I have to say, I was unimpressed with the quality of materials, useable yes,..
Any lumber delivery you get, from "anywhere" (big box store, lumber yard, etc), is going to have a "percentage" of unusable materials. It's a fact in the industry. (However, IMHO, the Big Box stores tend to have a much higher percentage than the average lumber yards do).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
but hand picking from big box is better.
Obvioulsy hand picking your own lumber, is the only way that you will guarantee the largest percentage of usable stock, however, not everyone has the time, or the means to select and transport large quantities of lumber materials. It costs me more to take the additional time, and pay the help, use the gas, to do that (hand-pick, load, transport, & then unload), than it would to order the materials, and cull it, during the framing/construction process. What ever ends up being non usable for framing, can be used for temporary structures, knee wall framing, concrete forms, etc... (BTW-when the project is done, I cut up what KD grade stock is left and burn it in my woodstove and fireplace. I've not had to buy lumber for home burning in years.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
At HD, depending on if the stack was restacked, it can take a little time digging. I've been in there where I needed 20-2x4s, sometimes I only need to look at 25 to get 20 and other times I need to look at 50 to 20....
Smaller projects are one thing, in terms of the material counts. On larger sized projects, there are hundreds upon hundred of wall frame studs, not to mention all the other lumber to be used (i.e. -plywood). You would be hard pressed to see someone seriously in the trades hand selecting, stacking & loading, all that lumber...for an addition, major remodel, or large basement finish job.
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:59 PM   #8
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Builder grader wood


No reputable lumber dealer will allow people to pick through their material. They sell it as a certain grade, and the defects allowable in that grade are to be expected by the customer. All lumber comes perfectly straight in bundled units, and it stays straight until people screw up the stacks. If you want perfect lumber, buy #1 or better.

We fired more than one loader at the yard I worked for when they broke the company's no customer picking policy. People still drove right by the box stores to buy our material because they knew the product they were getting from us, and the price was competitive.

For the big box stores, commodity framing lumber is a loss-leader. There's very little markup in it if you want your price to be competitive. The tons upon tons of lumber ruined at each store by customers picking through and unstacking units of lumber is a writeoff for them, albeit an unfortunate wasteful writeoff.

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