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What is Lumber in Construction Terms: A Comprehensive Guide

In the world of construction, lumber plays a vital role as one of the most commonly used building materials. This article aims to provide a simple and easy-to-understand explanation of what lumber is in construction terms. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional builder, understanding lumber is essential for any construction project.

I. Definition of Lumber:

Lumber refers to the processed wood used in construction projects. It is derived from various tree species, such as pine, spruce, fir, and cedar. Lumber is typically harvested from sustainably managed forests and processed into different sizes and shapes to suit different construction needs.

II. Types of Lumber:

  1. Softwood Lumber:

    • Benefits:

      • Widely available and cost-effective
      • Offers strength and durability
      • Suitable for framing, decking, and outdoor projects
    • Common examples: Pine, spruce, fir
  2. Hardwood Lumber:

    • Benefits:

      • Offers high strength and durability
      • Resistant to wear and tear
      • Ideal for furniture, cabinets, and high-end finishes
    • Common examples: Oak, maple, cherry

III. Grades of Lumber

LUMBER, n. A relationship with someone of the opposite sex; a girlfriend or boyfriend.Sc. 1992 Herald 14 Nov 2: For the tiresomely fashionable, it is not a place [the disco], if you will excuse an old-fashioned phrase, "to get a lumber".

How do you define lumber?

Lumber, collective term for harvested wood, whether cut into logs, heavy timbers, or members used in light-frame construction. Lumber is classified as hardwood or softwood. The term often refers specifically to the products derived from logs in a sawmill.

What is the description of lumber?

Lumber is wood that has been processed into uniform and useful sizes (dimensional lumber), including beams and planks or boards. Lumber is mainly used for construction framing, as well as finishing (floors, wall panels, window frames).

What is lumber explained?

Lumber is a sawn and formed wood product made from harvested tree timbers. As wood does not grow with uniform consistency, it has faults that affect the overall look and structural properties of the lumber produced.

Why do Americans say lumber?

Our familiar sense of lumber, meaning basically “sawn planks,” was born in North America in the 17th century. But that's one of the few things we can say with certainty about the word's odd history. This new use of the word showed up in print just decades after the Pilgrims' arrival in 1620.

What kind of wood is used in construction?

Hardwoods are commonly used in the construction of walls, ceilings, and floors. Most popular hardwoods include: Oak: It is extremely durable and resistant to insect damage. It's reliable and valuable for homes and businesses, like engineered wood flooring and engineered wood beams.

What is pallet wood made of?

The Material Used to Make Pallets

However, there are two species of wood found in high proportion in lumber mixtures used to manufacture pallets. These are oak and southern yellow pine (or SYP for short). Oak is used because of its strength and wide availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is construction lumber hardwood or softwood?

Softwood

Structural – Structural softwood lumber is the main type of wood used in construction projects, including house framing.

Where does American wood come from?

That is why American hardwoods typically grow in the Eastern part of the country. More than half of all American Hardwoods are oak, at 52 percent, growing predominately from New England to Mississippi. And to date, eco-inspired designs have utilized hardwoods as a natural, renewable resource well.

What percentage of US lumber comes from Canada?

About 80% of U.S. softwood lumber imports came from Canada.

What tree is most construction lumber made from?

Finished lumber is supplied in standard sizes, mostly for the construction industry – primarily softwood, from coniferous species, including pine, fir and spruce (collectively spruce-pine-fir), cedar, and hemlock, but also some hardwood, for high-grade flooring.

What is the main source of wood?

Forests

The main source of the lumber used in the world is forests, which can be classified as virgin, semivirgin and plantations. Much timber is removed for firewood by local populations in many countries, especially in the third world, but this amount can only be estimated, with wide margins of uncertainty.

What wood is used to build houses in USA?

Many of the most common species used in the construction are softwoods like spruce, fir, and pine. The risk is higher when looking at furniture and flooring (i.e., Lumber Liquidators).

What is the meaning of lumbar lumber?

Lumbar means relating to the area between the thoracic vertebrae and the region of the sacrum or pelvis: “He is not ready to get his lumber region of the back operated though he suffers from acute pain.”

What is lumber in construction?

Lumber typically refers collectively to wood that's been processed for use as a building material—wood that has been milled and cut into boards or planks. This cutting happens in a lumbermill, and the finished product is sold at a lumberyard. Lumber and these other related words are primarily used in the US and Canada.

FAQ

Why is wood called lumber?

The word “lumber” in American English means wood that has been processed or cut into boards.

Why is it called the lumbar?
The Latin word lumbus, from which we get lumbar, meant the loin, and was usually used in the plural, lumbi.

Where does most construction wood come from?

Forest degradation. Much of the wood we use comes from plantation forests, but a significant portion of it is extracted from natural forests. About a third of wood extracted from natural forests worldwide is used for timber products.

What tree is construction lumber?

Finished lumber is supplied in standard sizes, mostly for the construction industry – primarily softwood, from coniferous species, including pine, fir and spruce (collectively spruce-pine-fir), cedar, and hemlock, but also some hardwood, for high-grade flooring.

Where does my lumber come from?
Trees are the only place lumber can come from. Lumber is wood product, produced by cutting down trees, then cutting the trunks and larger branches in usable pieces. The tree is cut in the forest, then cut into logs of various length for transportation to the sawmill.

What two species of trees does most construction lumber come from?

Understanding Pressure-Treated Lumber and How to Use It

The most commonly used woods are typically spruce, pine or fir and sometimes other similar softwoods with pine probably being the most commonly used wood in the treatment process.

Where does most construction lumber come from in US?

According to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Oregon is the top producer of softwood lumber, producing more than 16% of the nation's softwood. Other top-lumber producing states include: Washington. Georgia.

Where does US get most of its wood?

Canadian shipments to the US fell 7%, reversing a 5% gain in 2021. Europe helped fill the void from a nearly 2 bbf decline in US imports from Canada last year. Imports from the top 10 European suppliers soared to 1.96 bbf, up 22% from 2021. Germany remained the dominant supplier.

What is lumber in construction terms

Where does most lumber come from in the world?

United States

United States. The United States tops the list of timber producers, with a focus on softwood timber, including pine, spruce, and fir. The country has abundant forest resources spread across the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, and Northeast regions.

Does the US export wood?

In 2021, the top partner countries to which United States Exports Wood include Canada, Mexico, China, Japan and United Kingdom.

What type of wood is construction lumber?

Finished lumber is supplied in standard sizes, mostly for the construction industry – primarily softwood, from coniferous species, including pine, fir and spruce (collectively spruce-pine-fir), cedar, and hemlock, but also some hardwood, for high-grade flooring.

What does construction grade lumber mean?

Construction grade lumber is used for light framing. Knots must be sound, firm, encased, and tight. There are limits on most of the defects, with the exception of some occurring only on the surface.

Can you build furniture with construction lumber?

TIP: If you are building furniture with construction lumber you will have a better end result if you let it dry out more. Stack and sticker it first and then mill it in stages.

What grade is construction lumber?

Table 2: Lumber Grades for Common (nonstress-graded) Lumber

GradeDesignationTypical Uses
No. 1ConstructionSiding, shelving, paneling
No. 2StandardSimilar uses to No. 1
No. 3UtilitySheathing, subflooring, crate construction
No. 4EconomySheathing, subflooring, creation of forms for concrete work
How is construction lumber made? The Lumber Manufacturing Process Generally Follows These Steps
  1. Head Rig: The primary saw cuts the tree into sawn pieces or boards.
  2. Edging: Removes irregular edges and defects from sawn pieces or boards.
  3. Trimming: The trimmer squares off the ends of lumber into uniform pieces.
What are the steps in making lumber? Steps in a Wood Manufacturing Process
  1. Felling A Tree. The trees are sorted for cutting down.
  2. Sawing with a Head Rig. In the commercial logging industry, big saw machines are used for felling and processing trees into wood.
  3. Edging.
  4. Trimming.
  5. Sorting.
  6. Ready for Drying.
  7. Drying.
  8. Planing.
  • How is structural wood made?
    • The principle of production is that finger-jointed laminates of wood are stacked up in layers and glued together into large structural elements. The wood fibres are oriented in the direction of the glulam products' length.

  • How is wood turned into lumber?
    • A sawmill works by cutting logs into lumber using large bandsaw blades. The same process is repeated over and over, log by log, to produce high-volumes of rough cut lumber. If you're interested in learning step by step how a sawmill works, feel free to watch the video below.

  • Why is construction lumber so expensive?
    • Low Supply and High Demand

      Currently, lumber is suffering from a situation affecting many products and goods worldwide: low supply with high demand. As a result, the low lumber supply creates scarcity, which causes lumber prices to increase.

  • How is construction wood made?
    • Remove. Next the logs go through the debarker a machine with a rotor that shaves off the bark. The rotor has six sharp blades that take just 10 seconds to shave a log.

  • How do they make wood planks?
    • Once a tree has been cut down, the trunk is then cut into logs of manageable lengths. These are then transported to a sawmill, where they are split into flitches (a large plank or section of wood that is unfinished). How it is split will depend on the type of tree and what it will be used for.

  • How are wood studs made?
    • Wood studs are light, structural timber boards milled from softwood trees. After sawn and machine-planed to the standard dimensions of 2×4″, 2×6″, 2×8″, etc, they're spaced 16 or 24 inches on center along the wall, running between the floor and ceiling.

  • What type of wood is used in construction?
    • Hardwoods are commonly used in the construction of walls, ceilings, and floors. Most popular hardwoods include: Oak: It is extremely durable and resistant to insect damage. It's reliable and valuable for homes and businesses, like engineered wood flooring and engineered wood beams.

  • Is construction lumber hard or soft wood?
    • Strong and durable, hardwoods are preferable for any high-impact structure, surface, or construction project meant to last. Because of their grainy appearance and hard-wearing nature, hardwoods are also a popular choice for high-end furniture. Other applications include: Construction (such as timber-framed buildings)

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