What is Lumber in Construction: Explained for Beginners

If you're new to construction or simply curious about the importance of lumber, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of what lumber is in construction, its benefits, and its various applications. Let's dive in!

  1. Understanding Lumber:
  • Lumber is a term used to describe processed wood that is suitable for construction purposes.
  • It is derived from trees, mainly softwoods like pine, fir, and spruce, or hardwoods like oak and maple.
  • Lumber is available in various dimensions, grades, and types, making it versatile for different construction projects.
  1. Benefits of Lumber in Construction:
  • Strength and Durability: Lumber possesses excellent load-bearing capacity, making it ideal for structural components like beams, studs, and joists. It can withstand heavy loads and provide long-lasting structural support.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to other construction materials, lumber is relatively affordable, which makes it a popular choice for both small and large-scale projects.
  • Renewable Resource: Lumber is a sustainable building material as it can be harvested from responsibly managed forests. With proper forest management practices, new trees can be replanted,

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.

What is the difference of lumber and wood?

Lumber is much less processed, and often means a felled tree. Wood can be used more loosely to refer to any timber or lumber.

What is lumber used for?

Lumber comes from trees that have been turned into planks or boards. Lumber is commonly used in structural materials, but is also used in cabinetry, furniture and flooring and pallets.

What is lumber slang for?

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".

What is framing lumber called?

Framing lumber, also known as structural wood, is the grade of wood used for house framing (studs, Larsen Trusses for Double-Stud walls, headers, roof trusses and floor joists, etc. as well as in timber frame construction). Its technical characteristics make it perfectly suitable when large spans are necessary.

Is hardwood or softwood used in construction?

There are two primary categories of wood: hardwood and softwood. Both are used in different types of construction. But the difference between the two doesn't have to do with their actual hardness or density, it's in how the trees reproduce.

Are hardwoods primarily used for building construction?

Hardwoods are typically used in home construction projects that need that extra-lasting power. You'll often find that hardwood species are used in flooring and decks. These types of wood typically have desirable wood grains and colors, making them an aesthetically pleasing choice for visible applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is softwood used for construction?

Softwood grows much faster and makes up much of the world's timber, so it tends to be more affordable than hardwood. Softwood lumber is used for residential and commercial construction, decking, fencing, siding, furniture, and plenty of other construction and manufacturing applications.

What are the two wood species appropriate for house framing?

Lumber is also classified by its species, which affects its density, hardness, and moisture resistance. Some of the most common species used for framing are pine, spruce, fir, and hemlock. These are softwoods that are relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, and widely available.

What two species of trees does most construction lumber come 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 softwood spruce used for?

The wood has excellent acoustic properties and is used to make sounding boards in pianos and other musical instruments such as violins and guitars. Clear grades are used in fine interior finishing such as sliding screens, mouldings, joinery and trim.

What is spruce pine used for?

Red spruce wood: Locally-sourced red spruce is affordable and is used for Christmas trees, musical instruments, construction lumber, crates and making round timber.

Why is softwood used for framing?

Alternatively, softwood is more pliable and forgiving. Its wide grain takes to a nail gun without compromising its integrity. It's most often used as framing lumber, for studs, joints, and beams. On the exterior of a wall, it's used for molding and framing windows and doors.

What is spruce used for in construction?

Strength – Spruce is a dense wood which makes it able to withstand a high pounds-per-square-inch. Its hardness and high resin count also help prevent it from cracking. This makes spruce a great choice for beams, shelves, door frames, window frames, pallets, and studs.

Is wood still used in construction?

Wood has been one of the most used building materials since the beginning of history. Although the use of steel, concrete or iron has brought significant advances to construction, wood has never lost its popularity. In fact, the number of wooden buildings around the world may surprise many readers.

Why are houses still made out of wood?

Experts say that many homeowners and building companies in the United States prefer the flexibility of the material, as it can withstand low-intensity natural disasters and weather events such as earthquakes, storms, and hurricanes.


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.

Why California houses are built with wood?

The most notable being its availability and inexpensiveness. Also, construction with other materials is expensive and the cost of labor for such materials is quite high. The idea of demolishing and rebuilding is easier with wooden houses which are very common in California.

Why aren't houses made of brick anymore?
Cost is one of the primary reasons for the reduced popularity of brick houses. Brick construction can be more expensive than other building materials like wood, vinyl siding, or even stucco.

What are the benefits of wood construction?

Wood's strength, lightweight, and ease of use make it ideal for creating the underlying structure of buildings. Wood's natural resistance to heat, electrical conduction, and sound absorption characteristics make it a safe and comfortable material for building homes and offices.

What makes wood a an ideal structural material?
Stability and light-weight

Wood stands out for its very high static quality. In reference to its deadweight, wood carries 14 times as much as steel; its pressure resistance equals that of reinforced concrete. Multi-story wooden buildings and wide-area load-bearing structures are optimal areas of use.

Why build with wood instead of concrete?
It's more cost-effective

Building with wood generally results in a 30% quicker turnaround time than building with concrete; a quicker turn around time means less expenses on your part.

What are 5 advantages of wood?
Seven advantages of wood construction
  • Building with wood is better for the climate.
  • Long-term sustainable construction.
  • Trees bind carbon dioxide.
  • High strength in relation to weight.
  • Shorter construction times.
  • Building with wood is less noisy.
  • Wooden buildings are healthy.
What are the pros and cons of building with wood?

It's also easy to add decorative elements to wood constructions to increase curb appeal. The disadvantages to wood construction include vulnerability to water damage, fire, decay, and termites. When purchasing a wood construction home, it's very important to check the integrity of support beams, etc.

What is lumber in construction

What percent of wood is used in construction?

The share of lumber used for construction increased from 50% to 67% but remained the same or declined in other end-use areas.

How much lumber is used in the USA?

The United States consumed roughly 47 billion board feet of softwood lumber in 2019, 30.8% of which came from 48 foreign countries. All softwood lumber imports are not created equally, however.

How much wood is used annually?

Globally, we consume 19.3 ft3 of wood per person per year1. This value is a world average and is greater for developed countries and smaller for developing countries. These examples of wood consumption truly demonstrate the astronomical volumes of wood consumed on a yearly basis.

Where does most of US lumber come from?

What State Produces the Most Lumber? 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.

What percent of houses in the US are made of wood?

90 percent

According to the Western Wood Products Association, over 90 percent of American homes are built with wood.

Why do Americans use wood for building?

Experts say that many homeowners and building companies in the United States prefer the flexibility of the material, as it can withstand low-intensity natural disasters and weather events such as earthquakes, storms, and hurricanes.

Why wood is a popular construction material in the US?

Wood is NOT the chosen house building material in many parts of the world. In North America wood is extremely plentiful, relatively inexpensive and easy to work with. In many parts of the world this is not the case and concrete / cement blocks are the primary building material.

Why wood is used for building purpose? Hardwoods are commonly used in the construction of walls, ceilings and floors, while softwoods are often used to make doors, furniture and window frames. Some examples of the most popular hardwoods include oak, maple, mahogany, cherry, walnut, and teak.

  • Why Americans don t use concrete?
    • Concrete can not stand the severe weather and the wide range of temperature changes comparing to wood. It can be as low as -20 or -40 degrees during winter and, then becomes up to 30 and 32 in summer. Concrete structures will be out there; subjected to harmful cracks.

  • Why don t Europeans build with wood?
    • In much of Europe that's stone because wood has mostly been harvested to the point of extinction (and wood is expensive to transport long distances). Whereas in North America wood remains an inexpensive building material.

  • What size wood is used in construction?
    • Carpenters extensively use dimensional lumber in framing wooden buildings. Common sizes include 2×4 (pictured) (also two-by-four and other variants, such as four-by-two in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK), 2×6, and 4×4. The length of a board is usually specified separately from the width and depth.

  • What is the standard thickness of wood?
    • Hardwood Lumber Dimensions

      4/4 inch1 inch7/8 inch (22 mm)
      5/4 inch1 1/4 inch1 1/8 inch (29 mm)
      6/4 inch1 1/2 inch1 3/8 inch (35 mm)
      8/4 inch2 inches1 13/16 inch (46 mm)
  • What is the thickness of wood framing?
    • Dimensional lumber is a minimum of 2 inches wide and 2 to 4 inches thick. Beams and stringers are a minimum of 5 inches thick, with the width at least 2 inches greater than the thickness dimension. Posts and timbers are a minimum of 5 inches thick, and the width does not exceed the thickness by more than 2 inches.

  • How thick is the average wood wall?
    • Typical interior walls are framed with 2x4s. This makes walls about 4½ inches thick (3½ inches of wood covered on both sides by ½-inch-thick drywall).

  • 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.

  • Why is wood used mostly in construction in united statese
    • Oct 13, 2021 — When European colonizers first came to the United States, they opted to construct many houses and commercial buildings from wood because it was 

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