Peninsular Lumber Company


What is Dimensional Lumber?

Find out what dimensional lumber is and how it’s used on custom home building projects.

Dimensional lumber is a term you will likely encounter while working on a construction project or shopping for building materials. This versatile type of wood is a staple in the construction industry, particularly for custom home building. Learning more about dimensional lumber and its benefits is well worth your time if you are planning to build a custom home.

What is Dimensional Lumber?

Dimensional lumber refers to wood that has been cut and milled to specific, standardized sizes. This process ensures uniformity across different lumber yards and simplifies construction projects by providing builders with predictable dimensions for their materials. Dimensional lumber is commonly used for framing, flooring, and other structural components in residential and commercial construction projects.

The Sizing of Dimensional Lumber

Knowing the nominal and actual dimensions is key to understanding what dimensional lumber is. The nominal size refers to the rough-cut dimensions before the wood has been finished, while the actual dimensions are the final measurements after the finishing process.

For example, a 2×4 piece of dimensional lumber has a nominal size of 2 inches by 4 inches. However, its actual dimensions will be approximately 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches. On the other hand, a 1×2 piece of dimensional lumber has a nominal size of one inch by two inches, but the actual size is 3/4 inch by 1.5 inches. Understanding this discrepancy in sizes for dimensional lumber is essential while planning construction projects and purchasing materials.

Standard Widths, Depths, and Lengths

Dimensional lumber is available in various standard widths and depths, including 2×4, 2×6, 2×8, 2×10, and 2×12. These standardized sizes make it easier for custom home builders and DIY enthusiasts to plan and execute their projects with precision. In addition, lumber boards typically come in lengths ranging from 8 to 24 feet, with 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 feet being the most common dimensional lumber lengths.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated lumber is dimensional lumber that has undergone a chemical treatment to resist rot, decay, and insect damage. This type of lumber is ideal for outdoor projects where the wood will be exposed to moisture, such as decking, fencing, or structural supports. Pressure-treated wood comes in various standard dimensions, similar to untreated dimensional lumber.

Types of Wood Used for Dimensional Lumber

Various kinds of wood are used to create dimensional lumber, with Douglas fir being one of the most common species. Other popular types of wood for dimensional lumber include Ponderosa pine and white fir. Each type of wood has unique properties that make it suitable for specific applications, such as weight-bearing capacity, appearance, and resistance to moisture.

Engineered Wood vs. Dimensional Lumber

Engineered wood is another popular building material that is often compared to dimensional lumber. These products are made by bonding wood fibers, strands, or veneers with adhesives to create strong, uniform building materials. While dimensional lumber is preferred for its natural appearance and simplicity, engineered wood products offer increased strength, dimensional stability, and resistance to warping.

Choosing the Right Lumber for Your Project

Before selecting dimensional lumber for your construction project, consider the following factors:

The Type of Wood

Choose a wood species that meets your project’s requirements in terms of strength, appearance, and resistance to moisture or insects.

Pressure Treated or Untreated

Determine if your project requires pressure-treated wood for added durability and resistance to the elements.

Standard Dimensions

Ensure you understand the nominal and actual dimensions of your chosen lumber size to accurately plan your project and avoid sizing issues during construction.

Lengths Required

Purchase lumber in appropriate lengths to minimize waste and ensure efficient construction. Keep in mind that longer lengths may be more challenging to transport and maneuver on-site.

Quality of the Lumber

Inspect the lumber for defects such as knots, splits, or warping before purchasing. High-quality lumber will provide a better-finished product and reduce the likelihood of structural issues.

Need to Know More About What Dimensional Lumber is? Contact a Lumber Company in Tampa!

Partnering with a reputable lumber company in Tampa is essential for a successful construction project. Peninsular Lumber is a reliable lumber yard that offers a wide range of high-quality building materials, including common dimensional lumber, pressure-treated wood, and engineered wood products. Our staff can provide expert advice and answer common questions, such as “what is dimensional lumber?” and much more.

Feel free to give Peninsular Lumber a call to learn more about all our products and visit our store today!