Lumber Guide

Use the guide below to learn more about the seven grades of framing lumber and the allowable deviation from a perfect piece of lumber:

Lumber Grade Stamps

12 Stand WWP S-Dry DFIR

Decoding a lumber stamp:

The final piece of the lumber puzzle is the ability to look at a grade stamp to understand what it is telling you. All stamps on lumber tell us the exact same information:

(a) the grading agency
(b) the mill designation
(c) the approved grade
(d) the wood species group
(e) and the moisture content

Common Application

In most jurisdictions, the building code requires #2 Structural, commonly referred to as #2 & Better, and that is why it is found at most lumber yards and home centers in your area. Where yards will differ is on the primary species family they carry. One yard might sell Douglas fir for the strength characteristics while the another chooses Western hemlock because it is cheaper while still meeting the same building codes.

In many commercial uses, select structural lumber is required because of the strength of the wood fiber. Typically, these are applications with very high point loads due to the increased capacity of the structure itself for storage or for people. Most residential construction that is done with Select Structural lumber is done because the builder and the homeowner prefer the quality of the fiber.

The lesser grades of lumber are often used where structural codes do not matter in industrial or temporary applications. These can be things like pallets and packaging for shipment or concrete footing work where one good face will usually be adequate.

Whatever lumber you choose, knowing the grade will help you determine if it is right for your
project. Grading used in conjunction with the design tables will help make sure that your
project lasts for as long as you want it to. For more information on the framing lumber
grading rules, please visit the following sources

Lumber Grade Sources