Doing A Remodel And Need To Buy Wood? A Few Tips To Buying The Right Boards

If you have decided to do a bit of remodeling in your home, you have probably drawn up some plans and started a list of the materials you will need to get the job done. You have measured the area, figured how much lumber you are going to need, and decided on paint colors. However, when you go to the lumber store to pick out the pieces you need, you may be surprised when the salesperson asks what kind of wood you want. Before you stand there with a glazed look on your face, here is a bit of information to help you understand what your choices are.

Soft or Hard Lumber

The first thing you need to decide is whether you will be using soft or hard lumber. It is common to use softwood lumber in construction projects such as framing a new room or building a roof for your patio. It is easily dented and quickly absorbs moisture. Most lumber or hardware stores carry standard sizes of soft-lumber boards, such as 2x4, 2x6, 2x8, and 4x4.

Hardwood is harder; it doesn't dent easily and is generally used for projects where you want the wood grain to be seen. It makes beautiful cabinet doors, hardwood floors, and real-wood paneling. Most of the time, you need to order the pieces in custom sizes.


Soft lumber has three classifications, which are yard, structural, and shop. Yard lumber is used for things like shelves, boxes, or a piece of furniture that is going to be covered in upholstery. Structural boards are used for framing and interior work. It is less blemished than yard lumber and has been graded according to how much stress it can take. Shop lumber is used for re-manufacturing purposes, such as molding, doors, and ladders. Each classification is broken down further into different grades.

When it comes to hard lumber, classification is done by appearance. How much of a piece of wood is free from defect will determine its class and grade. FAS (first and second) is the highest quality with over 83 percent of it free of any knot or blemish. The lowest grade is called select – no. 3 common and has only 30 percent of the board defect free.

Having the right type and grade of wood can save you money on your project and ensure that it will have the best results. There is no sense in spending money on hardwood if you are moving a wall to change the size of a room. However, you also do not want to use a soft piece that will dent any time something hits it. If you are still unsure of which type would be best for your project, ask someone at the lumber yard and talk to companies like Hillside Lumber.