Dimensional lumber needs to be straight, solid and uniform. Inconsistencies in your dimensional lumber not only look bad, they could make your project weaker. Find sturdy and high-quality dimensional lumber at a lumber yard by avoiding these three common problems. Inspect each piece before you buy, or purchase from a reputable, local lumber yard who is experienced in finding the best dimensional lumber.



This occurs when the length of the board curves. A board that has an extreme bow will look almost like a seesaw. This common type of warping occurs, like most wood warping, when there is an unequal moisture content in different parts of the board. Bowed dimensional lumber won’t offer a level surface, which is a problem whether you are installing the lumber vertically or horizontally.



Similar to a bow, a cup involves warping that creates an uneven surface. However, cupping is when the edges of the width of the wood curve. Just like bowing, this makes it difficult to properly use the length of dimensional lumber.



Another common warping issue is a crook. When you lay a board down on its width, it should run in a straight line. A board with a crook will curve to the left or right. This is less likely if a board is flat-sawn but is still a common issue with dimensional lumber.


There are many more ways dimensional lumber can be warped. All of these problems stem from uneven levels of moisture, so an experienced lumber yard can promote sturdy and straight lumber. Choose a local lumber yard and talk about their dimensional lumber quality. Ask for assistance when selecting the best dimensional lumber to ensure less warping. Whether you’re hiring a contractor to frame in a wall, build a table or create custom furniture, it’s important to use high quality dimensional lumber that is free from any bow, cup or crook.