If you are building any type of wooden structure, you probably are in need of some lumber. Lumber is the generic term given to wood, which has been cut down into standardized sizes by a lumberyard or contractor. If you are not sure what kind of lumber you need for your project, the following tips can give you a better idea. Then you can approach your contractor with a better sense of your lumber needs.


Hardwoods vs. Softwoods

One of the first distinctions in lumber is whether it is a hardwood or a softwood. Hardwoods in general tend to much more expensive. This is because the trees they are made of take much longer to grow. Hardwood include oak, cheery, mahogany, and maple. These are often high-quality and sustainable products and are usually used in projects where more decorative finishes are desired, such as furniture, cabinets, musical instruments, and flooring.


Grades of Wood

Lumber is also graded according to the quality of the wood. Higher grade wood is more pristine with less imperfections. The prices between successive grades can vary significantly, so it is important to understand what minimal grade level is required for your project. It is generally not necessary to purchases higher grade woods than what suits the use of your project.


Size of Lumber

Finally, it is important to understand the size of the lumber you need for your woodworking. At lumberyards, lengths of wood are sold according to board feet. This unit of measurement is equal to the length times the width times the height of the lumber, or in other words, the total volume of the lumber you want to purchase. This is different from traditional home improvement stores, which sell lumber by the linear feet.


With this information in mind, you can have a better idea about how to choose lumber for your woodworking project. Be sure to consult with your contractor for advice on your specific needs, and then you can start building.