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4 Things to Know When Buying Timber for Residential Construction

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Timber is one of the widely used materials in residential constructions. It is used in structural framing, siding, roof framing and much more. The essential nature of lumber magnifies the need for selecting the best timber for your construction project. Poor wood selection can affect the stability of the structure and lead to financial losses during the project. With this in mind, here are four crucial things to note when looking for lumber for your construction project.

Examine the Quality of the Wood

Don't just buy wood because it looks good physically. While this is an essential qualification, it isn't the only one to determine the stability of your structure. Most builders utilise softwood species such as pine for their structures. Not all softwood lumber has the strength and physical characteristics required to build a durable structure. Therefore, examine the wood thoroughly. Make sure your select species is of high quality and is suitable for structural use.

Inspect Timber for Defects

There are various forms of defects that you can find on timber. These include knots, splits, burls, shakes and many more. Fungal and water damage can also cause issues such as coloured stains and rot. Structural timber should be free on any defects that can compromise the reliability of the wood. Therefore, be on the lookout for these. 

However, note that some defects are excusable. For your framing needs, find timber that has no physical faults. You can buy lumber that has flaws such as knots and burls for secondary use. Since the wood is much cheaper than defect-free timber, you can get it at a lower price and cut around or smooth out the defects.

Determine Whether to Pressure-Treat

Softwoods are affordable options for construction projects, but they don't hold up well under the elements. They tend to rot, warp or suffer other forms of damage when exposed to moisture, solar radiation and impact. Thus, you cannot use the timber in its natural state for exterior projects. In this case, you have to pressure-treat the wood.

Pressure-treating introduces chemicals into the wood grain to increase the lumber's resistance to damage. If you want to use wood for your siding, patio or anywhere it may be exposed to the elements, consider pressure-treating it beforehand.

Buy Extra Lumber

If you're cutting structural lumber on-site, there's bound to be mistakes which may lead to material wastage. Also, some of the timber may get damaged during handling or transportation. It's wise to buy extra pieces to cover any deficiencies that may occur. Consider getting at least 10% above your projected requirements. Doing so will save you from incurring additional costs due to project downtime. What's more, you can resell or repurpose any remaining materials at the end of the project.

Have these things in mind when shopping for timber products for your construction project. If you're not sure of what species to get, consult an expert!