A Brief Guide to Purchasing Lumber


Buying lumber? It might be more confusing than you would think, but we’ve got you covered.

Buying lumber might seem pretty simple in theory, but it’s actually a somewhat nuanced practice. There are so many choices that you might be wondering exactly what lumber you need. Don’t just show up to a lumber supplier and pick out what sounds nice, you need to enter that shopping experience with a detailed plan. We here at Leland Fisher Lumber want you to enter the buying process with as much knowledge as possible, so we’ve put together a brief guide to purchasing lumber.

Softwood and Hardwood

Softwoods typically come from conifer trees such as fir, spruce, cedar, and pine. They’re called softwoods because they can be easily dented, but they also absorb and lose water easier than hardwoods. Softwood is typically cheaper and is used in building homes or construction projects. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees, which have broad leaves. These are oak, maple, walnut, hickory, and mahogany. They aren’t nearly as easily dented. It’s used more sparingly than softwood, for projects like woodworking, furniture, cabinetry, and flooring.


Softwoods are so susceptible to rotting from water and mold, so sometimes it is treated with a chemical to help preservation. Things like decks or swing sets are often pressure-treated. This is done by placing wood into a sealed tank and vacuuming all of the air out, which closes the wood’s pores. If you’re looking at pressure treated lumber in person, you’ll notice it has a blue or green hue to it.

Board Classifications

Softwood has a few classifications for different purposes. You have yard, structural, shop, and factory. Yard lumber is graded and intended for ordinary construction and building. Structural lumber is also used heavily in construction and contains your 2x4s and 4x4s. Shop and Factory lumber is intended for specific remanufacturing purposes and non-structural applications, like doors, ladders, pencils, and molding.

Fisher Lumber for Lumber Needs

Leland Fisher Lumber has served homeowners and contractors in the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia areas since 1894. We have excellent lumber, all of the building materials you need, top-notch tools, and the expertise to help you pick the right supplies for your project. Give us a call at 301-424-6500 or visit us online for more information. To see more tips for your DIY project, visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Houzz, and Twitter!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 at 11:19 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.