The Best Wood to Use for Building

May 6, 2020 5:14 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Wood frame construction for housing and other types of buildings remains common throughout the United States. Framing lumber is used for framing out walls, floor joists, roof trusses and headers. In general, framing lumber will be SPF (spruce/pine/fir) softwood, and here in Utah, you’ll have several choices of the best wood for building in that category:

  • Heavy timber: This is any dimensional lumber larger than 4.5”, most commonly used for posts or beams, or in construction of timber frame homes. The larger dimensions of the wood allow it to support much heavier loads and spread out over longer spans. The thickness also makes it more fire resistant than some other types of framing wood.
  • Light structural lumber: This is the kind of lumber that single-family homes most commonly rely on for their construction. It gets milled from softwood trees like spruce, pine and fir, and planed down to standard dimensions like 2×4, 2×6 or 2×8. There are a lot of reasons why builders continue to use wood as a framing material. It’s a renewable resource, it has a low embodied energy, it doesn’t go through any major transformation during the milling process and it stores carbon. It’s a reliable material for building frames for all construction purposes.
  • Finger-jointed lumber: This type of lumber is also commonly referred to as end-jointed or end-glued lumber. It’s made with the use of short, dry pieces of wood that get machined on either end, then jointed together using an adhesive designed to repel water. This process is beneficial to the environment, because it uses short pieces of wood to create a single large structure that is stable and easy to align, and can be easily combined with other products to create major timber structural elements for a variety of building types.

Engineered wood

However, SPF is not the only type of framing lumber you have available to you for construction purposes. Another common choice is engineered wood, a kind of wood that undergoes much more processing than standard wood and, as a result, is more expensive.

However, there are some significant advantages to using engineered wood. It is extremely strong and can stretch across large spans without your having to use large trees or timbers. It has a lower carbon footprint than concrete, making it more environmentally friendly as a building material. It uses shorter pieces of wood that might otherwise be sent to landfills, which is another manner in which it is environmentally friendly.

In some cases, the added costs at the outset of using engineered wood for framing will be recouped in how much money you save on labor. This is due, in large part, to how straight and consistent the boards are, which means you won’t have to worry about fashioning shims or shaving down the wood like you might occasionally need to do with standard SPF wood.

For more information about the wood used for building in Utah and the various options at your disposal, we encourage you to contact Huberwoods today to learn more.

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