Not All Two by Four Lumber is Created Equal

Are you a homeowner? Do you enjoy home repair projects? You will see different types of two by four lumber. You may be new to home remodeling. Perhaps you wish to know a bit more about it. Pine wood is a very important part of many projects. Here are some of the things that you will encounter.

Some of the most common boards you will use, are known as two by fours. In the United Kingdom, they may be known as four by two timbers. These handy timbers are very useful for framing and support. Many of the two by fours that you encounter will be eight feet in length. This is a standard length for ceilings in homes.

The first thing that you will notice is that a 2 X 4 is not really two inches by four inches. It is 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. 2 X 4 denotes the original size before the wood is finished. The standard eight foot length is actually ninety two and 5/8 inches, instead of ninety six inches. There is a good reason for this.

Many two by fours are used as wall studs. In most homes there will be a stud behind your walls, every sixteen or twenty four inches. There will be 2 two by fours that run horizontal on top and one on the bottom. The wall studs are nailed to these boards called plates. When you add the 92 and 5/8 plus the thickness of 3 two by fours, you will be close to the standard eight foot ceiling. 92 5/8 plus 4 1/2 equals 97 1/8. Subtract the width of the floor and the sheet rock for the ceiling. This is how standard eight foot ceilings come about. Thus, there is a reason for the unusual lengths.

There are several grades of 2 X 4 timbers. The cheapest will usually be called an economy grade. You will notice that there is good reason for their price. There are a lot of imperfections. Some may have very large knot holes. They may also be twisted or warped. These timbers are not suitable as wall studs or for many framing jobs. They are good if you need smaller pieces of scrap wood for odd purposes.

Utility grade is a step up from economy. You may find some good boards. However, there will still be some with problems. If you need inexpensive wood for some home projects, this grade may work.

Stud grade is used for most home construction. This is what you find behind most walls today. In order for your walls to be straight, you need good wood. There is little twisting or warping. There will still be some knots and knot holes. When you shop for stud grade two by fours, inspect each board, if you can. Offer to load your own wood. You may find places that let you load your own. You will get much better material this way. Hold the board up and sight down the length. This will help you find warped pieces. Take the best wood that you can find.


Are you new to home repair? Perhaps you wish to know more. There are many projects that require 2 X 4 lumber. Understand the sizes and grades. This will help you obtain the best wood for your home.

Looking to build on to that new addition you've always wanted or you just need to replace some trim; then visit your local lumber store. They have a wide selection of trims, boards and much more.

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