Dimensional lumber is a kind of lumber which can be cut and polished into standardized pieces with the stipulated depth and width. Both hardwoods and softwoods are available as dimensional lumber. Dimensional lumber is also known as cut lumber and finished lumber and it is used in building structures like walls, floors, and roofs. It is available in different dimensions like 2*4, 2*6, and depending upon the region it is sold. Dimensional lumber is mostly made from softwood species like pine, fir, and spruce. The species of softwood used in making lumber varies depending upon the region. The variance in the species of wood used results in dimensional lumber having different working properties and hardness. Following are the different species of wood available in dimensional lumber:
Hem-Fir lumber is made from wood extracted from western hemlock trees (Tsuga heterophylla) and five true fir species: Grand Fir (Abies grandis), California Red Fir (Abies magnifica), Pacific Silver Fir (Abies amabilis), Noble Fir (Abies procera), and White Fir (Abies concolor). Hem-Fir lumber is a good combination of strength and beauty and is one of the most graceful softwood species combinations available in the market. It is available in three grades; viz. structural, appearance, and re-manufacturing. Hem-Fir lumber is very bright in color and varies between near white to straw-brown. The hardness of Hem-Fir varies from 350 for balsam fir to 490 for silver fir on the Janka Scale.
S-P-F is an acronym for spruce, pine and fir varieties of trees. S-P-F lumber can be made from any of the three varieties or a combination of them. S-P-F lumber made of any of the above varieties yield high grade timber with small, sound tight knots. S-P-F species group consists of four species of trees: Engelmann Spruce, White Spruce, Alpine Fir and Lodgepole Pine. This lumber is available in three colors: White, Yellow, and Red. The hardness of S-P-F lumber also varies significantly depending upon the species of wood used to make it. Eastern spruce is the hardest variety of all with a rating of 520 on the Janka scale. S-P-F lumber is mostly used in residential and commercial construction due to its low cost. It has a high strength to weight ratio, making it suitable for some other kinds of woodworking projects too. The trees used to make S-P-F lumber grow tall and hence produce straight and sturdy lumber.
DF-L stands for Doluglas Fir/larch lumber. This variety of Dimensional lumber is made from either Douglas fir or Western larch. DF-L made of Douglas fir wood is classified into two types depending upon the Douglas fir trees grown in the places where they are produced. The DF-L type is produced in western U.S. states where as the DF-L (North) or DF-L (N) type is produced in Canada. DF-L lumber made of Douglas fir trees has a yellow or reddish tone and is very hard with a score of around 710 on the Janka scale. DF-L lumber made of Western larch trees has a white or straw brown tone and is relatively softer with a score of around 430 on the Janka scale.
S-Y-P stands for southern yellow pine. Yellow pine refers to a grouping of pine trees grown in the southern U.S.. S-Y-P species group includes slash, long leaf, short leaf pines, and loblolly. S-Y-P dimensional lumber is very soft and has a yellow tone. S-Y-P dimensional lumber is the strongest of all dimensional lumber varieties with a score of 870 for the lumber made of long leaf pine.
Dimensional lumber made of Bamboo is called as Lumboo. Lumboo is made in China and is distributed in U.S. and many other parts of the world. Lumboo is made by gluing small strips of bamboo together into a block. The blocks of bamboo strips are later mechanically compressed by applying hundreds of thousands of pounds of pressure to make them denser. Lumboo is very soft and strong. It is also very durable and resistant to moisture and insects. Since, bamboo is available abundantly and grows very fast as compared to other trees, Lumbbo is very eco-friendly.
The latest advancements in technology allows dimensional lumber to be made out of plastic and other sustainable varieties which make it quiet eco-friendly. This kind of dimensional lumber is also durable when compared with traditional dimension lumber made of pine, fir, spruce, and other kinds of woods.