BC’s softwood lumber product lines include spruce, pine, cedar, hemlock, larch and fir species. Softwoods come from conifer trees, or cone-bearing trees, and BC softwood species have needle-shaped foliage instead of the leaves found on hardwood trees.

Dimension lumber

Dimension lumber refers to the standard pre-dimensioned wood used in wood-frame construction, including walls, floors and roofs. Two inches thick and of various lengths and widths, it is the structural softwood lumber used in most wood-based housing construction (2×4 platform-frame construction) in North America.

TREES 101

Seeing the trees for the forest

British Columbia’s forests are vast and diverse. There are more than forty species of native trees in the province. Discover 17 of the most widely used for everything from singlefamily homes to tall timber towers.

Machine stress-rated (MSR) lumber

Where great strength is critical, such as in truss rafters, machine stress-rated and machine-evaluated lumber offers consistent performance. Machine grading measures a desired characteristic—such as bending strength or density—and ensures that the graded lumber is more precisely selected than is possible with visual grading.

Timber

Timber refers to finished wood product with minimum dimensions of 5.5 inches. Often used in post and beam construction and remanufacturing, it is valued for both its architectural beauty as well as its structural capacity.

Boards

Non-structural, finished product used to manufacture desks, shelving, furniture etc. Produced as a 1-inch thick material in various widths and lengths; usually dried and planed smooth.

Grading for consistent quality and reliability

Structural framing products are graded for their strength and other physical properties, as opposed to appearance products, which are graded for their aesthetic properties. A lumber grade is a minimum standard describing the characteristics allowed in a piece of lumber. Each piece of lumber is assigned a grade based on its quality, using a rule which considers the intended use of the piece, the size of the piece, its quality, and in some cases its species. The National Lumber Grades Authority’s Standard Grading Rules for Canadian Lumber is a list of the permitted characteristics within each grade of dimension lumber.

Must-have download

Choose the right grade with our easy-to-use reference guide

Sourcing wood for your next project? Unsure which lumber product, species and grade will best meet your unique needs? Take the guess work out with our 48-page visual guide. Get up to speed quickly with at-a-glance descriptions, illustrations and full-page photos of Interior Douglas-fir and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) lumber and their primary grade characteristics.

Kiln dried

Kiln-dried lumber is recommended as freshly sawn (or green) lumber is often too high in moisture content for some uses. Kiln drying before the lumber is shipped reduces moisture content and increases the wood’s structural integrity, appearance, and workability, as well as reduces swelling or shrinkage. Lumber is typically kiln-dried to a moisture content of 19 percent or less.

Classification of lumber

Lumber manufacturing classifications consist of rough dressed (surfaced) and worked lumber. Rough lumber has not been dressed but has been sawed, edged, and trimmed. Dressed lumber is rough lumber that has been planed on one or more sides to attain smoothness and uniformity. Worked lumber, in addition to being dressed, conforms to a specific pattern, is matched or shiplapped. Matched lumber is tongue and groove, either sides or ends or both. Shiplapped lumber has been rabbeted on both edges—that is grooves cut into the edges—to provide a close lapped joint. Patterned lumber is designed to a pattern or molded form.

BC Wood Supply Directory

Looking for lumber?

With the province of British Columbia recognized as a global leader in sustainable forest management, you can specify BC forest products with confidence. Connect with suppliers of lumber products today.