How to Order Lumber from a Lumber Yard


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How to Order Lumber from a Lumber Yard

Have you set your mind to construct a new patio cover, deck, or garden box? You must go for the right lumber for that purpose first. This will help you end up with a successful construction project. However, it can be a difficult task with a range of options available in the market.

Statistics have shown that over 80% of construction delays are only because of improper material selection. Don’t become part of that race! This blog has mentioned a detailed checklist that will tell you how to order lumber from a lumber yard. This will help you select the perfect wood for your project and you can avoid costly mistakes.

Understanding Your Project Needs

Before you buy wood for your project, think about what you need. Consider your location where you want to build, how much sun or shade there is and any specific rules you need to follow.

This way you will be able to figure out how much wood to get and what kind to use. Also, don’t forget how the atmosphere impacts your lumber choice. For example, If it’s often wet, one should use wood like Cedar, Cypress, or Redwood, as they are good at resisting moisture.

Now, after completely understanding the requirements, make a list of everything you need for the project!

Researching Lumber Yards


It is expensive because they come from trees that take a long time to grow for example oak, cherry, mahogany, and maple. They have a strong and nice look to it. So, they are often used for Framing Estimating projects like making furniture, cabinets, musical instruments, and floors.


Furring strips

This might be a good choice if you’re looking for cheap wood. They are usually rough and not very smooth and are mostly used in construction.

However, you can still use them for woodworking projects. Only, if you’re willing to spend extra time finding the best pieces and sanding them down.

Framing lumber

They are also called 2x4s. These construction lumbers are used to build the structure of a house. They’re quite cheap and often made from whitewood, like Douglas fir.

If you’re adding a wall to your home or making the frame of an outdoor dining table, an outdoor sofa, and even benches, you’ll probably use these boards. One downside is that they have rounded edges. You can always make them square by cutting them with a table saw, but this will make the board smaller.

Common boards

As it is cheap, so people prefer working with it. They are made from soft wood like pine.

These boards are a preferred choice for outdoor projects, like making patio chairs or treasure boxes. Remember! to paint and seal them properly.

Common boards usually start at 1×4 size and get bigger. So if you need smaller sizes, you can cut them down with a table saw or circular saw with a guide track.


It comes in different thicknesses. The trick is that the width mentioned is not accurate. For example, 1/4″ plywood is closer to 7/32″ thick. This is true for all plywood pieces. So, it’s a good idea to check the actual depth before you buy.

It is also sold in large sheets, either 4×8 feet or 2×4 feet. People prefer bigger sheets because they give you more wood for the money.


It’s a cheaper option than solid wood, especially if you need to cover a large area, like the sides of a cabinet. The quality of plywood can vary according to the cost. The edges don’t look nice, so they’re often covered up with something called edge banding.

Pressure Treated Lumber

It is used for outdoor construction projects, like building decks or fences. However, they are commonly treated with chemicals to help prevent rot and decay.

In the past, chemicals like arsenic were used to treat the wood. Hence, it is considered unsafe for indoor usage. Although such chemicals are no longer used some experts still advise to be careful.

As an alternative, it is best to paint with polyurethane to protect your project. Else, cedar wood can also be used as it naturally resists rot. But cedar is more expensive, so many people still use pressure-treated wood for outdoor projects.

Contacting the Lumber Yard

It is best to find a lumber yard you like. visit them and discuss your project. Ask questions about pricing and delivery options. Also, you can mention any special requirements that you may have.

Contacting the lumber yard staff can be helpful as well. They can assist you significantly in choosing the right materials for your project and address any queries you may have.

Placing Your Order

In the lumber world, there are some special words you might hear. Let me explain a few:

4/4 or 5/4

This shows how thick a piece of lumber wood is. Aside from this, it is measured in parts of an inch. For instance, “four-quarter” means it’s one inch wide. You can write it like 4/4, 5/4, and so on.

“Flat, rift or quartersawn”:

These words talk about how a log is cut into boards. Flatsawn boards often have a pattern that looks like a cathedral, while rift and quartersawn boards look straighter.


This is short for “surfaced 4 sides”. It means the board has been made flat on both faces and both edges. This usually means it costs more because extra work has been done to it.

What about boardfoot?

This helps calculate the volume of a piece of wood. Suppose a 12’ *12’ * 1’ square. That’s one board foot. To determine the number of board feet in a lumber wood, you need to multiply its width, length, and thickness. However, they all should be measured in inches. After that divide it by 144.


For example, if a board is 8 feet long, eight inches wide, and 2 inches thick, we can calculate it like this:

(96 x 8 x 2)/144 = 10.6 board feet.

On top of that, knowing the right terminologies can help you place the order properly.

Receiving and Inspecting Your Lumber:

Take time to sift through the lumber. See if there are any damages or defects. Make sure you have received the correct materials. If you notice any issues, ensure to contact the lumber yard right away so they can make it right.

How to Have A Smooth Ordering Experience?

  • Always communicate your requirements. Tell the helpers about your needs and expectations.
  • Check your order twice before confirming it to the store.
  • Ask people around or do your research, if you’re not sure about anything. Do not hesitate to ask.


This process can be made easy by careful planning and attention to detail. Understand the project needs then look into various lumber options available in the market. For best results, communicate properly with helpers at the designated store. You can also hire a Lumber Estimator and free yourself from this process.

These steps will help you choose the perfect lumber for your project even if you are new to this!