What to Look For in Timber Products for Home Improvement Projects

Lawrence Kim

When you shop for timber products for a home improvement project, all that wood in the store may look exactly the same to you. This can make it difficult to understand why there are so many different prices and categories for that timber, and make it difficult to choose the right type for your particular project.

It's never good to go by price alone when you're choosing timber products. Before you buy any timber for home improvement, whether those are studs or plywood, note a few considerations to keep in mind.

1. Grades

Timber products are graded, usually either from A to D or from 1 to 4. The highest grade of timber product will be without surface flaws such as knots or dents, whereas the lowest grade may have several flaws that are very visible. If you're putting up plywood over attic insulation and don't care about the appearance, a lower grade will suffice.

However, for plywood in interior rooms, you want to invest in the highest grade and best appearance you can afford. Some will have two grades; one for the front and one for the back of the timber. You can invest in these to save money and have the highest grade facing the outside wall for interior rooms.

2. Codes

When doing any home renovation project, you need to check if there are building codes that affect the project. Putting up plywood over attic insulation may not be covered by codes, but if you move walls in your home, this can affect the strength of the structure and in turn, there may be building codes to note.

These codes may include the type of timber product you need to use for that work; this is for your safety. Those codes may include the grade and other specifications needed for studs especially. For roofs, subfloors, and for load-bearing walls, you need to ensure you're using the type of timber product specified by the building code as these will be strong enough to support your home's weight.

3. Waterproofing

Many timber products are mixed with adhesives or may have a veneer applied, to help to improve their strength and keep them waterproof. If you're building around plumbing pipes or are looking for studs for a new deck, you need to note if the timber is pressed with adhesives to keep out water and make it impervious to weather. This will ensure your project is not subject to mold or mildew and the wood doesn't rot in a few year's time.