The uses for lumber in construction are many, and despite the advance of technology, it’s still the most popular construction material in much of the world. Lumber is simply sawn wood, but there are some types of wood that are better for construction than others.

What Makes the Best Lumber?

Most lumber is made from softwood trees. These are usually coniferous trees such as pine or spruce. Contractors prefer softwoods because they mature faster than hardwood trees such as oak and are less expensive. At the same time, softwood is strong and durable. Lumber used for construction is yard lumber, which is graded and placed into categories depending on the size and number of knots the wood contains.

How Lumber Is Used in Construction

Many people have seen the bare framework of a house before it is covered in insulation and cladding but aren’t sure what all that lumber is or what it does. Starting at the roof, there’s:

Roofing Lumber

The ridge-board, which is the long element found at the peak of a roof. Rafters, parallel pieces of lumber that support the roof, are attached to it.

Besides the ridge-board and rafters, sloped roofs also have king posts, which are in the center of the roof and held in lace by metal gussets, smaller queen posts, struts, cornices and eaves, which are the lower edges of the roof that project beyond the wall.

Studs, Beams and Joists

The top plate is the topmost horizontal piece of lumber on a wall made of stud framing. Studs are vertical 2 x 3, 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 pieces placed at regular intervals in the walls. Some buildings are built using the stud framing technique, which distributes the building’s structural load onto groupings of studs. It is different from the post and beam method where a few pieces of strong posts and beams are used to support the whole building.

A cripple is a short stud that’s found above or below the opening of a door or a window, while cats are small pieces of lumber fixed between two studs to reinforce them. Jack studs are found on both sides of a window, door or other fenestration and support the header. The header is a heavy piece of timber found above the top of the opening. It’s usually made of two standard boards nailed together and laid on edge.

A sole plate is a horizontal piece of lumber that lies the bottom of a stud partition. It’s called a sill plate if it rests on a foundation. The top plate is the topmost horizontal piece of lumber of a stud frame wall, while the king studs are found at both ends of the header and help support it. King studs run from the sole plate to the top plate.

Beams are simply horizontal supports. Fascia boards are also horizontal, and they’re attached to the outer ends of rafters. They can also be attached to the top of an outside wall.

Joists are horizontal pieces of lumber that hold up the floors or the ceiling. A brace is a diagonally placed piece of timber.

Lumber Helpers

Some construction workers use splines, which are thin pieces of wood that fit into slots on the edges of two joined pieces of lumber. This strengthens the joint. A shim is also a thin piece of wood that’s inserted to make sure that an element is level or plumb. Builders also use story poles, which are poles with lines marked in them that allow the workers to check the height of the building materials on a construction job. This saves them having to bring out a tape measure every time. They also use furring, which are lightweight pieces of lumber that even up a wall or ceiling to prepare them for paneling.

Other Uses of Lumber in Construction

Besides the framing of the building, lumber is also used for siding, flooring, paneling and for built-ins. Cladding, for example, are the planks, shingles, shakes or boards that form the outside skin of the building. Roofing shingles can also be made of wood, though this is becoming less and less common. Cladding and roofing shingles are usually nailed to the sheathing, which in turn is fastened to studs or rafters.

If your company is looking for construction materials in Oklahoma, contact Security Building Services and Building Supply Tulsa today! Call us at (918) 663-6272 to speak to a qualified lumber expert.

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Further reading:

Commonly Used Construction Materials and Their Uses – Building Supply of Tulsa

There are many different types of building materials involved in constructing a house or building. Learn more about construction materials and building supplies with Security Building Service and Supply of Tulsa.