LUMBER GRADING

  • BALSAM FIRBALSAM FIR GRADE #2 OR BETTER

Balsam-Fir-Grade-2-or-Better

  • PINEPINE GRADE #2 OR BETTER

Pine Grade # 2 or Better

  • PINE GRADE #3 UTILITY

Pine Grade #3 Utility

  • WHITE SPRUCEWHITE SPRUCE GRADE #2 OR BETTER

White Spruce Grade # 2 or Better

 

  • WHITE SPRUCE GRADE #3 UTILITY

White Spruce Grade #3 Utility

Alberta’s vast forests provide approximately 30 million cubic meters of wood each year. Less than 1% of our total forested landbase is harvested annually and all harvested areas must be replanted using effective reforestation practices.  Softwood species, including white and black spruce, lodgepole and jack pine and balsam fir, comprise almost 2/3 of the harvested volume. The remaining volume is composed of hardwood species, including trembling aspen, balsam poplar and white birch.

OVERVIEW OF THE MOST COMMON LUMBER GRADES IN ALBERTA:

Grading relates to the end use of a piece of lumber, a specific grade requires a certain level of strength and appearance.

DIMENSION LUMBER (2-4” THICK & 2”OR MORE WIDE)

Dimension Lumber Usage & General Descriptions Grades

Light Framing (2-4” wide lumber) – for general construction where high strength values are not needed

  • Construction

  • Standard

  • Utility

  • Economy

Structural light framing (2-4” wide lumber) – for applications where higher bending strength ratios are important (e.g. roof trusses)

SELECT STRUCTURAL

  • No.1

  • No.2

  • No.3

Minimum defects, straight, high visual quality lumber

J-Grade

Applications requiring high performance strength characteristics

Machine Stress Rated (MSR)

Structural Joists and Planks (5”and wider lumber) – where high strength value is needed (e.g. floor joists)

SELECT STRUCTURAL

  • No.1

  • No.2

  • No.3

Studs – for applications where strength is important such as vertical use in load bearing walls

Stud

 

To minimize sorting cost grades may be marketed as a group, rather than individually. For example, there is an appearance difference between No.1 and No.2 Canadian dimension lumber but not a strength difference. Therefore the product mix No.2 and better (or #2 & BTR) is commonly used where the appearance characteristics of No.1 grade lumber is not required.

As well, many lumber mills produce customer grades to meet end user specific needs (e.g, Home Centre grade, Appearance grade). These grades vary by mill and are often proprietary, and are not identified here.

Source: AFPA Making the Grade, Lumber Grading Theory Training, Learner’s Workbook