Most of Alberta’s dimension lumber is in the spruce, pine, fir (SPF) species grouping. Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber is well known for its light weight yet high strength, stability, straightness, attractive white appearance and outstanding working properties. It is easy to work with, takes and holds nails exceptionally well, and has excellent staining, painting and glueing properties.
It is sold as kiln dried or heat treated, ready to meet customer’s demands as well as international phytosanitary (pest and pathogen) and export requirements. Lumber can be purchased rough or surfaced [planed to smooth surface on one side (S1S), two sides (S2S) or four sides (S4S)]. Dimension lumber is available in both standard building sizes used in construction and specific sizes for such products as beams, posts, decking and fence boards. Lumber and timbers can also be pressure treated to ensure lasting enjoyment in outdoor applications such as siding, decks and fences.
Dimension lumber is produced in a variety of grades, from economy to high-end structural. These are consistently graded according to National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) standards. Proprietary grades including specific appearance attributes are produced by Alberta mills based on supplier and customer needs, relationships and agreements.
Machine stress-rated (MSR) lumber, produced in a number of grade categories, is used for applications that require defined strength as measured by stiffness and density. Products such as wood truss rafters, laminating stock, I-beams and web joists require predictable and dependable MSR. While MSR lumber does command a price premium, its use in applications where strength is important can be more economical than visually graded lumber as it avoids over building with larger dimensions.
The capacity to produce finger-jointed lumber is also available in Alberta. Fingerjointed lumber is manufactured by taking shorter pieces of lumber, machining the ends, and bonding them together to produce the desired length. The resulting product is often straighter and more stable, making it the product of choice for doorjambs, mouldings, studs or engineered wood products such as I-joists.