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Posted: 6/2/2003 12:52:23 AM EDT
I remember back when I was younger it was easy to go to your local lumber yard and get some good lumber. Now Home Depot and Lowe's have put all of the local places out of business here and their lumber is terrible. I'm building a couple of porches on my house and I spent about 5 hours at Home Depot going through all of the lumber to get some nice straight stock for framing it. I've about got one porch framed and all of my rafters are starting to warp and twist. Even my 4x8 header is bowing on me. It's so bad I may have to tear it all out and start over which I'm not looking forward to since I'm about 90% done with one 8'x30' section. When you look at the lumber in the stores here the majority of it is damp to the touch and weighs considerably more than it should from all of the moisture still in it. A friend of mine was telling me that where he lives the Home Depots and Lowes there have good dry seasoned lumber. So now I'm wondering if it's only the mill that supplies this area that is doing a bad job. Have any of you had problems like this with lumber you purchased recently or has it been decent stuff to work with? John
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 12:55:38 AM EDT
It varies greatly out here, but most of the large retail outlets are overpriced and of low quality.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 12:57:35 AM EDT
Same way here, at Home Depot at least. I went and bought some 2x4's when I was installing a rear garage door, and it took quite a bit of time to sift through the warped and twisted boards, I also noticed that the boards felt damp to the touch. Almost like they were "kiln-dried" and then rained on.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 1:03:02 AM EDT
That sounds about like the stuff I got. I'm in S. Calif. I guess it must differ depending on where you are in the country and what mill their lumber comes out of. The lumber manager here told me that all of the lumber they get now is either warped or does warp within a few days after the bands are cut off of it. He said the only way you can get anything good now is to order the kiln dried but that's all special order now and hard for them to get in. Too bad all of the small lumber yards are gone. They always seemed to carry better stuff. John
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 1:43:44 AM EDT
4X8 header? You don't use a 4X8 for an unsupported load bearing header. It will sag every time no matter where you buy it. It needs to be a laminated piece if it has much span. You would do much better with two or three 2X8s put together with liquid nails and screws or coated sinkers. If I missunderstood then disreguard please.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:18:34 AM EDT
When I was helping put together storage sheds all of the pressure treated wood was also damp. I thought it was from the arsenic treatment.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:30:07 AM EDT
Brother been building houses for 30 yrs, lumber, windows, appliances, almost anything he says, half has got to be returned. If you are trying to do it right, it is nothing but junk.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:34:36 AM EDT
The Lowes and Home Depots around here (Burbank and Glendale CA respectively) sell generally terrible lumber that's still green and over priced. I've noticed that Home Depot has slightly better stuff than Lowes though. Good thing there's Terry Lumber in Los Angeles and Burbank, and they have pretty decent lumber and their prices are pretty good too. Most of the reason for the green lumber is all the anti logging laws and such. They cut the younger trees down, saw them up, and barely let it dry before shipping it out to retail. Use engineered lumber wherever you can. It might be a little more expensive but it'd certainly be better than most any real lumber out there. All the stable, strong, decent old growth stuff is gone now and the man made stuff beats the new lumber almost all the time. Real lumber yards carry engineered lumber.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:49:57 AM EDT
Have you guys seen the trees they cut for lumber, they are not the huge honkers they use to cut, they are smaller trees, thats why all the knots.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 3:44:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By A_G: Use engineered lumber wherever you can. ...the man made stuff beats the new lumber almost all the time.
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Can someone elaborate? DrMark
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 3:48:28 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DrMark:
Originally Posted By A_G: Use engineered lumber wherever you can. ...the man made stuff beats the new lumber almost all the time.
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Can someone elaborate? DrMark
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I think he means sawdust and wood chips mixed with plastic, oops polymers.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 4:18:50 AM EDT
When I lived in Utah, we had the same situation there. The lumber is damp in the store and if you get it home and get it installed quickly, the warpage will be minimalized when it dries out. I've seen it warp badly in just a few hours. I got so frustrated with Lowes and HD that I started going to lumber yards and found better quality stuff there. Now that I live in NY, I see a much higher quality of lumber at the Home Depot here. The regular pine and southern yellow pine (you won't find it out west) they stock here is dry, seasoned, dense, and leaps and bounds better quality than the crap in Utah. They also have a nice selection of red oak, where in Utah they stocked just a few lengths and widths. I bought some fir 2 x 6 X 10's a few weeks ago to make saw horses with and they were better quality than I would have gotten out west for the same price. Why the difference? I don't know. Could be that the wood here in the east is just better quality or they buy from different suppliers.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 4:19:07 AM EDT
Use KDAT for your framing and trim and Hardi plank for your finish off Checkout trusjoist.com/ for top of the line straight and knot free wood
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 4:32:13 AM EDT
Cheap trees, man. The trees we're growing these days are cheap and grown by the lowest bidder. And then, they're grown only until they are economical to harvest and cut at that point, rather than left to grow to maturity. The trees are then cut into lumber and shipped straight to the stores without properly seasoning or acclimating the lumber. I'm saying this only PARTIALLY tongue in cheek. Lumber from tree farms IS given only minimal seasoning time before it gets to you. Better quality lumber comes from real forests, not planted ones, (due to age reasons, nothing is wrong with the tree itself) and after it's cut, the logs are seasoned for perhaps several years before the lumber is cut up. It's more stable that way. And of course, the stores like Lowe's and Home Depot are into selling stuff cheap, so they are more than happy to buy trainloads of cheap lumber. Most of it won't be used to construct houses anyway. Who cares if the fence you're making is going to warp like crazy? Certainly not the management at Lowe's or Home Depot, at least, not once they have your money! Ask a contractor where they get their lumber from, and they won't tell you Lowe's or Home Depot. CJ
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 4:56:43 AM EDT
Originally Posted By cyanide:
Originally Posted By DrMark:
Originally Posted By A_G: Use engineered lumber wherever you can. ...the man made stuff beats the new lumber almost all the time.
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Can someone elaborate? DrMark
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I think he means sawdust and wood chips mixed with plastic, oops polymers.
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Glock x 4's...?
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 5:00:32 AM EDT
Can someone explain why a 10' 2x4 costs less than the 8' 2x4s and is usually better quality? A lot of the wood at Lowes and Home Depot is new growth wood, it doesn't come from the older quality trees. When I compare the grain in the new wood with that of the grain of the wood in my 100 year old floors, the difference is very noticable. If you have to store the wood before you use it, make sure to store it flat. Don't lean it against a wall or it will bow. I learned that the hard way.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 7:14:21 AM EDT
Trees grown in a natural forest grow under more competitive circumstances. There are older trees shading them out so they grow tall before they grow thick and thry grow thick SLOWLY as there just aren't as many nutrients available as in a cultured forest/tree farm. In a tree farm, trees are spaced to provide good light and to prevent competition. They'll get more of their planted saplings to survive through to harvest. They will also grow to harvestable size faster. The wood growth rings will be wider as well, and the wood will be less dense and a bit weaker. Wood does not stabilize until it dries. Target dryness is between 7% or so and about 13%. The fastest way to reach this water content is in a kiln. Air dried lumber can take a year or more to dry properly. The proper way to dry lumber in a kiln is to staock it in layers with stickers in between and space between each piece so that drying air can circulate freely, or at least uniformly between pieces of wood. Kiln drying hardwoods can take 14 to 30 days or longer. A friend of mine owns a yard. They specialize in hardwoods and New England style architectural trim, beadboard, etc. They do not do dimensional construction lumber. In southern NH, the best lumberyard I know of is Reed's Ferry Lumber yard in Merrimack. When I was building houses, we had to reject very little of the Reed's Ferry lumber. With most modern construction lumber however, it is fairly important to get it built and sheathed to minimize twisting and warping. If I were to build a structure today that I knew I couldn't get sheathed fast, I would be inclined to get a sprayer set up with Boiled Linseed Oil, or Thompson's Water Seal and quickly spray down the framing to limit moisture movement a bit. Manufactured lumber is lumber made from oriented strand board and dimensional lumber. Typically an Engineered or manufactured floor joist is an I beam made from 2X4's forming the "flanges" of the I-beam (the top and bottom lines) and oriented Strand Board forming the upright. The glues used to make the strand board are several times stronger than the glue that holds wood fibers together. You don't want to leave the stuff exposed to the weather though or wood rot could cause the strand board to come apart. So If you cannot complete the job within the normal time required to complete a construction project, you NEED to protect those engineered lumber structures and materials. Paint, polyurethane, whatever, will all do the job. If you need to store the materials, place them on stickers to keep them off the ground and cover the materials with a waterproof tarp supported to allow air to move and reduce condensation. Engineered floor joists are MUCH stronger, stiffer and lighter than similar dimensional floor joists. Engineered lumber is really the hope for the future of building materials. They allow the use of materials that are marginal at best for traditional lumber (including scraps typically left in the forest) to produce superior building materials. It also allows the preservation of older growth forests, because the inferior wood from cultured tree farms is sufficient for the task. The biggest problem with modern construction is not materials however, it is the lack of craftsmanship in construction. There really is no excuse for walls out of square, plumb and level, improper application of house wrap materials, foundation damp proofing, failure to break off form rods and seal the holes with waterproof coatings, failure to leave sufficient structure when installing electrical and plumbing subsystems, etc. I've seen all of this in "premium" priced housing...which is why I am buying a 200+ year old house. I know it's overbuilt on a timber frame. You get what you pay for as a general rule. Buy at a discount store and you should expect to get discounted quality.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 7:19:04 AM EDT
The solution: DONT buy lumber from home depot or lowes. Buy it from a lumber yard.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 9:41:21 AM EDT
I got fed up up my local HD store when I was building a deck. I called the local lumber yard that my contractor used. They were the same price as HD and there wood was much better. For an extra $40 they sorted out the nice stuff and delivered it to my house. The place is Hale's lumber in Morgan Hill.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 1:54:00 PM EDT
I don't know if it is still true, but a few years ago you could only buy our best lumber oversea's. We Americans were not willing to pay the same wholesale prices for the best quality pieces. Business is business, and the best wood went offshore. I think it's abated a bit, but the net effect is that we are seeing a lot more wood int he stores that once would have been rejected.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:17:00 PM EDT
Home Depot where I live has stacks of dry lumber and stacks of green. Studs were a little knotty but not hard to find straight. Our contractor buys them and finds them acceptable. Not a big price difference IIRC. My cousin, who's really into fine wood only goes to a local Ganahl's, pricey but gets what he wants.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:22:13 PM EDT
Nightstalker, What part of Calif are you in? Neither the Home Depot or Lowes here in Victorville seperate their lumber in dry and green? Sounds like your store gets in better lumber than they do here. If they were to seperate it here into dry and green there'd be nothing for the dry pile. John
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:43:46 PM EDT
There is one small local lumber yard left in my area and I called them to see what kind of lumber I can get from them to replace all this junk on my porch with. They told me what I can expect is green, wet lumber that will crack on me and will twist and warp if it's not used within 2 - 3 days of purchase. That's no better than what Home Depot has. I talked to the lumber manager at Home Depot and he told me that the lumber I got is the very best they can get and everyone has the same problem. His recommendation is to buy the lumber, lay it on a flat driveway for 24 hours to allow it to dry. Then get the project framed in 1 - 2 days to hopefully minimize the shrinking. They've agreed to take back all of my unused lumber and some of the material that I did use. This sure makes me sick though to have to tear down the majority of an 8x30 porch and start all over but there's no other choice. Anyone got any ideas on what to do to the 4x8 header to minimize cracking and warping? I'm thinking of treating it with boiled linseed oil or possibly painting it with epoxy based primer as soon as I get it home. Hopefully that will help some. Unfortunately the city building department won't let me use a laminated beam unless it's purchased that way so doing one myself won't work. John
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 2:46:56 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 5:06:33 PM EDT
Originally Posted By pilot4x4: Nightstalker, What part of Calif are you in? Neither the Home Depot or Lowes here in Victorville seperate their lumber in dry and green? Sounds like your store gets in better lumber than they do here. If they were to seperate it here into dry and green there'd be nothing for the dry pile. John
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Huntington Beach store on Warner. I can't vouch for the others nearby in Costa Mesa as I've bought no lumber there. The green stuff is cold, heavy, and wet. Seems like it weights twice what the dry does.
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 6:59:19 PM EDT
Ah, engineered lumber - thanks for the info. That's the stuff used for the floor joints of my present house. DrMark
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 7:04:23 PM EDT
What the lumber companies are doing now is using altered trees so they grow faster and as a by product, weaker. They also rush the lumber through the kilns and to the shelves. If you want nice stuff, and have some extra cash, have them order you #1 pine lineage. Keving67
Link Posted: 6/2/2003 8:03:28 PM EDT
My wife works for one of the largest timber companies in the US. She said "Maybe you should pay the extra and get finger joints"! Not the weed kind![:D] She said it is a lot stronger! Check them out! Let me know if I [or she] can help you anymore. That man-made plastic stuff is the "Hesse" of the lumber world! BigDozer66
Link Posted: 6/3/2003 1:07:18 AM EDT
Originally Posted By rain: I don't know if it is still true, but a few years ago you could only buy our best lumber oversea's. We Americans were not willing to pay the same wholesale prices for the best quality pieces. Business is business, and the best wood went offshore.
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I heard that as well, perhaps 10 years ago or so. In fact, the story was the best West Coast wood went to Japan. And supposedly, and perhaps this is an urban legend, the Japanese had milling ships anchored in local harbors so they could mill the wood themselves and deny the jobs to the locals. In effect, the US was a 3rd-world supplier of raw wood to Japan.
Link Posted: 6/3/2003 5:32:44 PM EDT
They would mill it and ship it right back to the US with no import or export tariffs! BigDozer66
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