Go to How Not to Build an Addition Index! This page includes notes on lumber quality.


The frame is the skeleton of your house. It is the bare bones upon which your floors, walls, ceilings and roof must hang. To ensure the strongest and most durable structure possible, you should purchase the highest quality lumber, (for cheap people like myself, I will add the following caveat) at the lowest possible cost.

To assist you in this project, the lumber industry has set up a grading standard. They have a letter and number system by which they judge each board for strength, appearance, dryness and other factors. Rather than learn about lumber grades, it is easier to simply ask your lumber yard for "standard or better". This term is meant to describe boards good enough to use in the construction of a house. Yet you still might wish to examine the wood you are buying before having it delivered or loaded onto your pickup truck. I have made the mistake of not inspecting a purchase. When I unloaded my truck, I was confronted with wood that looked like it should have been shipped to Australia to be made into boomerangs.

Many warped boards can be straightened as they are applied. 1X4s and smaller are especially amenable to this treatment. However, a bent 2X6 is hopeless. It should be cut into smaller pieces or used as scrap, or if you have enough bad wood, try to swing a package deal with the Aussies.

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Lumber Quality
Circular Saw
Frame Construction
Sub Floor
Secret Passages
Ceilings and Roofs
Good Carpenters

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Introduction | Decision Making | Design | Permits | Buying Materials | Demolition | Digging | Masonry | Framing | Electricity | Plumbing | Inspections | Roofing | Sheathing / Siding | Soffits | Insurance | Insulation | Fat Fireman Rule | Drywall | Finish Carpentry | Tile | Painting | Carpet | Done

About the Author:
W.J. Rayment built an addition on his house, and in the course of the project learned from his many mistakes. This on-line compendium is his effort to help you learn from his experience. The advice and stories are often humorous, sometimes silly, but always informative. for yourself or as a gift for family or friends.

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