Important Things to Know about SPF Lumber

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If you visit your local home centre’s lumber section, you may come across SPF lumber, which is the most construction-grade lumber available. The SPF stamp indicates the species of the lumber. It stands for spruce, pine, and fir, which refer to any of these kinds of coniferous trees grown and harvested in different regions in North America, mainly Canada and some U. S regions.  The SPF lumber sold in stores and lumberyards may include lumber from U. S.-grown trees. 

All the trees compromising the SPF category product high-grade timber with small tight knots and a colour that ranges from white to pale yellow.  But, some SPF low grade timber may also be available at lumberyards or home centres. 

Easter vs Western Species

Western species SPF lumber is obtained from white spruce, Alpine fir, Lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce. It is available in bigger sizes due to the general climate and the logs’ size. Eastern species SPF lumber is derived from Black spruce, white spruce, Red spruce, Balsam fir trees, and Jack pine. It grows slowly and produces wood with excellent strength properties. 

Uses of SPF Lumber

SPF lumber is used for single and multi-family home construction, crating and packaging, commercial construction, and furniture framing. Its strength-to-weight ratio and competitive pricing make it the ideal choice for those who frame wood for furniture, commercial buildings, houses, trusses, and apartments. 

Wood framing is durable and economical. Studies and testing have shown that wood frames stand up to tough climates and conditions Wood-frame construction offers benefits such as dependable grading system, durability, quick construction, affordability, compliance with building codes. Countries in Europe and Asia are also starting to use SPF when replacing old and damaged housing constructed through different methods.

Wood Grades

SPF lumber from Canada is graded based on the rules of the National Lumber Grades Authority. The most common grade for framing and dimensional lumber is #2 SPF. This grade is also used in home and commercial construction, together with #3 and stud grade lumber. The majority of manufacturing projects use #2, #3, economy, and stud grade lumber. The perfect wood grade for trusses and other structural engineering is SPF MSP or Machine Stress Related lumber. 

The market for SPF lumber is constantly changing. The supply out of Canada has significantly reduced because wildfires, log costs, beetle kills, and tariffs implied on the Canadian producers, but traders contact their mill partners constantly to best match demand with production.