Things to Ensure During Lumber Acquisition for Construction Projects

Lumber does wonders for construction projects in architectural and structural components. But before acquiring them for any given project, contractors and others necessitate different considerations. These majorly include its specifications. It can be attained through lumber takeoff against the project’s design. It is made through an estimation process by (experts called) estimators. After estimating details, the ones who are acquiring the material need to ensure certain things. These are related to the condition of the materials (quality assurance).

Lumber – Nature and Characteristics

Lumber comes from nature and thus shares a lot of properties with their source. Full-grown trees are processed physically thus they carry on same characteristics. Simply put, these characteristics are:

  • They are made out of organic matter. As plants are carbon-based lifeforms so is lumber or timber. Thus, it includes organic qualities. Anything that can affect organic matter can affect it. It concerns almost the same amount of force to cut and perform other functions.
  • The material shares the color of the trees concerned. This can be white to pale yellow and rich brown to deep chocolate color. However, it can be changed into the intended color through different finishing materials available.
  • Trees have a strong intercellular matrix and so does the processed material. It makes it stiff and unbendable. This only limits it to cutting and pressing. This is carried through some simple and complex tools.
  • It carries the smell of the tree from its unprocessed form. Since the material is made just by physical processing it does not change chemical conditions even the slightest. This smell is very pleasing but it can be masked into the desired smell or no smell.
  • The material carries a tendency to get attracted by wildlife particularly insects even after the processes. Since the processing does not change the chemical composition, it still includes nutrients needed to house life.
  • They are inherently warm and comfortable. This too comes from trees and the lives they hold around them in the wild. After they are cut and processed, they are ready for usage in the required shapes but have the inherent warmth.
  • The final lumber products are made through rubbing, grinding, and cutting. Thus, they can not be made more than the available tree trunks and lesser.
  • The pieces are made into both set measurements and custom as per the need. Both may be made through certain sets of tools and machines. These tools and machines carry out the processes and deliver the set outcomes.

These are some of the characteristics of lumber as a construction material. These give way to aspects or things to look at in the material before acquiring them. Thus, there are things to check and ensure in the available material before acquiring. This is good for quality assurance.

Things to Ensure in the Material

Before the contractor or the one acquiring material makes his decision, he needs to make sure that the material is fit for the job. This is carried through some considerations. These are:

There are no wind cracks

Lumber or timber is prone to high winds. It can cause shrinkage to the pieces and crack its outer surface. This vulnerable wood is not appropriate and usage and thus the one acquiring needs to ensure that the material is free of wind cracks.

No shake in the material

The material is also prone to shakes (cracks). These can be five patterns any of these can damage fibers. The acquirer needs to make sure that the materials are free of any sort of shakes or cracks to deliver the required outcome.

Purging of ring galls

Trees are living beings that grow without any set patterns. They can grow in direction. This is often carried through expert care. They can have abnormal growth (this is called ring galls). This growth can also result from incorrect removal of logs. There is a possibility of growth even after incorrect removal. Its absence too is needed to be ensured.

Checking for chemical stain

The color of timber is an important part of its usage and functioning. This color needs to be its actual manner to have the right output. But it can be different through some conditions such as chemical gas. It leaves a chemical stain on the material. This can be devastating for usage and therefore acquirer needs to make sure that the material is clean of any such stain.

Taking care of sap stain

Like chemical gas, moisture too can badly devastate the color of the material. If the amount of moisture increases a quarter of the whole material, it results in sap stain. This too needs to be checked and avoided. 

Identifying the knots

The most common problem with timber (the material) is knots. They form in trees due to died-off branches; which are later passed on to the processed material. Although they are capable of giving some additional outlook for the material, it is best not to have them. While tight knots are better than loose knots.

Coarse grain in the material

Like knots and shakes, coarse grains are also important. These form in material with time. In other words, they identify the age of the wood. As older wood is not a good option, contractors and others need to ensure that there are none.

Eliminating ones with dry rot and wet rot

The material (timber) is prone to both wet and dry rotting. Rotting is concerned with wood-eating fungi. In the case of dry rot fungi are associated with dryness while in the case of wet rot fungi are associated with dampness. Before acquiring both need to be checked in the material.

Appearance for brown and white Rot

As fungi can affect the composition in dry and wet rot, it can also affect the color of the material. This happens as it consumes too much sugar (cellulose). This can partially change the color to brown or white. This change damaging to look at and thus avoided during acquisition. 

Check for insects

In addition to fungi, the material can be infested with different insects such as termites, beetles, and marine borers. Their infestation is hazardous and thus the material without them needs to be picked.

These are some of the things to ensure before acquiring lumber for any construction project or any other usage. (To understand its usage in construction projects, contractors can have construction estimating services). 


Lumber or timber is a vibrant construction material. It is used for vast sorts of usage in construction projects and other usages. But before acquiring it, contractors and others need to know the right information for intended results. Among this information includes its specification as per the need and some other quality assurances. The article includes some of these assurances briefly.


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