Following up on our previous post, we’re going to continue explaining the possible options you have if you prefer North American standard thicknesses. As we’ve explained, the North American penchant for thinner boards is actually unique within the global lumber market. As we continue to explore this issue, we’ll discuss how it specifically relates to decking lumber.
Understanding Decking Lumber Thicknesses
As you shop around for decking lumber, you may notice something odd about the pricing for various thicknesses: within the same species and grade, decking lumber in 5/4 thickness will often be priced higher than 6/4. The same strange situation is often the case with 10/4 boards, compared to 12/4. Like the situation with shorter, even-length decking boards we discussed previously, this pricing is due to the fact that the boards are first milled to the larger size; if you order the thinner version, it will require added time and labor — along with producing waste.
Determining Decking Lumber Norms
Because of the disparity between the North American preference for thinner decking lumber compared to the global demand for thicker stock, the situation leaves you with a couple of choices, none of which you’ll find ideal. But you still have choices regarding the most advantageous place at which the added cost of resawing will be absorbed. This can be done originally at the sawmill, especially if you’re in a place to order a complete shipment and you have your own potential for resawing or could use the Common grade stock that would come as a by product of your thinner decking lumber order. If you choose a supplier with an in-house millworks, such as J. Gibson McIlvain, you could request resawing. As you determine which avenue will be most suitable, we’ll be glad to discuss your options further.
Realizing Decking Lumber Thickness Issues
Regardless of where you determine will be the best place to absorb the higher costs of thinner lumber, the issue remains, As counter-intuitive as it seems, thicknesses such as 4/4, 5/4, and 10/4 will cost more than their thicker counterparts. But there’s more. Door and window manufacturers here in the U.S. can’t use 4/4 lumber or 8/4 lumber; the result is a market for thicknesses between those two: 5/4, 6/4, and 7/4. For decking, this means that 1” and 5/4 boards are largely available. These thicker boards are conducive to stability, particularly in harsh climates with extreme swings in temperature and moisture level.
In our next post, we’ll evaluate the issues connected with plus-size decking, which is only 2 mm thicker than a typical thickness of ¾”.
Continue reading with Part 5.