Wood is used for many purposes in our daily lives, from the furniture we sit on to the homes and buildings where we live and work. The lumber industry transforms the trees growing in forests into the lumber used for these important purposes, and almost 100 percent of each tree harvested is turned into a useful product.
Lumber is one of the most abundant resources on our planet. This means it is relatively easy for retailers to find good sources of wholesale lumber, but there is also such a great variety available that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Know The Types Of Lumber
Before you purchase wholesale lumber as a retailer, it is useful to have some background knowledge of the different types that are available. There are two main categories of lumber: hardwoods and softwoods.
Softwood lumber is obtained from conifer trees such as cedar, spruce, pine and fir. These types of wood are soft enough that you can dent them with your fingernail. Softwood absorbs and loses moisture easier than hardwood, so it requires extra care to maintain its stability.
Softwood lumber tends to be more affordable because the conifer trees it comes from grow back faster than hardwood. It is used mainly in construction, such as for framing a house or building a deck. This is also the type of lumber that many people use for DIY projects, so it is a type of lumber that retailers should keep in stock.
Softwood lumber has three classifications: Yard, Structural, and Shop and Factory.
Yard lumber is used for general building and construction and is graded with a numbered classification. The highest quality is given the No. 1 Common classification, indicating that it has a few small knots at most.
Wood designated as No. 2 Common has bigger knots and is used for shelving and paneling, while No. 3 Common has bigger knots and may be damaged or blemished but is suited for boxes, crates and fences.
Select Yard Lumber has few or no knots and is considered more attractive than Common lumber. It is used for projects that will have natural and painted finishes. C Select is nearly fully free of defects and is used for cabinets and interior trims, while D Select has a fine appearance but may contain dime-sized knots.
Structural lumber is the category in which you will find the 2x4s and other “two-by” types of wood that are familiar to many Americans. The thickness and width are standard, but the length varies. This type of lumber can fall under one of seven categories, which include Light Framing, Structural Light Framing, Studs, Structural Joists and Planks, Beams and Stringers, Posts and Timbers, and Appearance Framing.
Shop And Factory Lumber
Shop and factory lumber is wood that has been selected for re manufacturing purposes and is intended to be used in non-structural applications. This might include boxes, molding, ladders, doors and pencils.
Hardwood lumber is obtained from deciduous trees, which are broad-leaved trees whose leaves fall in colder months.
These include oak, walnut, mahogany, hickory and maple. Hardwoods are, as the name implies, significantly harder than softwood.
They also take more time to grow to maturity, which means their lumber is significantly more expensive than softwood. This type of wood is suited to constructing furniture and cabinetry, flooring and fine woodworking.
Plywood is a type of wood that is made by layering thin pieces of wood veneer, or “piles”, that are strong and lightweight yet rigid, making it well suited to construction jobs such as flooring, siding and roofing. It can span across large distances without bending and is unlikely to crack all the way through.
Plywood comes in four categories, and the right choice largely depends on the intended use.
- Exterior plywood is fully waterproof and is ideal for applications that will be permanently exposed to moisture and other weather conditions.
- Exposure 1 has a fully waterproof bond between the layers but is not suited to permanent exposure to moisture and weather.
- Exposure 2 is an interior type of plywood featuring an intermediate bond. It is used for protected construction applications where there may be a slight amount of moisture.
- Interior, as the name implies, is only suited to use indoors.
Plywood is generally graded from A to D, with A having a smooth and paintable surface ideal for projects like cabinets, and D having larger knots and knotholes.
Softwood and plywood are vulnerable to rotting due to fungus and water, so these woods are often pressure treated using chemicals that can help to preserve the wood and provide it with other useful properties that make it safer and longer lasting. Below is an overview of some of the most popular treated lumber and plywood products retailers should consider.
Exterior Fire-X is a fire-retardant, pressure-impregnated type of lumber and plywood that gives fire protection to products that will be exposed to humid and hot outdoor environments, although it can also be used indoors. It is commonly used for scaffolding, trim, roof sheathing, siding and fascia, among other applications, and it can be painted or stained.
Copper Azole Treated Lumber
Copper Azole (CA) Treated Lumber is a type of lumber that has been pressure treated using a copper-based preservative that makes its way through the cellular structure of the wood to offer long-lasting resistance to termites, rotting and decay. This type of lumber is odorless and non-staining, and it is safe for humans, animals and the environment.
PYRO-GUARD is a type of plywood and lumber that has been treated with a fire retardant according to the International Code Counsel Evaluation Service’s (ICC-ES) control procedures.
It is commonly used for exterior projects that may be exposed to dampness and high humidity as well as interior structural applications. When exposed to fire, water and a non-combustible gas will form, along with a layer of heatproof char that can stop the wood from sustaining further damage.
Micro-Guard plywood and lumber has been pressure-treated to give it protection against fungal decay, corrosion and termites. It is suited to a broad range of general construction projects and has a more natural look than some other types of copper-treated wood.
Choosing A Wholesale Lumber Supplier
It is important to choose a wholesale lumber company that has a good reputation in the industry in order to get items of the highest quality. Moreover, a reputable wholesale lumber supplier will have knowledgeable staff who can provide valuable guidance when you are selecting wood for resale.
If you cannot get any recommendations from word of mouth, look at online reviews and explore the websites of the lumber yards you are considering. This may require a bit of research, and you might also need to visit prospective suppliers to determine which one will be the best fit for you as a retailer.
Outlined below are some of the other factors to consider when choosing a wholesale lumber supplier.
Look Into The Ecological Impact
Be sure to choose a company that is operating in a way that does not harm the environment. The right lumber supplier will be taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment and will be happy to explain how they are protecting the planet. Your customers may ask if the lumber you sell comes from responsible suppliers, so it is important to look into this aspect.
Do Your Research
As a retailer, your time is valuable, so you will want to make sure your conversations and visits with your wholesale lumber suppliers are as efficient as possible. Carry out some research ahead of time and ensure you have the basic required information about your order, such as measurements, quantity and budget.
Price is a big concern when you are trying to maximize profit as a retailer. Make sure you know the market price for the lumber you need; check various suppliers and compare their prices and other charges. Keep in mind that although higher-quality wood often comes at a premium, a higher price does not automatically guarantee that a particular product is better.
Know Your Customers
It is important to have a good idea of what your customers tend to buy before you head to a wholesale lumber supplier. It may be helpful to compile some information about your past sales and the types of projects your customers are buying lumber for to help guide your buying decision. The supplier’s staff will also be able to provide some help in this area.
Inspect The Lumber
When you visit a lumber yard in person, you will have the opportunity to check out the displays and touch and feel the wood that is being sold. This is a useful way for you to get an idea of the quality on offer and observe whether a supplier is using proper storage methods.
Ask About New Products
Your customers will likely be interested in the latest products, so be sure to ask whether your supplier has anything new in stock. Most wholesale lumber yards get new products in stock fairly regularly. Even if you are not prepared to start stocking these items, you may be able to have your salespeople mention them to clients to gauge potential interest in case you want to start stocking them in the future.
Protect Your Lumber
Storing lumber properly is essential to protect it from warping or bowing. The lumber you purchase could sit on your store shelves for quite some time before it is sold, so you will want to ensure that it is protected.
Keep it in a cool and dry location if possible. If space allows, stack the lumber horizontally, leaving room for air to circulate around it.
Keep it away from direct light, and do not store it directly on the ground. If it must be kept outside, use tarps to protect it from the rain, wind and sun.
Reach Out To The Lumber and Plywood Specialists
If you are a retailer looking for a reliable source of high-quality wholesale lumber, get in touch with the lumber specialists at Curtis Lumber & Plywood. We offer a comprehensive stock of many of the most popular lumber products on the market today as well as a long list of specialty products to ensure all your bases are covered.