When you want to use wood in the structure of your home, you cannot simply visit your local DIY store and pick the first pieces of wood that you see. Structural work in your home will require structural timber if you want your home to remain safe for everyone. Any timber in a load-bearing role must have been graded and approved so that you know that it is capable of bearing that weight for a sustained period of time.
What is structural timber grading?
While to the uninitiated all timber might appear the same, that is far from true. Some timber will snap when only a minimum of weight is applied to it, while another timber is strong enough to be used for almost any purpose in your home. When you visit a timber yard, you will find that the structural timber has been graded so you can know what weight it can bear according to the established building regulations. The structural timber may have been graded by machine or it could have been subject to a visual inspection to assess the appropriate grade.
Which types of wood can be structural timber?
The majority of structural timber that you find at the timber yard will be softwoods, although if you are seeking a particularly high strength piece of structural timber, then you might need to source that from a hardwood instead. Hardwoods are often available in longer lengths than softwoods and will normally be more durable and offer greater strength as well. If you are looking for something a little different, then instead of using traditional hardwood or softwood, you could think about employing a timber laminate instead. A laminate is often stronger than a natural wood product since any knots and similar defects will be removed and not used in the finished piece of laminate.
Visiting the timber yard
At first glance, a timber yard might seem a little overwhelming with different pieces of wood piled high all around you. After a few minutes, you should be able to work out where the products you require are located. If you are unsure whether you have found the right structural timber for your needs, then ask the staff at the timber yard. They will be able to show you how the graded timber is marked and make sure that you can find exactly what you need to complete your building project safely.