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CedarOne Western Red Cedar Decking Lumber

Finding the Right Lumber

Not sure whether you need hardwood or softwood, heavy or light wood, a dark grain with a light finish or a light grain with a dark finish? Let The Home Depot Lumber Buying Guide help. No matter what you're building, we have the lumber you need.

Hardwood Lumber

Hardwoods are derived from deciduous trees and come in either closed or open grains. The beautiful grain and hue of hardwood lumber makes it suitable for many projects from furniture and cabinetry to flooring and decorative mouldings.

Species availability varies by store.

Red Oak

Colour: Pink/reddish brown to blonde.

Widely popular, Red Oak is used in furniture, flooring, cabinets, mouldings, panelling, doors and fence posts. This wood features medium bending strength and great endwise compression resistance. Due to its consistent colour it matches existing profiles and other Oak products well. Red Oak soaks up stains due to its porous nature and offers a wide variety of finish tones.

Red Oak Hardwood Lumber


Colour: Sapwood is creamy white to off white; heartwood may be slightly red/brown.

Valued for its light colour, dense grain and resistance to abrasive wear, Maple is a crowd favourite. It is a very hard, heavy and strong wood. This wood is used for furniture, flooring, cabinets, mouldings, stairs, handrails, panelling and doors. Maple has an excellent natural finish and accepts stains very well.

Maple Hardwood Lumber


Colour: Sapwood is white to yellow; heartwood is straw brown to green.

Due to its high resistance to splitting, Poplar is an ideal material for children's playground structures. This lower cost alternative to other hardwoods is used in light construction, furniture, cabinets, doors, siding, panelling and mouldings. Poplar will accept stain but darker stains are recommended due to the heartwood's repelling absorption.

Poplar Hardwood Lumber

Mixed Grain Fir

Colour: Brown and golden

The unique appearance of Mixed Grain Fir is ideal for stain grade projects that highlight the natural grain in the wood, as each piece has its own distinct pattern.

Mixed Grain Fir Hardwood Lumber


Colour: Sapwood is creamy white to yellow; heartwood is light reddish brown to pink.

Birch is hard, strong and heavy, and used most commonly for cabinets, furniture, flooring, millwork and interior doors. It has good bending and crushing strength, and its fine uniform texture and straight-grain accepts stain well.

Birch Hardwood Lumber

Softwood Lumber

Softwoods typically come from coniferous or evergreen trees. They are harvested mainly for construction. Softwood lumber has a closed grain, which makes it less likely to absorb water. Grain is determined by the size and amount of pores in a tree; the straighter the grain, the stronger the wood.

Western Red Cedar

Colour: Sapwood is straw-coloured; heartwood may be pink/reddish-brown to dark chocolate brown.

Western Red Cedar is noted for its beauty, versatility, aroma and durability. Its natural resistance to moisture, decay, and insect damage makes it perfect for outdoor environments. It is dimensionally stable and its straight grain resists twisting, warping, cupping, deforming, and shrinking. Cedar easily accepts a range of finishes from fine oils and stains, to solid coatings and paint, or it can be left untreated to weather naturally. This lightweight wood is easy to use and install.

Western Red Cedar Softwood Lumber


Colour: Sapwood is creamy white; heartwood is pale reddish brown.

The aroma and numerous knots of pine are unmistakable. The knots are generally small and remain intact. This straight-grain wood is even in texture, lightweight, soft and strong. Pine is most commonly used for cabinets, furniture, moulding and doors.

Pine Softwood Lumber

SPF (Spruce, Pine and Fir)

Colour: Sapwood is blonde; heartwood is yellowish- to reddish-brown.

Also known as white woods, SPF are the most common western softwoods used in construction. They are abundant and possess excellent qualities for building. Light and natural stains are recommended for these species as dark stains produce a wild grain for uneven colouring. Since Spruce Pine and Douglas Fir have similar characteristics they have been combined into one grade for buying and selling.

SPF (Spruce, Pine and Fir) Softwood Lumber

Pressure Treated Lumber

Pressure treated lumber is the most economical means of building your deck or fence. It is designed for long-term performance in outdoor applications and therefore requires high quality corrosion-resistant nails, screws, other fasteners, hardware and any metal product.

The preservative on pressure treated lumber resists the wood against fungal and insect decay, as well as moisture from exposure. ProGuard™ preserved wood products undergo strict quality standards to ensure the wood is treated properly to provide maximum protection; they are available exclusively at The Home Depot.

When building your outdoor project with pressure treated lumber, it is important to protect the cut ends of boards. All cuts and holes that expose untreated wood should be liberally brush-coated with an end-cut preservative (copper naphthenate in ground contact or zinc naphthenate above ground) before the wood is installed.

Pressure Treated Lumber

Dimensional Framing Lumber

Dimensional framing lumber is used for building wood structures such as: wall, floor and roof systems; load-bearing construction; framing and structural support. Its nominal thickness is at least 2" and its nominal width is at least 2". Different sizes of dimensional lumber are used for different parts of a structure. Lumber used to support a portion of a structure's weight must be the right size and grade to bear that load.

Dimensional lumber is classified as: joist, post, beam and stud.

Dimensional Lumber: Joist


A joist is one of a series of parallel beams used to support a floor or ceiling. Joists are in turn supported by larger beams, girders or load-bearing walls.

Dimensional Lumber: Post


A post is an upright column that carries a load placed on its end. Posts are placed under beams and are available most commonly in 4" x 4" or 6" x 6" sizes.

Dimensional Lumber: Beam


A beam is a structural member that is at least 5" in width and 2" in thickness and is placed horizontally to carry a load along its length.

Dimensional Lumber: Stud


A stud is a vertical framing member used to construct walls and is no smaller than 2" x 2" and no larger than 2" x 6".

Our Millstead dimensional framing lumber meets the highest grading standards for strength and appearance. It is straighter and smoother, with virtually no bark, warp or twist.

Grades of Lumber

After lumber is planed, it is graded for quality according to natural growth characteristics. Some common names of characteristics include:

Lumber Characteristic: Check


  • Small wood separation along the length of grain
  • No impact on strength, although not visually desirable on structures such as decks and railings
Lumber Characteristic: Decay


  • Rotting of the wood usually caused by fungi and/or moisture
  • Rarely occurs, but pieces with decay may not be structurally sound
Lumber Characteristic: Knot


  • Many kinds of knots classified by size from pin knots to large knots over 1-1/2" in diameter
  • Larger knots may limit the strength of the lumber
Lumber Characteristic: Pitch


  • Resin accumulated in the wood cells making a patchy appearance
  • No impact on strength, but does not accept paint or stain well
Lumber Characteristic: Split


  • Wood separated lengthwise completely through from one face to the other
  • No impact on strength, although not visually desirable on structures such as decks and railings
Lumber Characteristic: Wane


  • Bark, or no wood at the corner or edge of lumber
  • If the proportion of wane present is within tolerances, strength would not be impacted, only the appearance


  • Twisting or uneven shape of lumber. Lumber can warp in four ways.
  • Lumber Characteristic: Bow Warp


    The wide surface is true across the face but is curved along the length

    Lumber Characteristic: Crook/Crown Warp


    The narrow face is true across the face but is curved along the length

    Lumber Characteristic: Cup Warp


    The wide surface is curved across the face

    Lumber Characteristic: Twist Warp


    All four planes are curved in a spiral like way

  • No impact on strength, but impact on usage; ideal for use as plate material

Grades are designated by numbers, letters and words. Lumber is stamped with a grade mark that quickly identifies its quality.

  • No. 2 and better is used for general construction
  • Economy is excellent for non-code construction
  • Select is best for exposed framing and where high structural integrity is important

Images of lumber characteristics have been taken from the Canadian Lumber Grading Manual, published by National Lumber Grades Authority.

Glossary of Lumber Terms

Closed Grain

Lumber with small pores that resist dents well and is harder than open-grain wood, but less stable.


Refers to how compact the wood particles are. This is determined by the tightness of the grain pattern and the wood's ability to resist water. The denser the wood, the less likely it is to dent or scratch.


Refers to the unique markings inherent to any piece of wood.


Refers to the wood's ability to withstand environmental elements like water, snow, wind, etc.


A beam used as a main horizontal support in a house.


A grade is assigned to each piece of harvested lumber; the higher the grade, the fewer the defects.


Refers to the natural patterns found in wood. Grains vary in size, tightness and colour, based on the species of the wood.


Refers to the inner part of the tree trunk that is denser and darker than sapwood.


In lumber, nominal thickness and nominal width are industry-standard size designations, and are generally greater than the actual thickness and actual width.

Open Grain

Lumber with large pores that are more stable than closed-grain wood, although not as hard.


Refers to the outer layer of the tree between the bark and the heartwood.


Refers to the wood's ability to maintain its size and shape. A wood that shrinks or expands depending on the weather would be classified as less stable.


Refers to the visual and tactile qualities of the surface of a piece of wood.

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