How can I find a good lumber yard in Toronto?

Lumber yards come in all sizes and like any business they are eager to sell their wares. Most times it makes no difference how much or little the customer buys. One such contractor that can generally meet your needs in the Toronto area is The Lumber Guys.  They specialize in both hard and softwoods and can accommodate your volume no matter the size.

Of course, with the freedom of buying your materials comes a cost.  This is an area where many contractors look to save money by purchasing their lumber in bulk.  This is especially the case if you need more exotic woods which Lumber Yardare generally more expensive.  Some of these may require minimum purchase amounts just to make it worthwhile for the lumber yard to stock them.  Things to consider when purchasing wood at the lumber yard include:

  • Thickness – There are many different thicknesses when shopping for sawn lumber and if you are shopping for some, you should have a general idea about how it is measured. Typically speaking, lumber yards will use a board foot as the general way to incorporate length, width and thickness when determining the amount of lumber that is purchased.  The general board foot formula looks like this: Width x Length x Thickness / 12 = Board Feet.

This makes it easy to calculate the number of board feet you will need for your project and it serves as a universal “lumber language” when determining the cost.  This also gives the buyer a more accurate representation of what they are buying when you consider that as lumber dries it shrinks and is also further reduced in thickness by smoothing the surface for sale.

  • Grade – Grading can be somewhat arbitrary and there is some variation from place to place, but in general most lumber yards adhere to the National Hardwood Lumber Association guidelines for grading which include the following categories:
  • FAS – This is the highest grade for lumber and the name comes from an older description of this fine quality wood called “Firsts and Seconds”. This grade is generally exported due to the high value and amount of clear surface area.
  • Select – One side of this lumber has the #1 Common distinction while the other side is considered FAS. Much of this wood is exported as well and longer, exceptionally clear pieces are cut and used for building projects.
  • #1 Common – This is furniture grade lumber, which can come in varying lengths and is generally reasonably priced.
  • #2 Common – This is considered “cabinet grade” and is a favorite of contractors working in the home.

Milling services are generally offered by larger contractors like The Lumber Guys as well, so you can select your grade and have them straighten or flatten the boards no matter what grade you select.  A good lumber yard can generally offer services where they will rip one edge of each board straight, or as many as all four edges depending on how much you want to clean up the surface of your lumber.  Most lumber yards in the Toronto area can offer milling services that will help you ensure you don’t overspend on volume for your project.

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