Timber is a very strong and versatile material for structural elements in a building project, but you need to ensure that you are using the correct piece of timber for your needs. Here are a few of the things you need to think about.
It is crucial that the timber you are using is strong enough for the job. Structural timbers are graded according to strict standards and will be stamped with the correct grade. This is likely to be an F-number, although there are other systems that are used. Different species of wood have different strengths, and so the F-number will reflect the strength of the type of wood as well as the quality of the individual pieces. If you are using timber for structural purposes, it is vital that you understand the strength that will be required. The grading is the key to ensuring that you buy the correct strength.
You also need to consider the size of the wood you will be using. As well as the lengths of the timbers, you need to consider their cross-sectional thickness. The thicker the wood, the stronger it will be, but it will also be heavier and more awkward to put into position — and, of course, it will take up more space when it is installed. However, if you use a piece that is too thin, it may just not be strong enough for the job.
You also need to consider whether the timber will be used indoors or outdoors. Exterior timber will be prone to attack from damp, fungus or insect attacks. It will therefore need to be treated with a wood preservative to ensure that it is resistant to such problems. Structural timber can be bought that has already undergone such a treatment, saving you time and ensuring that your timber will be safe from decay.
Finally, consider if you want eased or regularised edges. Eased timber is rounded at the ends to make it easier to handle, whereas regularised timber is trimmed to make sure that all the pieces are the same length. This can make them slightly shorter than the stated size of the timber.
When using wood for structural purposes, it is vital to the success of your project that you understand exactly what type of timber can be used. Contact a company that supplies structural timber to learn more about your options.