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Featuring a real wood veneer, plywood can be stained, painted and treated, and is available with tongue and groove design. Plywood is perfect for general construction, furniture, exterior walls and roofing. It can also be used for underlayment, wainscoting, siding and high-moisture applications where treated wood is required.
Short for oriented strand board, this is a common choice for underlayment, walls, floors and roofs.
Medium-density fiberboard is easy to work with and has a smooth, unblemished appearance that easily accepts paints and stains. It’s a great choice for cabinetry and shelving.
Whether you’re constructing a home or completing a DIY project like building a bookcase, we’ve got all of the lumber you need to do the job. Choosing the right wood for a project might seem overwhelming, but at Lowe’s, we want to make it easy for you to get what you need when you need it. Need help understanding the different types of lumber and what each is used for? We’re here to help.
Types of Lumber
Lumber ranges in density, texture, color and woodgrain. These are all important factors to consider when choosing the best option for your project. For example, denser wood is ideal for furniture and building while less dense wood can be used for jobs like woodworking projects. Texture and color are important aesthetic considerations whereas the best woodgrain to use varies depending on what you’re building. For example, when working on a structural application, a straight-grained board is generally the best option as it’s the strongest.
Treated lumber is used for exterior purposes and is treated for ground or above-ground contact. Its treated material makes it resistant to rot, insect damage and more. Treated lumber can be stained or painted and is used in applications such as decking, fence pickets, framing, support posts and more.
Dimensional lumber and studs are milled on all four sides and come in a variety of lengths, making them immediately ready for many construction applications.
Plywood comes in a variety of types for different uses. Plywood sheets can be used to support floors, roofs and walls. Another type of reconstituted wood is called particle board, which is made by mixing sawdust with adhesives. Unlike plywood, it won’t bow or warp, but it can swell when exposed to moisture. Particle board is typically used to build furniture, as an underlayment or as substrate for countertops.
Exterior plywood is made with waterproof glue for outdoor construction. It can be used for sheathing under floors and siding.
Medium-density fiberboard is made from broken-down hardwood and softwood that’s bound with wax or resin. MDF board is strong but heavy and can be used for projects like building cabinets and furniture, installing shelving and more. One downside of MDF is that it does not resist moisture well.
Oriented strand board is made with pressed wood strands. OSB is strong but has a rough texture and is typically used as a structural board.
Hardwood is made from layered wood veneer. It’s durable and attractive enough to be used for building furniture such as table tops. Need decorative table legs to complete your DIY project? At Lowe’s, we have a variety of options including classic and traditional table legs as well as butcher block styles and more.
Other Lumber Products
Shims are wedge-shaped pieces of wood, also available in plastic and metal, that are used to level cabinet bases, furniture and more. They are available in a variety of lengths according to the project you need them for.
Joists are pieces of wood installed horizontally as a structural element for floors or ceiling frames. After joists are installed, subflooring, drywall and more can be secured to them.
There is a lot to consider when choosing lumber. Save time by buying Lowe’s lumber online and picking it up at the store. Still need help deciding what you need? Check out our lumber buying guide as well as DIY videos that will help explain things like what type of plywood you should use, different woodcuts to choose from, when to use nails or screws in lumber and more.