Buying Guide

How to Choose Lumber

What Type of Lumber Do I Need?
Type of Lumber - To Choose Lumber

Most decking and framing lumber comes in standard sizes, so once you have calculated how much you need, determine what type of wood is best for your project.


  • Pressure treated lumber: Ideal for outdoor projects as it withstands the elements.
  • Cedar: If treated regularly with preservative, it will resist rotting and be more aesthetically pleasing for outdoor projects than pressure treated wood.
  • Redwood: Can be used for outdoor projects as it naturally resists rot and is more attractive than pressure treated wood.
Deciphering Lumber Measurements

Lumber is identified by its nominal size, which is its rough dimension before it is trimmed to finished size at the lumber mill. Actual sizes are approximate lumber dimensions after trimming.


Nominal Size - 1 × 4 

Actual Size - ¾"×3½"


Nominal Size - 1 × 6

Actual Size - ¾"×5½"


Nominal Size - 2 × 2

Actual Size - 1½" × 1½"


Nominal Size - 2 × 4

Actual Size - 1½" × 3½"


Nominal Size - 2 × 6

Actual Size - 1½" × 5½"


Nominal Size - 2 × 8

Actual Size - 1½" × 7¼"


Nominal Size - 2 × 10

Actual Size - 1½" × 9¼"


Nominal Size - 4 × 4

Actual Size - 3½" × 3½"

When transportation of lumber is a challenge, The Home Depot truck rental can help. From pickups and vans to moving trucks, we've got you covered.