Don’t worry, there’s no actual test – but that doesn’t mean that lumber grades aren’t important.

From high grade to low grade, each aspect of the lumber and wood panel markets have their grading techniques, standards, and own grading systems… needless to say, it’s quite a bit of information. If you’re looking for a simplified guide to lumber grades in manufacturing, this is the article for you!

If you feel like ‘lumber grades’ seems like a broad term, then you’re 100% right. Lumber grades refer to the various grading systems throughout the lumber industry. Today, however, we’ll be breaking down the lumber industry into three distinct parts – softwood, hardwood, and panel products.

The Lumber Grades for Softwood

When grading softwoods, it’s important to understand that softwood lumber grades are set forth by the American Softwood Lumber Standard created by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The third-party body that grades softwoods based on these standards is known as the American Lumber Standard Committee. This not only has ramifications for American sawmills but North American sawmills more generally. All softwood lumber imported by other countries, namely Canada, must meet the requirements set by the American Softwood Lumber Standard.

With the guiding doctrine out of the way, let’s talk about how softwood lumber grades work.

Softwood lumber grades are given a numeric score from 1-4. If softwood is graded as no. 1, it’s typically the highest quality