what is spf lumber

What is SPF Lumber and What are its Benefits?

What is SPF lumber? SPF lumber, or Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber is a type of softwood that comes with fewer knots, with some growth rings. Most softwoods are categorized into several grades, ranging from A to D. The stamp on the SPF lumber gives details on the species, thus the SPF, as it uses Engelmann spruce, white spruce, lodgepole pine, and species of Alpine fir tree. It is mainly sourced from the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia in Western Canada. Some also source this lumber from the Eastern part of Canada, particularly in Saskatchewan. This type of lumber has been used for different woodworking purposes, mainly for producing dimensional lumber for both commercial and residential construction. 

The primary features of SPF lumber are its workability and moderate strength. It also holds nails and accepts paint quite well. The unique high of this high-grade lumber varies from white to pale yellowish color, with fine straight grains and a smooth texture. In this article, we will also highlight some of the benefits of using SPF lumber. 

Reliable Grading System

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SPF lumber is identically graded under the National Lumber Grades Authority (NLGA) rules. Agencies regularly conduct inspection on the products coming from all mills to make sure that the grades provided are all accurate. 

This grading system is based on a set criterion that provides assurance of a consistent product quality all the time. Since the wood hails from sawn lumber, the standard size is maintained for consistency. 

Amazing Strength and Stress Bearing Capability 

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SPF has a good reputation because of its strength. It is also easy to use and lightweight. On top of that, its stress bearing capability is ideal for the construction of huge homes. Structures built out of this lumber have been proven to last longer than other construction materials. 

Wide Range of Options on Paints, Stains and Finishes

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SPF has the capacity to hold on to a wide range of paints, stains and finishes. You may choose to keep the original hue of the wood using a UV coat, or choose darker stains and make them look like hardwoods. This wood can blend in well with a wide range of finishes and paints, giving you freedom over the finished aesthetics of your piece. 

Heat Treated and Kiln Dried

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As the lumber comes from sawn lumber, it is heat treated (HT) and kiln dried (KD), thus meeting the phyto-sanitary requirements in Canada. The process of kiln drying is essential in improving the wood’s dimensional stability, making it ideal for different construction uses. 


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Using SPF lumber is also praised by some because of its overall affordability. Its cost-effectiveness makes the construction of wood frame using SPF lumber successful in many parts of North America.

Speedy Construction

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One reason why construction using SPF lumber is cost effective is because of the speed in which the work can be done. Construction of wood frame using SPF is fast. In fact, a team of three or four woodworkers can already frame a single floor every day per unit. Also, the lumber can absorb paint well and securely holds nails, thus assisting construction crews to complete the task efficiently and fast. This is pretty useful in constructions with tight deadlines while making sure that quality is not compromised. 

Meeting/Exceeding Building Code Requirements

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According to testing and studies, the construction of wood frame using SPF lumber meets, and even surpasses, the requirements of most building codes in terms of strengths, safety, and transmission of sound. 

Good Thermal Performance

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SPF lumber also performs well with its thermal properties. As such, it may be used to reduce cooling and heating costs throughout the entire life of a building. This is because of the good insulation that it offers. 

Ideal for Industrial Use

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Primarily, SPF lumber is used in industrial settings, such as in building structures that need fire safety. The solid strength and no sound transmission features of this lumber also makes it ideal for spaces where operations of machinery is done. 

Great for Furniture Use

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Aside from the actual residential or commercial construction, SPF lumber is also perfect for other woodworking projects, such as for making furniture. In fact, SPF is famous in this regard, thanks to its high strength-to-weight ratio, making it preferable for creating outdoor furniture, modular houses, boxing and packing cases, and several other uses. 

SPF lumber gives off that elegant finish to your furniture. It does not need consistent maintenance, adding more to its benefits. Products that are made out of SPF lumber is usually available at relatively low prices. 

Flexibility of Use

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For many architects, using SPF lumber in a project makes the adding of extra features such as alcoves, balconies and others become easier compared with working with other types of materials. 

  • Framing

SPF is an amazing material to be used for house framing. It is strong and robust enough to ensure that the roof and the house is kept together. Since it also went through the kiln drying procedure, it also enhances the lumber’s resistance to insect infestation and water damage. 

  • Interior Finishing

SPF also features a clean and bright appearance, giving the maximum results in interior finishing. The color of this lumber has a wide range, and is known for handling paint quite well, while taking pride of its staining and gluing properties. This means that you can entirely avoid wood warping, thus keeping your interiors always looking new. 


What is SPF lumber? It is a combination, mainly of Engelmann spruce, white spruce, lodgepole pine, and species of Alpine fir trees. There are Eastern Species and Western species of SPF lumber, both promising several amazing benefits for both residential and commercial woodworking use. It is ideal for both industrial purposes, and for other woodworking projects. It offers low cost availability, and durability, among several other advantages. If you are looking for options on lumber for your next construction project, SPF lumber got you covered! What are your experiences in using SPF lumber in construction? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below! Share this article to your friends too!



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