The Laver Guide to Timber Grades

If you’re starting a new DIY project, you may have come across the terms C16 or C24 timber, and you may not know what they mean. Many DIY sites throw terms like these around with no real guidance or advice, and you’re just expected to know already. But at Arnold Laver, we are dedicated to ensuring that our customers have all of the information they need before diving headfirst into any DIY project. This is why we are proud to present the Arnold Laver guide to different timber grades! Here you will learn what timber grades are, how they’re decided, and when they should be used. So, keep reading for an all-you-could-need rundown of timber grades today.

What is Graded Timber?

Let’s start this guide off with the basics and the question that has probably brought you here. What are timber grades exactly?

All timber that you buy from a supplier that is to be used for construction must be professionally graded. The grading is decided in terms of its strength and stiffness. Timbers with different structural properties are sorted into different groupings, although there can be some overlaps to these groups as no two pieces of timber are the same. Its grade is decided by taking into account a number of characteristics, including knots, fissures and the overall grain of the timber. It is noticeable and identified differences in timber that makes each piece suitable for different projects. Timber tends to be split up into two main categories, kiln-dried timber and unseasoned timber. 

How is Timber Graded?

Timber can be graded by either one of two methods, and these are machine grading or visual grading carried out by a registered grader. 

Machine grading is a lengthy but thorough process. The timber must meet various requirements and pass a number of tests to find its correct grade. Once it has gone through this process, the timber will be stamped with a grade that identifies its producer, identification number, and condition. 

For visual grading, the same stamp will be used to ensure that anybody coming into contact with the timber or planning to use it will be aware of its grade. 

What is C16 Timber?

Mainly used for indoor DIYs, C16 timber is not as strong as other grades available, but it is also often the most cost-effective option. This makes C16 timber perfect for smaller DIY projects, such as furniture or features. The most common and popular timber in the UK, C16 timber is kiln dried in order to minimise the moisture inside the wood, making it ideal for use indoors. It is also highly popular due to its number of beneficial properties, such as its strength, bending, compression, and density, all of which are essential for use in construction.

What is C16 Timber Used For?

As C16 timber is kiln-dried, it is perfect for use as internal floor joists and roof joists. Plus, due to being available in a wide range of different lengths, it is also easy for DIYers to get the perfect measurements for their desired project. There are a number of uses and areas of the home that C16 timber can be utilised, including:

  • To build walls. 
  • Floor joists. 
  • Roof joists. 
  • Roof rafters. 
  • Timber framing. 

Is C16 Timber Suitable for Outdoor Use?

Although not as popular for use outdoors, C16 timber is technically suitable for outdoor use. When its strength is specified, C16 timber can be used for outdoor furniture, decking, and sheds as long as it has been treated. But we recommend opting for a higher grade, such as C24 timber for larger outdoor projects. 

What is C24 Timber?

Similar to C16 timber, C24 is also kiln-dried to minimise moisture, but it is a higher grade. Less commonly used, C24 is still a popular choice around the UK and is renowned for its strength and durability. It is the more expensive option as it is superior to C16 in both appearance and properties, as well as being the higher quality form of timber. 

What is C24 Used For? 

As it is the more superior timber, C24 has a wide range of uses and is suitable for almost all DIY projects.  It is much more durable with a higher strength, so C24 timber can withstand heavier loads and wider spans, making it the perfect option for larger projects. 

Unlike C16, C24 timber has far fewer defects, this is in both characteristics and appearance, so this makes the option also more valuable for users looking for a visually attractive timber as part of their project. 

Which Timber Grade is Best for Me?

Now that you know all of the basics of timber grades, it’s time to decide which will be best for your project. At Arnold Laver, we are pleased to offer a wide range of C16 grade timber which we believe is the most accessible option for beginner and intermediate DIYers, it’s also the most affordable option with most of the benefits that C24 has to offer. So, explore our full collection on C16 timber today, or why not shop our wider sawn timber range to find the perfect option for your project?

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