14 Lowe’s shopping tips to save money

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With lumber quality declining even before pandemic shortages set in, according to LBM Journal, it’s more urgent than ever that you understand how to choose a good board from the pile at Lowe’s. Purchasing bent, twisted, bent, bowed, twisted, checkered or cracked lumber can increase your costs by creating more waste. You can eliminate much of the risk of warping by knowing how to select wood from the store.

You can certainly study wood grades using resources such as this excellent guide from Thomas Publishing, but grades won’t necessarily tell you about warping, and what you really need to do is look at the board, advises Brett McKay of The Art of Manhood. First, inspect the board for cracks (cracks only halfway), splits (cracks all the way through a board), jerks (separation along the growth rings), and loose knots which could fall. Check out the image above and look (or “look”) along the board to check for any of these issues. Finally, inspect the end grain and discard any board where you can see a full circle growth ring, as avoiding pith/heartwood is a great way to avoid future warping (via Growit BuildIt blog) .

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