B-Grade Lumber vs Premium Grade Lumber

B Grade Lumber vs. Premium Grade Lumber

When planning out a woodworking project, you will be faced with deciding on a grade of lumber. You will find lumber with so many designations, including Grade B, premium, No. 3, and so many more. The question is, what do all these grades mean, and what distinctions make one grade better than another? Each grade of lumber will be useful to a project given its characteristics and qualities. Whether you need to have a clean finish, strength for bolting, or just something economical for framing, each grade will have a perfect application. Not all projects need to be made of the best, top of the line, premium grade lumber, where another grade could’ve done the same or better with less cost. These are all things to consider before purchasing the wood for your project.

How exactly does the grading system work for lumber? Lumber comes in many categories and grades. Most project lumber will be of either Select or Common categories. Let’s take a closer look at each category and it’s offerings.

Common Lumber

For Common lumber, this wood is a great, economical choice for doing structural or outdoor work, where appearance is not as important. Wood in this grade comes as a number, with the highest quality as No. 1 Grade, then No. 2, No. 3, and No.4 Grades, each decreasing in tolerance for imperfections. This category will not be used for most furniture or appearance projects.

Select Lumber

For Select lumber, there are a few grades to choose from. Each grade specifies how many knots, holes, and irregularities can be allowed per length of board. Grade A allows very few knots and holes, or even none at all. This grade of lumber is often considered premium grade. Generally, the allowable knots in all Select lumber are based on maximum knot diameter and frequency per 6 inches. If there is excessive knotting, or loose edge knots, the lumber will be classified as a lesser grade. Grade B lumber allows a bit more knots and holes than premium, grade C even more so, and grade D even more beyond that. Most appearance projects would not want to use any less than grade B or C, as the integrity of the wood begins to decline, as well as a pretty rough appearance.


You will find that Grade B lumber can save you significant cost while providing a clean but unique appearance. The knots for grade B will be a bit more common than in premium wood, but they will still be fairly small and still be relatively tight. Lesser grades will feature looser knots and reduce the quality and performance of the board. For the best quality to cost, Grade B is the most optimal choice because you can rely on the performance for most applications while getting a fairly clean wood look.

Grade B is also a good choice over any lumber in the Common lumber category. Grade B lumber is in the Select category, the group that classifies lumber of both desirable appearance and desirable performance. Lumber in the Common category is most prevalently used for general construction, and not an optimal choice where appearance is most desirable. Your project will benefit most from the superb balance of the distinctive attributes of Grade B lumber.

Your project could benefit from the unique nature of textures and patterns of wood. That raw look, whether stained or left uncoated, could bring your final product to life with natural wood features and patterns. While premium grade wood will have imperfections here and there, a typical B Grade board will have enough knots and grain to provide that natural character, without compromising on performance.

Now that you understand the grading system for lumber, you will be able to make an informed decision on materials for your next project. For most woodworking projects, Grade B lumber will provide you with excellent look and performance without spending premium grade prices. Grade B is a go-to choice for most woodworkers, and we hope you’ll choose it too. You can get all the Grade B Lumber you need from Silvaris.com.

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