You've Got Options! Choosing the Lumber That's Right For Your Project

You've Got Options! Choosing the Lumber That's Right For Your Project

TABLE OF CONTENTS -

 

Hi there!

At this point, you may have heard that 2xEDGE Staples work with any type of two-by (2x) lumber up to 2x6. Meaning: you have a lot of lumber options!

The type of lumber you use can make a big difference in aesthetics, durability, and longevity.

Something to keep in mind: if you choose lumber that you later decide you'd like to change, 2xEDGE makes it easy to swap in your new lumber choice. Fast and easy installation, fast and easy revision is how you'll roll with 2xEDGE.

Here's an overview of common and popular lumber options compared on a variety of points from cost to eco-friendliness to longevity. Most are easy to find at home improvement stores (eg., Home Depot, Lowes) as well as your local hardware stores and lumber yards.

 

Lumber Comparison At a Glance

Pine - Untreated Pressure Treated Pine Cedar Redwood Composite Wood Recycled Plastic
Resists Insects No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Resists Decay No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Contains Manmade Materials No Yes No No Yes Yes
Requires Maintenance Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Life Span (Years) 5-10 10 to 15 15-20 20-25 25-30 50+
Cost: 8' 2x4 $3-$5 $5-$8 $10-$15 $15-$20 $20-$30 $30-$40
Cost: 8' 2x6 $5-$8 $8-$12 $15-$20 $20-$25 $30-$40 $40-$50
Available at big box stores Yes Yes Yes Geo limited Not likely Not likely

 

 

Lumber Options

 

Untreated Pine

Untreated pine is the least expensive option in this comparison.

While pressure treated pine rated for ground contact is more commonly used in outdoor projects, untreated pine is an option to consider.

You can find untreated pine lumber pretty much everywhere. You may already have a stick or two in your garage!

The biggest drawback to using untreated pine in outdoor applications such as landscape edging is its susceptibility to decay and insect damage.

You can  extend its useful life by treating or coating the wood with a sealer, sealer and stain in one, or painting it with exterior-grade paint. There are also natural sealing options such as linseed oil.

Doing your own wood sealing supplies the benefit of knowing what your wood is treated with.

Where to Buy

Untreated pine can easily be found at big box stores, franchise and locally owned hardware stores, and lumber yards.

Approximate Cost for 8-feet

  • 2x4: $3 to $5
  • 2x6: $5 to $8

Useful Life

If untreated, approximately 2-4 years. If you seal it you'll likely add years of  useful life. How many will depend on the sealer you choose. 

Pros & Cons

  • Pros: Affordable, readily available, light weight and easy to work with.
  • Cons: Susceptible to decay and insect damage if not treated. May require regular maintenance.

 

Pressure Treated Pine

Pressure treated pine is a versatile option for landscape edging.

It's a common choice for outdoor projects because it's affordable - costing just a few dollars more per piece than untreated pine - and it's easy to obtain.

This lumber is treated to resist decay and insect damage, but it's not waterproof.

When you buy pressure treated pine it will likely feel wet due to the chemical process it's been through. It's recommended that you seal the lumber once it has thoroughly dried.

Where to Buy

Pressure treated pine is easly to find at big box stores, franchise and locally owned hardware stores, and lumber yards.

Approximate Cost for 8-feet

  • 2x4: $5 to $8
  • 2x6: $8 to $12

Useful Life

Approximately 10-15 years.

Pros & Cons

  • Pros: Affordable, readily available, and treated to resist decay and insects.
  • Cons: Contains man-made chemicals, needs regular maintenance, and may warp or split over time.

 

Cedar

Cedar is a beautiful wood with a reddish tone, known for its natural resistance to decay and bugs. It's lightweight, easy to work with, and it smells great. 

It is a more costly edging option. Using cedar can double the cost of your edging project versus using pressure treated lumber and untreated pine. On the other side, it can last twice as long.

While it's carried at big box stores cedar can be harder to find than pine options. 

Here's a tip: in recent years big box stores have carried cedar-stained pressure treated lumber. It competes with cedar on looks, but is easier on the pocket book.

Where to Buy

Cedar lumber can typically be found at big box stores and specialty lumberyards. Your local hardware store might carry it.

Approximate Cost for 8-feet

  • 2x4: $10 to $15
  • 2x6: $15 to $20

Useful Life

Approximately 15-20 years

Pros & Cons

  • Pros: Naturally resistant to decay, lightweight, and has a pleasing aroma.
  • Cons: Typically more expensive than pine options and may require sealing to maintain color.

 

Redwood

Redwood is prized for its rich, attractive color and natural resistance to decay. It also resists insects.

Like cedar it's a lightweight wood with a smooth finish.

It's typically more expensive than cedar and it's not as readily available. It's more bound to specific regions where it's harvested, such as the Pacific Northwest.

Redwood's durability and beauty make it a favorite among homeowners looking for a high-end option for their outdoor projects.

Where to Buy

Redwood lumber is commonly available at specialty lumberyards, and possibly available at big box and hardware stores, in regions where redwood is prevalent.

Approximate Cost for 8-feet

  • 2x4: $15 to $20
  • 2x6: $20 to $25

Useful Life

Approximately 20-25 years

Pros & Cons

  • Pros: Naturally resistant to decay, lightweight, and has a rich, attractive color.
  • Cons: Higher cost compared to other options and typically less readily available except in regions where it is harvested.

 

Composite Wood

Composite wood is a blend of natural wood fibers and recycled plastic. It's a man-made product that is resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage, making it a long-lasting choice for landscape edging.

It's a low-maintenance alternative to traditional lumber used in exterior projects such as pine, cedar, and redwood.

Composite wood's most attractive feature is arguably its longevity. It can last decades. It's not uncommon to get 25 to 30 years of useful life out of it.

Of course, there's a give and take when it comes to longevity as it's prone to fading over time.

It comes in various colors and textures, giving you some customization options to match your outdoor aesthetic.

Where to Buy

Big box stores sometimes carry composite wood in 2x dimensions, but it's more likely that you'll need to special order it. You can also find it through manufacturer sites online but note that shipping can be costly as you'll likely need to pay freight for 8-foot or longer lengths.

Approximate Cost for 8-feet

  • 2x4: $20 to $30
  • 2x6: $30 to $40

Useful Life

Approximately 25 to 30 years

Pros & Cons

  • Pros: Low maintenance, durable, lasts for decades, and available in various colors and textures.
  • Cons: Can be more expensive upfront, may fade over time, and limited in size options. Also can be costly to have delivered.

 

Recycled Plastic Lumber

It might be hard to wrap your mind around any plastic being environmentally friendly.

But recycled plastic lumber is eco-friendly in that, to make it, manufacturers recover plastic that would otherwise end up in a landfill or our waterways and process it into lumber that can be used in a variety of applications and can last for 5 or more decades.

Recycling in this way reduces the demand for virgin plastic and minimizes environmental impact.

Recycled plastic lumber is durable (lasts 50+ years!), resistant to rot and insects, and available in various sizes and colors.

The biggest drawback is it's cost. This is the most expensive type of lumber in this comparison. It's also not easy to find at big box stores (but you can special order it), hardware stores, or lumber yards. You'll likely have to order it online and have it shipped.

A manufacturer's tip: If possible, order lumber at 90-inches or less in length (an 8-foot board is 96-inches). At 90 or less inches, you can have lumber shipped by UPS, FedEx or other carriers which will cost far less than freight.  

Where to Buy

Recycled plastic lumber can be special ordered at some big box stores - check online. You can also buy direct from manufacturers and distributors online. 

Approximate Cost for 8-feet

  • 2x4: $30 to $40
  • 2x6: $40 to $50

Useful Life

Approximately 50+ years.

Pros & Cons

  • Pros: Environmentally friendly, durable, and resistant to rot and insects.
  • Cons: Costly in terms of price and shipping. Shipping times can add days/weeks to your project. It's a much heavier material than natural wood.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it. 

I hope that this has been helpful to you. If you have questions about which lumber to choose for your 2xEDGE project, don't hesitate to get in touch. 

Wondering how many 2xEDGE Staples you need for your project? Check out our calculator and example projects.

Thanks for reading!

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