What is The actual size of a 2×6?
A 2×6’s real or true dimension is 1.5″ x 5.5″ – within the industry, it’s mentioned as its “actual” size. The nominal size is employed when discussing lumber nearly 100% of the time! The same is the case for 1×4, 2×4 and 4×4, etc.
The one thing that you might notice when you visit a lumber store to buy softwood or hardwood for the very first time is that the nominal measurement and actual measurement of all the wood boards are not the same. Another confusing thing is that measurement of hardwood is not like the measurement of softwood. The thing to remember is that hardwood is measured by a unit of a volume called board foot when sold, and softwood is measured by board dimensions. These differences between the measurements can cause an issue while you are buying lumber for a project in which precision is necessary!
What are actual dimensional lumber sizes?
The lumber which lumber yards sell around us is usually dimensional lumber. Dimensional lumber can be described as the lumber which is dehydrated and ground to principle dimensions. This dimensional lumber is used for framing work and construction. We use a unit called nominal dimension while selling dimensional lumber, and this nominal dimension is the dimension of the board before drying and grinding. One thing that you have to keep in mind is that the actual size of the board is always less than this nominal dimensional.
Actual Size of a 2×6:
Lumbers are available in different sizes and dimensions, and one has to choose according to one’s needs. In North America, the 2×6 size is really pertaining to the lumber’s “nominal” dimension. A 2×6’s real or true dimension is 1.5″ x 5.5″ – within the industry, it’s mentioned as its “actual” size. The nominal size is employed when discussing lumber nearly 100% of the time! Same is the case for 1×4, 2×4 and 4×4 etc.
Actually, the nominal size is usually never a particular size. 1×4 are 0.75″ x 3.5″, 2×4 are 1.5″ x 3.5″. Again, 2×6 are 1.5″ x 5.5″. 2×8, any guesses? 1.5″ x 7.5″? Wrong. 1.5″ x 7.25″. 2×10 is equal to 1.5″ x 9.25″. Any lumber that’s nominally 8″ or greater is an actual 0.25″ rather than the 0.5″, as seen in 4″ and 6″ lumber.
Seems confusing? Of course, it is! So we ask lumber that’s an actual 2″ x 4″ as “full-sawn”. It means that it’s a full (actual) 2″ x 4″, ditto for 2×6, 2×8, 1×6, etc. Its lumber that’s “dressed” is when it loses its actual size. And that’s not including the warmth treating and kiln drying processes too.
In short, 2×6 are mentioned as 2×6 because it’s easier to mention and understood throughout the industry that we are only pertaining to its nominal dimensions vs its actual.
It is all about the actual size of 2×6 lumber. We managed to provide you with enough information about dimensional lumber, and we hope that it would help you in getting the appropriate size of dimensional lumber for you. When you visit the lumber store, you would no more wonder about the actual size of 2×6 because you already know it very well. You should also know about the other sizes of dimensional lumber, and it will help you in choosing the appropriate size for you!