How Buying a Different Length of Wood Can Save You Money

One of the first decisions in deck building is selecting the dimensions. The height, width and length you go with will affect the aesthetics, design features, construction and budget of your deck. That’s why it’s important to put careful thought into what materials will work best for your design so there’s as little waste as possible.

Different Types of Timber

Not all lumber suppliers will buy back unused wood like TimberTown Austin. That’s right, if you buy hardwood or softwood deck supplies from us but don’t use it all, we’ll buy back the remaining unused wood. If you don’t have that luxury you’ll end up with scrap wood that will likely sit around taking up space in your garage.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you don’t overspend on the wood for your deck project is to use the right board length. Keep reading to learn why the length makes a difference and how to determine which length works best.

How the Length of the Wood Affects Your Bottom Line

The longer the deck boards are, the more they’ll cost. That’s a pretty cut and dry observation. But what isn’t as obvious is that when you go longer you may use less boards, which lowers the overall cost. On the flip side, boards that have to be cut because they are a little too long will eat into your budget unnecessarily. The key is finding the right balance between the two.

Another thing to consider is that when boards don’t run the full length of the deck you’ll need to butt boards up against each other and make more cuts. The cut ends of boards is where the most moisture creeps in so more boards means more potential spots for rotting or swelling problems in the future.

Tips for Choosing the Right Length of Wood

The goal is to choose a board length that will minimize or eliminate cutting. Whenever possible select boards that run the full length of your deck.

  • Keep common lengths in mind: 12’, 16’ and 20’
  • Talk to your lumberyard to see what lengths they carry in your wood of choice. Also inquire about whether there is an option to special order a specific length.
  • Take a look at your design. Do you have flexibility to shrink or expand it so that you won’t have to cut the length of your boards? Sometimes it’s easier and more cost effective to simply alter the design rather than cutting the boards to fit.
  • If you are buying boards that run the full length of the deck, make sure they are perfectly straight since you won’t be cutting them.
  • Consider the aesthetics. When boards are butted up against each other it creates seams, which means a perfectly seamless look is impossible if the boards don’t run the full length. Think about how various lengths can be laid out to create different looks.
  • Calculate the amount of waste that will be created based on using different lengths and how the boards will be laid out. For instance, if you have a 28’ deck design but can only find 16’ and 18’ boards you have the option of buying all one length or buying a combination. Run the numbers based on different layouts to see which option leaves you with the least amount of waste after making cuts.
  • If you’re replacing the deck top only the placement of the joists could affect which length will work best.


If you live in Central Texas come on by the TimberTown Austin lumberyard. Our experts are happy to provide you with more tips and advice based on your specific project.

Image Sources:,

Original Source:

Leave a Reply