Canada Relies on Grade Marks

Lumber Grading fills a real need in the marketplace:

  • buyers are able to identify what they are buying, and determine its appropriate end use
  • designers have an easier means of specifying the appropriate lumber for their plans and specifications, design and/or engineering requirements
  • building inspectors have the ability to check that the product on site is appropriate for the purpose intended
  • lumber manufacturing facilities are able to meet the requirements in regulations and in their delivery contracts, including the terms of their own warranties
  • the National Building Code of Canada and all Provincial Building Codes call for lumber to be grade stamped or certified, referencing standards which specify accreditation by CLSAB

What the Grade Marks Mean

Other Common Grade Marks

Other common grade marks identify the following:

Machine Graded Lumber

Traditionally, lumber has been graded visually.  However, machines developed over the past 30 years can quickly test lumber for strength and stiffness.  Their levels of predictability are important for roof and floor truss systems and laminated components.

  • MSR (Machine Stress Rated or Machine Rated):  Typical MSR grades give values for bending strength (Fb) and modulus of elasticity (E), ranging from 1200Fb-1.2E to 3000Fb-2.4E.  Facility qualifications and daily quality control must meet the requirements of NLGA Special Product Standard – SPS 2, as approved by CLSAB.
  • MEL (Machine Evaluated Lumber):  Defined in a slightly different way, MEL grades are identified as M-10 to M-26.  Requirements are included in NLGA SPS 2, as approved by CLSAB.

Glued Products

The availability of reliable gluing technology has resulted in a number of new products which take advantage of combining smaller pieces of wood to produce engineered lumber as strong as solid sawn lumber.  Requirements for finger joints, edge-glued, face-glued and fingerjoined flange stock are covered by NLGA SPSs or similar product standards, as approved by CLSAB.  Two common marks are CERT FGR JNT – SPS 1 (structural fingerjoint) and CERT FGR JNT – SPS 3 (vertical stud use only).