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Dimensional Lumber Sizes: Nominal vs. Actual

Dimensional lumber is cut to a specific length, width, and depth. However, there is a difference between the nominal size (what the lumber is referred to) and the actual size. The tables below provide both the nominal and actual sizes so many common North American lumber sizes.

Softwood lumber is generally used for framing walls and floors. In the United States, softwood lumber is governed by the National Institute of Standards American Softwood Lumber Standard (PS 20).

North American Standards for 1-by and 2-by Lumber
Softwood Lumber Dimensions – 1x Nominal These boards lose 1/4 inch in thickness and 1/2 inch in width before leaving the mill. That means a 1 x 4 board is actually 3/4 inches by 3 1/2 inches. See chart below. 

1x Lumber Dimensions
Nominal Size ⠀⠀⠀ Actual Size
1x4⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3/4 x 3-1/2
1x6                       3/4 x 5-1/2
1x8                       3/4 x 7-1/4
1x10                     3/4 x 9-1/4
1x12                     3/4 x 11-1/4

2x Lumber Dimensions

Nominal Size         Actual Size

2x4                      1-1/2 x 3-1/2

2x6                      1-1/2 x 5-1/2

2x8                      1-1/2 x 7-1/4

2x10                    1-1/2 x 9-1/4

2x12                    1-1/2 x 11-1/4


 We stock most 1x boards in 2’ increments start with 8’and going to 16’ lengths. We stock our 2x material in 2’ increments starting with 8’ and going to 20’.

Get your project completed with premium lumber products

Get your project completed with premium lumber products

If you need a steady supply of lumber for an upcoming construction project, Bismarck Lumber is the company to call. We can provide top-quality lumber at affordable prices. The products we stock include:

  • Pine boards
  • Plywood
  • Siding
  • OSB sheets


Trust Bismarck Lumber Company to supply the lumber you need for your construction project.

Engineered Lumber:

Manufactured Trusses:

Hardware: