Ever wondered how much does a 2×4 weigh? Maybe you’ve found yourself at the local home improvement store trying to calculate how many 2x4s your 1/2-ton truck can handle? While we often take for granted how much building supplies weigh, their total weight can often be important when planning a large project that involves transporting lumber from point A to point B.
A 2×4 can weigh as little as 8 pounds or as much as 17 pounds depending on the wood species, moisture content, length, and whether it’s treated or untreated.
Since 2x4s are perhaps the most common piece of lumber used for building, understanding how to accurately estimate how much one weighs can be crucial when considering the logistics of a building project.
In this article, we’ll explain in detail how each of these factors affects a 2×4’s weight. We’ll also discuss how to calculate the total weight of a load of 2x4s, so you can confidently transport your next load of lumber in the back of your pick-up truck.
- What Determines How Much a 2×4 Weighs?
- Why Is Knowing the Weight of a 2×4 Important?
- Weight of Lumber per Board Foot
- How Much Does a Bundle of 2x4s Weigh?
- How Do I Calculate the Total Weight of a Load of 2x4s?
- Wood Weight Calculator
- How Many 2x4s Can I Load in My Truck?
What Determines How Much a 2×4 Weighs?
A surprising number of factors contribute to how much a 2×4 weighs. While some are obvious, such as length, others are less so. Moisture content, tree species, and whether the lumber is pressure treated or untreated also play a significant role in how much a 2×4 weighs.
Since weight is directly related to the lumber’s mass, it’s important to understand that a 2×4 is not a piece of lumber that’s 2 inches wide and 4 inches deep.
The term 2×4 refers to the size of the lumber before it is milled down to its smooth and square finished form. That process removes 1/2-inch from all sides of the lumber. So, what we commonly refer to as a 2×4 is actually 1.5 inches wide by 3.5 inches deep.
While it’s obvious to most that a 12-foot 2×4 will weigh more than an 8-foot 2×4, few know exactly how length affects weight. One foot of air-dried yellow pine weighs about 1.5 pounds. So, an 8-foot 2×4 made from air-dried yellow pine will weigh about 10 pounds.
This gets a little more complicated when we’re discussing studs, which are about 3-1/2 inches shorter than a 2x4x8. Since we know how much a 2×4 weighs per foot, we can assume that the shorter stud is a half-pound lighter than an 8-foot 2×4.
By knowing how much a 2×4 weighs for each foot, you can easily calculate the total weight of a load of 2x4s, which is useful when determining how much wood you can load into a truck before maxing out its payload capacity. We’ll discuss how to make this calculation in more detail later.
Treated vs. Untreated
Anyone who has ever worked with both treated and untreated lumber knows there is a significant weight difference between the two types of lumber. Treated lumber is submerged in liquid preservatives, which soak into the wood’s porous cells.
These preservatives protect the wood from water and pest damage but also make the wood much heavier. How much heavier? A pressure-treated 8-foot 2×4 piece of Southern Yellow Pine weighs 17 pounds or about 2.1 pounds per foot, significantly more than a piece of untreated wood.
Keep in mind that this weight can vary significantly depending on how green the pressure-treated lumber is. Pressure-treated lumber slowly dries out for months.
A pressure-treated 2×4 fresh to the lumber yard will have a moisture content of about 75 percent. As it dries out and that moisture content begins to drop, it will become lighter. A piece of treated lumber that’s had about six months of drying out can weigh several pounds less than a fresh pressure treated 2×4.
As we’ve seen with pressure-treated lumber, wood’s moisture content plays a big role in how much it weighs.
Wood is made up of tiny open cells that are capable of holding water inside of them. When wood gets wet, these cells fill up with water, making the wood heavier, not unlike a wet towel or sponge.
Wood is also hygroscopic, so it will suck in evaporated moisture out of the air. This is why wood swells on humid days and contracts on dry days.
Moisture content affects all lumber, not just treated lumber. While untreated lumber may never reach the 75 percent moisture content of freshly treated lumber, its moisture content can still vary significantly. When it comes to moisture content, there are two types of untreated lumber: green and kiln-dried.
As anyone who has ever cut firewood from a live tree knows, it takes a long time for lumber to dry, often taking months or even more than a year.
Like that freshly cut firewood, green lumber that has just arrived in the lumber aisle of your local home improvement store is holding more moisture and will hence weigh more. A 2x4x8 piece of green lumber might weigh around 13 pounds or 1.7 pounds per foot.
Many home improvement stores also carry kiln-dried lumber. This lumber has spent time in a kiln, which heats the lumber, forcing the moisture inside of it to evaporate into the air.
Kiln-dried wood has lower moisture content and therefore weighs less. A kiln-dried 2x4x8 weighs around 11 pounds or about 1.3 pounds per square foot.
Kiln-dried wood is ideal for building furniture as it is more stable than green lumber, while it is more likely to warp and twist as it slowly dries.
Adding yet another factor that contributes to how much a 2×4 weighs is tree species. Since trees have different densities, it only makes sense that the lumber they produce will vary in weight.
The most common types of softwood used for framing lumber include Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Southern Yellow Pine.
Though this lumber may look very similar from the outside, they vary in density and can have very different weights. Sitka spruce is the lightest of the three, with a 2×4 per foot weight of about 1 pound, meaning a 2x4x8 piece of Sitka Spruce weighs about 8 pounds.
Douglas Fir is denser and therefore heavier at about 1.25 pounds per foot, giving a 2x4x8 piece of Douglas Fir a total weight of about 10 pounds.
Southern Yellow Pine is the densest, weighing about 50 percent more than Sitka Spruce at 1.5 pounds per foot. A 2x4x8 piece of Yellow Pine weighs about 4 pounds more than Sitka Spruce at 12 pounds.
It’s important to note here that Southern Yellow Pine is perhaps the hardest pine, rivaling the hardness of many hardwoods. This is why it’s much denser and therefore heavier than spruce and fir.
Why Is Knowing the Weight of a 2×4 Important?
Knowing how much a 2×4 weighs and how to calculate the weight of multiple 2x4s is helpful when planning a project. It can allow you to get a good estimate of the total weight of multiple 2x4s so you know how many boards you can load into a truck before maxing out its payload weight capacity.
It’s also helpful to know when determining the shipping weight for lumber you might be ordering for delivery if there is a shipping fee.
How Much Does A 2X4 Weigh [Charts]
Below are charts showing the average weights of kiln-dried, pressure treated, and green lumber by length. Keep in mind that these weights are averages, so expect weights to vary slightly in either direction.
Kiln Dried Lumber
|Nominal Size||Weight (lb)|
Pressure Treated Lumber
|Nominal Size||Weight (lb)|
Green Wood Weight Chart
|Nominal Size||Weight (lb)|
Weight of Lumber per Board Foot
When purchasing lumber, you’ll often see weight give in board feet, which is the volume of a 1-foot length of a board, one foot wide, and one inch thick. Board feet is a standard measurement lumber companies use to provide weight information for all types of lumber.
Southern Yellow Pine, for example, weighs between 2 and 3 pounds per board foot depending on its moisture content.
While this helps calculate the weight of larger dimensional lumber, it’s not as useful for calculating the weight of a 2×4 since the dimensions do not align.
How Much Does a Bundle of 2x4s Weigh?
A bundle of 2x4s consists of about 294 2x4s. Given the amount of wood in the bundle, the bundle’s weight can vary considerably depending on the wood species and the moisture content. The length of each 2×4 in this bundle will also impact total weight.
A bundle of air-dried Southern Yellow Pine 2x4x8s will weigh more than 3,500 pounds (294 x 12 pounds per board). In comparison, a bundle of 2x4x8 Sitka Spruce lumber will weigh just 2,350 pounds (294×8).
Moisture content can also play a significant role in the weight of a bundle. Whereas a bundle of green 2x4x8s might weigh more than 3,800 pounds (13x8x294), a bundle of kiln-dried 2x4x8s would weigh about 3,200 pounds (11x8x294).
How Do I Calculate the Total Weight of a Load of 2x4s?
Once you know how much a 2×4 weighs per foot, calculating the total weight of a load of 2x4s is relatively easy.
Say you’re planning on transporting 50 pressure-treated 2x4x10s for a deck. You know that each foot of the 2×4 weighs about 2.1 pounds. By multiplying that number times the number of feet per board (10), you know that each 2x4x10 weighs about 21 pounds.
You have 50 boards, so your total weight for the load of 50 2x4x10s is about 1,050 pounds (21×50), which is right at what a 1/2-ton pick-up truck can handle.
Wood Weight Calculator
If you don’t want to calculate the weight yourself or are working with different wood species which have different densities, making calculations on your own can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are numerous wood weight calculators available for free online that can help you.
This lumber and hardwood weight calculator from Inch Calculator is one of the better options. It allows you to enter the dimensions of the wood and the wood species to get an estimate regarding how much it weighs. Just keep in mind that these weights can vary depending on moisture content.
How Many 2x4s Can I Load in My Truck?
Knowing what your 2x4s weigh is helpful when determining how much your pickup truck can handle, eliminating the guesswork, and reducing the anxiety of transporting the load.
As we’ve discussed above, a 2x4x8 can weigh between about 9 or 17 pounds depending on the wood species, length, type, and moisture content. Once you’ve determined the total weight of your load, you can apply that to your truck.
A truck’s towing capacity is referred to in tons. There are 1/4, 1/2, 1/3, 3/4 and, 1-ton pickups trucks. This amount refers to how much the truck can carry. Simply multiple the fraction by a ton, which is 2,000 pounds.
A 1/4-ton pickup truck can haul about 500 pounds (a quarter of a ton), while a 1/2-ton pickup truck has a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds.
What does this equate to when it comes to 2x4s? A 1/4-ton pickup truck can haul about 41 air-dried Southern Yellow Pine 2x4x8s, while a 1/2-ton pick-up truck can handle about 82. A full 1-to pickup truck will carry 164 yellow pine 2x4s.
Resist the urge to overload your truck. Going over your truck’s payload capacity can cause you to lose control of the truck or even cause a tire to blow out.
Whether you’re simply curious about how much a common 2×4 weighs or are hauling a big load of them for a project, knowing how to calculate their weight is helpful. Moisture content, wood species, length, and pressure treatments all have a significant impact on a 2×4’s weight.
By understanding how each affects 2×4 weight, you can make accurate estimates and safely transport your next load of lumber to the job site.
Keep in mind that the numbers above allow you to make estimates and should not be used for calculating precise weight values for critical engineering calculations.