Planning and building a project can be a lot of fun. Whether you’re a pro or DIYer, knowing the weight of wood is helpful when deciding how it will be transported to and around the site, and for calculating structural dead loads. So, if you’re wondering how much does a 2×6 weigh, we’re here to help.
A kiln-dried 2×6 can weigh between 12 and 26 pounds depending on its length, species, and moisture content. Green or wet wood outweighs kiln-dried or boards that have air-dried for a period of time. The species of wood and length of the board also affect its weight too. Expect a 2×6 to weigh between 1-1/2 to 2 pounds per linear foot at 15% moisture content, and between 2 and 3-1/2 pounds when treated, and even more when green.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the factors that affect the weight of a 2×6, explain why knowing the weight is important, and identify how many 2x6s fit in a half-ton truck – safely. We’ll explain how to calculate the weight of a load of 2x6s, use a wood weight calculator, plus, include tables identifying the weight of different lengths of kiln-dried, pressure-treated, and green 2x6s.
Quick Navigation
- What Factors Impact the Weight Of 2×6 Weighs?
- Why Is Knowing the Weight of a 2×6 Important?
- How Much Does a 2×6 Weigh
- Weight of Lumber per Board Foot
- How Much Does a Bundle of 2x6s Weigh?
- How Do I Calculate the Total Weight of a Load of 2x6s
- Wood Weight Calculator
- How Many 2x6s Can I Load in My Truck?
- Conclusion
What Factors Impact the Weight Of 2×6 Weighs?
Loading lumber into a vehicle, onto a trailer, or carrying it around a building site can make you aware that 2x6s don’t all weigh the same. Some seem extra heavy, and others light-weight.
Length
A 2×6 is actually 1-1/2” x 5-1/2” in dimensions, so the length being visibly different, will affect the weight. It’s rather obvious that an 8-foot length will weigh less than a 10, 12, or 16-foot board if all other factors are the same. Since a linear foot of SPF 2×6 with a moisture content of 15% weighs 1.503PLF, an 8-foot length will weigh approximately 8 x 1.503 = 12.02-pounds, a 10-foot length 15.03-pounds, 12-foot 18.04-pounds, and a 16-foot 24.05-pounds. An SPF 2×6 stud is 92-5/8” long and will weigh about 11.6-pounds if the moisture content is 15%, so slightly shorter and lighter than an 8-foot length.
Tree Species
If you’ve ever picked up a 2×6 of oak or maple and then hefted one of SPF, you’ll notice a difference. You’ll even feel a difference if you compare SPF to Southern Pine or Douglas Fir-Larch of the same length and moisture content. Different tree species have unique specific gravities which affect the weight of lumber sawn from them. The weight of SPF by linear foot is approximately 1.503-pounds, Southern Pine with the same moisture content is 1.968-pounds, Douglas Fir-Larch 1.7889-pounds, and Hemlock-Fir 1.539-pounds. You can quickly calculate the weight of different common construction species using their PLF (pounds per linear foot).
Moisture Content
The moisture content (MC) is the amount of water bonded and free inside a tree. The relative humidity of the atmosphere surrounding the tree determines the amount of moisture contained inside the wood of living timber. That means that milled wood will react in a similar manner.
Wood is hygroscopic. It will soak up moisture from the air depending on surrounding environmental conditions, similar to a sponge. It will swell or shrink as it gains or loses moisture, something it does even after it is cut, finished, and turned into furniture or structures.
A fresh-cut living tree or log is at its fiber saturation point (FSP) and is termed green. It contains moisture trapped or bound within the cells of the wood, plus free water within the pores and vessels. Some species contain more moisture by weight than wood when initially felled, so have a moisture content of 100% or more. As the cut timber cures, it loses the free moisture first and then begins to dry as it loses bound water, at which point the wood moves into a drying state and also begins to shrink or lose volume.
The amount of bound moisture lost in the air-drying process depends on the relative humidity (RH) and the temperature. If the RH is 100%, no moisture will be pulled from the cells, whereas an RH of 30% will draw 70% of the moisture out – a process that takes time and is constantly affected by changing RH. More moisture will be lost at warm to hot temperatures, especially if the humidity is low.
To bring the moisture content down more quickly to between 0% and 19%, the milled lumber may be run through a kiln or oven and is termed kiln-dried or oven-dry. A typical 2x6x8 that has been kiln-dried to 15% MC will weigh approximately 12 to 16-pounds depending on species. A ‘green’ 2x6x8 cut from a freshly felled tree could have a moisture content that exceeds the weight of the wood by volume, anywhere from 75% to 200% MC. At 35% MC, a 2x6x8 could weigh between 16 and 20-pounds, and at 75% MC 21 to 26-pounds, depending on the species.
Untreated vs Treated
Wood is hygroscopic, so it absorbs moisture from the environment around it. Untreated wood, whether kiln-dried or air-dried, will have a moisture content (MC) of 19% or less, and often will be 10% or less, especially if used inside a home. So, an untreated 2x6x8 typically weighs between 12 and 16-pounds, depending on softwood species and MC.
Pressure-treated lumber may be kiln-dried prior to being treated or go through a depressurizing or vacuum chamber that will suck moisture from the wood as part of the treatment process. The process for pressure treating involves bathing or submerging the boards in water-based chemicals, using hydraulic pressure to force it deep into the wood, removing the excess preservative, and then using low pressure to draw any remaining surface moisture into the wood. The wood is then allowed to dry.
The moisture content and weight of chemical preservatives retained in the wood affects the weight of the lumber. While the MC will fluctuate, the chemical weight won’t. A treated 2x6x8 can weigh between 22 and 30-pounds at 19% MC, and more depending on MC.
If you need to check the weight for structural purposes though, it is possible to calculate the weight of a 2×6 without standing it on a scale, although the scale may be easier.
The formula used to calculate the weight of a 2×6 is
{{62.4 x [G / (1 + G x 0.009 x MC/100)] x [1+ MC /100]} / 1728} x 99
Where G is the known Specific Gravity of a tree species, MC is the moisture content, 1728 is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot, and 99 is the number of cubic inches in a linear foot of 2×6. If calculating for a board foot, use 144, the number of cubic inches in a square foot.
The specific gravity (G) of SPF is 0.42, Southern Pine is 0.55, Hemlock-Fir is 0.43, and Douglas Fir-Larch is 0.50. Dry stamped lumber or that stamped KD19 (kiln-dried) has a moisture content (MC) of 19% or less.
For example, I’ll use SPF (G = 0.42) which is common in my area, and an MC of 15% (0.15) – you can use a moisture reader to check several boards and use the average.
{{62.4 x [ 0.42/ (1 + 0.42 x 0.009 x 15/100)] x [1+ 15/100]} / 1728} x 99 = 1.503PLF (pounds per linear foot)
As we can see from the formula, there are four key factors that impact the weight of 2×6 lumber. The most obvious is its length, followed by the tree species, moisture content, and whether it is treated or untreated – which often affects the moisture content.
Why Is Knowing the Weight of a 2×6 Important?
Knowing the weight of 2x6s is helpful when determining the number to load into a pickup or onto a flatbed or trailer. Overloading could result in damage to the vehicle or trailer, fines, or even an accident. Additionally, some routes between the lumberyard and worksite may have load and axle restrictions and should be avoided, which could increase travel costs.
Having 2×6 lumber shipped by a third party is another reason for knowing the weight. The weight will affect the charge, and it is helpful to know for budgeting purposes. Lumber that has to be moved around the worksite to get it where it is needed affects time and manpower too, especially if it has to be manually moved any distance or up several flights of stairs.
Two final reasons affect mechanical lift weights and structural building weights. If a load has to be lifted by forklift, hoist, or crane, knowing the weight is important. Structural Engineers, architects, and building inspectors also use the weight of lumber to determine dead loads that affect building practices and requirements.
How Much Does a 2×6 Weigh
The weight of a 2×6 depends on its length, moisture content, treatment, relative humidity, and the species of wood. For the table below, Southern Pine was used since it is heavier than most other construction softwoods. So, if you’re using SPF or Hemlock-Fir, the weights would be about 20% less.
Average Southern Pine 2×6 Weight (in pounds) |
|||
Nominal Size | Kiln-Dried
Weight (1.97 PLF) |
Pressure-Treated
Weight (3.2 PLF) |
Green-Wet
Weight (4.58 PLF) |
2x6x8 | 15.76 | 25.6 | 36.64 |
2x6x10 | 19.70 | 32.0 | 45.8 |
2x6x12 | 23.64 | 38.4 | 54.96 |
2x6x14 | 27.58 | 44.8 | 64.12 |
2x6x16 | 31.52 | 51.2 | 73.28 |
Weight of Lumber per Board Foot
The weight of lumber per board foot is based on the volume in a square foot of a specific wood species, or a 1-inch-thick board one foot by one foot, or 12-inches by 12” wide, for a volume of 144 cubic inches. The weight of the 144 cubic inches identifies the weight based on a set moisture content (MC), specific gravity, and density by wood species. The weight per board foot can be used to determine the weight of a large load of lumber, bundles, or individual pieces, provided you know the density of the species.
For example, if selecting self-closing hinge hardware for a laminated pine toy box bench with a lid 3/4″ x 16” x 36” it is helpful to know the weight. Determining the volume of the lid, dividing it by 144, and then multiplying it by the density of the wood used (2.36 @ 8%MC), will provide the lid weight. So:
3/4 x 16 x 36 = 432 cubic inches of pine ÷ 144 = 3 board feet x 2.36 @ 8%MC = 7.08-pounds
It’s possible to calculate the density of a board foot based on different moisture contents, the specific gravity of different wood species. Alternatively, find a table online that provides the weight of different species by board foot or cubic foot – remember to divide the cubic foot weight by 12 to get the board foot weight.
How Much Does a Bundle of 2x6s Weigh?
A bundle, also known as a bunk or lift, is a full unit of lumber. It reflects both a unit of measurement and a way of transporting dimensional lumber from the mill to the retail market or build site. The lumber is usually bound together in bundles or bunks approximately 40” high by 48” wide, or as near that as possible. They are held together with metal or nylon-plastic straps which also help to keep the boards straight.
The number of boards in a bundle is based on the width and thickness of individual pieces. The height also has to take into account the thickness of spacer slats that allow the boards to breathe and dry. The weight is affected by the length of the boards, moisture content, and species of wood.
Typically, a 40”x48” bundle of 2x6s will contain 189 kiln-dried boards. The length of the bundle, moisture content, treated or untreated, and species all affect the weight of the bundle. An 8-foot bundle of 2×6 at 15% moisture content (kiln-dried) ranges from 2,268 to 2,967-pounds depending on softwood species.
To calculate the bundle weight, determine the weight of one board and multiply it by 189 – the number of 2x6s in the bundle. Check out the chart below for bundle weights of common construction species.
2×6 Bundle Weight of Construction Softwoods at 15% Moisture Content (in pounds) |
||||
Length | Southern Pine | Douglas Fir-Larch | Hemlock-Fir | Spruce-Pine-Fir |
8-feet | 2,967 | 2,703 | 2,325 | 2,268 |
10-feet | 3,723 | 3,383 | 2,911 | 2,834 |
12-feet | 4,460 | 4,064 | 3,497 | 3,402 |
16-feet | 5,954 | 5,405 | 4,649 | 4,536 |
Note: Pressure-treated and green (wet) lumber will weigh more (up to twice as much) than air or kiln-dried wood, and so may be bundled in lifts of 128 pieces to accommodate transport weight restrictions.
How Do I Calculate the Total Weight of a Load of 2x6s
There are several different ways to roughly calculate the total weight of a load of 2x6s. However, it is important to remember that a kiln-dried 2x6x8 may weigh between 12 and 15-pounds, but a pressure-treated one between 24 and 27-pounds. So, estimate high on the side of safety.
One method for calculating the total load weight of 2x6s is to determine in feet the total board length and multiply it by an average board foot weight based on moisture content and species.
For example:
A load with 10 2x6x16 and 60 2x6x8s has 160 + 480 = 640 linear feet
(Ten 16-foot pieces is the same as twenty 8s, so 20+60=80, and 8x8ft = 64×10=640ft)
Moisture content and species may be guesswork, but kiln-dried typically averages 15% MC, and at a weight of 1.503PLF for SPF (SPF is common in my area), then: 640×1.503 = 962-pounds or about 1/2 a ton.
Wood Weight Calculator
Using a wood weight calculator is another way to calculate the weight of a 2×6 load. Simply select the unit of measure, input the thickness, width, and length, identify the species, and hit calculate. The algorithm does the rest! Alternatively, if you know the number of board feet in the load, you can input that value, identify the wood species, and calculate the weight. Since the moisture content isn’t known, the calculator provides an approximate lumber weight range for dry to wet (green) wood.
How Many 2x6s Can I Load in My Truck?
The load capacity of a truck depends on a variety of factors. The truck and engine size, the box or flatbed size (short box versus a long box), and the vehicle load ratings determine the carrying capacity. Another consideration is the moisture content (MC) and the type of wood being carried. Pressure-treated lumber is heavier than kiln-dried, and Southern pine heavier than SPF.
The length of the lumber also should be considered. Wood extending beyond the bed of the truck can raise the front of the truck up, making it difficult to see and steer – touching the brakes at every curve or corner to get the front wheels to connect with the pavement so you can steer isn’t very safe.
Although it is possible to carry more weight, a 1/4-ton truck is rated for 500-pounds, a 1/2-ton 1000-pounds, a 3/4-ton about 1,500-pounds, a 1-ton 2,000-pounds, and a 5-ton approximately 10,000-pounds. If carrying kiln-dried SPF 2x6x8 with an average MC of 15%, one board will weigh about 12-pounds. Based on those values, a 1/4-ton can carry 42 2x6x8s, a 1/2-ton 83, a 3/4-ton 125, a 1-ton 167, and a 5-ton 833 boards. Remember, the wetter the wood or if pressure-treated, the fewer boards your truck can safely carry.
Conclusion
Depending on the length, species, treatment, and moisture content, an 8-foot 2×6 can weigh between 12 and 26-pounds if kiln-dried, and 22 to 52 pounds otherwise – possibly more or less depending on moisture content. Most kiln-dried construction softwoods weigh 1.5 to 2.0 pounds per linear foot (PLF) while pressure-treated ones are between 2 and 3.5PLF. Hopefully, you have a better awareness of the weight of 2x6s, how to calculate the weight, and how many your truck can safely carry.