Lumber prices are determined by what type of wood is being sold, the wood grade and the measurements. This includes softwoods, paneling, molding, flooring and wood shingles or shakes. Wood sold for fuel is priced differently than lumber intended for construction.
Softwood lumber includes the 2 inch by 4 inch by 10-foot long boards used for framing. It is sold by the board foot, which is a piece of wood 12 inches by 12 inches by 1 inch, or 144 cubic inches. When a piece of softwood lumber is sold, the measurements are multiplied together and then divided by 12 to get the number of board feet and the total cost.
Lumber prices are also determined by how the wood is graded, whether it is intended for construction, standard or utility use. The construction grade, suitable for supporting heavier loads, tends to be more expensive.
Wood paneling products are sold by the square foot and the thickness of the piece. Paneling is made of plywood, particle board and other composites, covered by a veneer of solid wood. They usually come in sheets of 4 feet by 8 feet. Decorative paneling, usually made with hardwood veneers, is the most expensive.
Moldings are usually sold by the linear foot and come in 10-foot lengths. Wood flooring is sold by the board foot, with solid wood being more expensive. Wood shakes and shingles are priced per factory-wrapped bundle. Fireplace wood is sold by the cord, which is 128 cubic feet of tightly stacked wood.