Sawing 4x4s into 2x4s for Wall Studs
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Phil in Mississippi who has a lumber question. What can we do for you?
PHIL: Hey. I recently – an opportunity to acquire about 500 treated 4x4x8 timbers.
PHIL: And I’m fixing to start a new home construction in about the next 30 days and the only way I figure I’m ever going to be made of money is out of my sweat equity. So I was going to saw these in half and turn them into the 2x4s that I would use to – for my studs for my walls. But I was not sure if anything in those treated 4×4 timbers would leach out into the house over the years and cause any kind of harm due to the chemicals.
TOM: Interesting question. Not that I can think of, because we do use treated lumber for sill plates all the time and I’ve never heard an issue related to that. But boy, it’s going to be a lot of work for you to saw those 4x4s down to 2x4s, because …
LESLIE: Tom, any concern about the integrity of the lumber? You know, is there – because posts – well, traditional studs are kiln-dried and these are more wet from the chemicals that are used?
TOM: Yeah. You may have a lot more movement inside the walls, that’s true. So you could get a lot more twisting as a result of this. I mean 4x4s are typically very wet and even if they look dry on the outside, once you cut them they could, basically, twist like a pretzel. So you may find that you frame walls with them and then you find out that the walls have all kinds of bows when it’s way too late to fix them.
So, listen, the cost of 2x4s as part of the entire home construction budget is fairly minimal. So I would really think twice about whether or not it makes sense to do this. You might just want to hold onto them, use them for a retaining wall, use them for landscaping projects, that sort of thing. I don’t think, if it was me, I would consider this a good use.
PHIL: OK. Well, that’s exactly what I needed, because I had not even thought about them not being kiln-dry. I just assumed they were just like 2x4s, so that’s a good point.
LESLIE: No, they’re so wet.
TOM: Yeah, they twist like crazy. I’ve seen them twist 90 degrees sometimes; it’s really nuts.
PHIL: Oh, wow. OK. Well, guys, I do appreciate it. You might have just saved me a major headache 20 years from now.
TOM: Alright. Well, we’re so happy we could. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.