? asked in Home & GardenDo It Yourself (DIY) · 1 decade ago

why aren't 2X4 actual 2" by 4"?

Im just wondering cuz there really only 1.5" by 3.5". And where they ever actually 2" by 4"?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Chris is closest. They start out at a full 2" x 4". They are dried, which takes about 1/4" off of each dimension, then they are milled which brings them down to 1-1/2" x 3-1/2". At one time, dimensional lumber was actually the same as the nominal size. A lot of the demo work I do on older buildings is like this. When we frame in to match existing, we either have to shim/fur or rip wider pieces down to match. Hope this helps.

    Source(s): Carpenter
  • 1 decade ago

    they were actually 2x4 at one time not sure on specifically when they became 1.5 x 3.5 but the reason is for rough framing purposes. when you put a piece of half inch drywall on the lumber it makes the wall 4" thick. Also when you build a 8' wall you use studs that are 92 5/8 long you have 1 bottom plate and 2 top plates 92 5/8 + 4 1/2 = 97 1/8 - 1/2 inch for drywall and another 5/8 for hardwood flooring or carpet gives you a 8 foot tall wall height.

    Source(s): Carpenter for 10 years
  • 4 years ago

    MOST of the time 1.5X3.5. However, that is considered "nominal" and it could vary by as much as an eighth of an inch. This is for new wood. Old wood actually used to be much closer to 2X4 than now.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Its easier to say 2 x 4 and its a 2x4 before the final cut

    The rough cut of the board is 2" x 4" but they shave and sand it down to clean it up, therefore making it smaller.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They are 2x4, and then they're run through a big industrial planer that planes 1/4 inch off all sides.

  • 1 decade ago

    because they are "rough cut" into "2x4's" then cleaned up a 1/4 of an inch on each side...(they are kinda fuzzy before hand)

  • I know! Ugh! That's so annoying! My husband and I built a weight bench and measured everything on paper but it didn't turn out right because our measurements were off because the wood wasn't 2x4 exactly.

  • 1 decade ago

    fot that exact reason, can you imagine someone asking for a 1.5 by 3.5, 2 by 4's are atandard sizes of wood, and for that reason, they simply ask for it.

    if there was an actual 2 by 4 on the job, for some special job, then maybe.

  • 1 decade ago

    the real reason they are not 2"by 4" is the lumber company's are saving money by selling you a 2/4 that is not a 2/4,years ago a 2/4 measure exactly 2" by 4",right now they are 1.5" by 3.5" but in a few more years they will a little less then that,hope this answer your question.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well they probably started out being 2 by 4, however stores always look for new ways to rip people off so they probably slowly made them smaller.

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