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I took a delivery ($200 delivery fee!) from 84 which included eighteen 2x6 studs. Of those, only two didn't have significant defects. About 14 have significant (1"+) wane on two sides. Four have long or multiple splits. One was wet and covered in black mold.

I didn't even check for cupping, twist, bowing, hearts, etc, as I expect a lot of those defects. But these defects feel ridiculous.

Is this level of defects normal? Did they intentionally load all their worst lumber on the truck for me? Am I within my rights to ask them to take it back and give me better boards?

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  • How far away are you from the vendor that you got stung with a $200 delivery fee? That's crazy compared to anything near me. – Aloysius Defenestrate May 2 '20 at 17:06
  • 31 miles. That was for the whole load which included a lot of plywood/OSB and some 18' pieces. Everyone talked about how much better going with 84 would be than a big box store but it was both more expensive and more of a hassle. And they messed up my order which is delaying my project. I'm frustrated with them. – brentonstrine May 2 '20 at 17:09
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    Ridiculous. They'd have to work really hard to earn my future business. – Aloysius Defenestrate May 2 '20 at 17:10
  • "Well, that's the real trick, isn't it."... "Two hundred!? We could almost buy our own truck for that!" "But who's gonna drive it, kid?" – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 2 '20 at 19:34
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    What grade did you order? Standard &Btr.; or No. 2 & Btr.? It matters? – Lee Sam May 3 '20 at 0:10
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That is some sub-quality lumber and I'd be very upset as well. It's almost like they dumped their reject pile on you knowing that you might not bulk due to the large delivery fees involved and the trouble you would have to personally return it.

They need to either replace it or accept a return including the delivery fee. I don't know that you really need some document to point at to be able to definitively say that it is not acceptable as any reasonable person would look it and know that it's unacceptable quality.

If they won't address it then I would use what is usable, don't use want isn't usable, set it out for them to pick up, let them know, and if they don't credit it then call your credit card company or bank and refuse/back charge the payment for that portion of the bad lumber

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If you didn’t order your lumber by “grade”, then you don’t have much to complain about.

If you ordered 27-2x4’s and you got 27-2x4’s, then they fulfilled the order correctly.

The lowest “grade” of lumber is “Economy”. (It’s even lower than “Utility”.) It allows twisted material, deformed material, etc., just about everything you described that was in your order. (See West Coast Lumbermen’s Association, paragraph 122.) This grade of lumber is often used for blocking, temporary braces, etc.

However, the lowest grade of “framing lumber” (2x width, studs, joists, etc.) ALLOWED BY CODE is “No. 3. However, “Standard & Better” or “No. 2 & Better” is the most common AND is often identified as “Construction” grade, when it’s stresses graded. (See ICC Section 2308 for framing and Table 2308.7.2(6) for joists.)

If I were you, I’d contact the lumberyard and let them know it doesn’t meet code, because the salesman knew IT WAS TO BE USED FOR AN ADDITION TO YOUR HOUSE, and you are returning the load and would like the correct framing lumber “grade” (“Standard & Better” or “No. 2& Better” or “Construction” grade. I would stay away from “No. 3”.) The price might be about 15% higher, but the delivery price should remain the same and you should be credited for 100% of the last order, including the delivery charge.

Btw, each piece of lumber should be grade stamped” or a separate certified letter should accompany the load. If you don’t know how to read the grade stamps, ask the salesman to show you. (Ask to see “Select Structural” lumber so you know the difference and so the salesman can’t B.S. you.)

Btw, don’t let the salesman tell you “Economy” grade or “Utility” grade is just another term for “No. 3”. It’s not.

If you live in a seismically active area or a high wind area, this is even more important to get the correct framing.

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In my opinion you're well within your rights to call and speak to whoever arranged your order or his manager about the quality of the lumber you received.

Yes, it does seem that homeowners get the short-end of deal vs. larger customers like builders and contractors.

I'd call and ask them to take back the crappy stuff and replace it with stuff suitable for your building application.

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  • Even contractors get $#@! from time to time. Usually not 90%, though. – Aloysius Defenestrate May 2 '20 at 17:06
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    A number of years ago I had a contractor shell up a 3 car garage for me. He said his approach was to over-order the lumber and once it got there, sort it into 3 piles: 1) The best for studs and plates, 2) Some with some defects, but still usable for blocking, short headers, cripples, etc. and 3) a pile that goes back to the lumber yard. – George Anderson May 2 '20 at 20:15
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    I think when the lumber yard got that pile back they just loaded it straight into the truck for my order. – brentonstrine May 4 '20 at 3:20

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