Lumber Yard

Nominal vs. Rough Cut Lumber Sizes



The Difference Between Nominal Lumber and Rough Cut Lumber

Understanding the difference between nominal vs. rough cut lumber will help you make the right decision the next time you are purchasing lumber for a project. Fasteners Plus is here to help you navigate through some of the common questions regarding differences in cuts of lumber and the practical hangers and post bases that accommodate the lumber. Watch the video below to learn more!


Nominal Lumber Dimensions

Nominal lumber is the lumber you typically find at lumberyards or home improvement stores. It has already been dried and planed smooth (surfaced) on all four sides to its final thickness. An example of this is a 2x4” board measuring slightly less at 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”.

Rough Cut Lumber Dimensions

Rough cut lumber measures the true dimensions of the board. For example, a 2x4” piece of lumber will measure a true 2x4”. Rough cut lumber is sometimes referred to as “old lumber”. This wood usually shrinks over time, mostly in width.


Rough Cut Vs Nominal Cut Lumber

Actual Lumber Dimensions 

Actual dimensions are the actual measurements you would get with a tape measure when measuring a piece of lumber.

  • Nominal 2x4 Actual dimensions = 1-1/2” x 3-1/2”
  • Rough Cut 2x4 Actual Dimensions = 2” x 4”

To be prepared for shopping for lumber, take a tape measure to the lumber yard or home improvement store and measure the width of the boards. Rough-cut lumber generally has saw marks on the surface and rough edges whereas nominal lumber has a smooth and clean appearance overall.

Nominal Lumber and Tape Measure


Joist Hangers for Nominal and Rough Cut Lumber

When seeking hangers for a job, Fasteners Plus has you covered. We offer a variety of options for both rough cut and nominal lumber to meet a large range of applications including decking, floors, ceilings, and more.

Joist hangers provide a much stronger connection than using nails or screws alone. Simpsons ALPH24 Concealed Flange Light Joist Hanger is a top-selling product that stands the test of time for nominal lumber. There are also many different joist hanger shapes and sizes available that accommodate less common construction applications.

Joist Hanger


Some of the rough cut joist hanger options available include Simpsons APLH26R Rough Cut Hanger, Simpsons U46R Rough Cut Joist Hanger, and Simpsons LU28R-18 Rough Cut Joist Hanger.

Fasteners Plus makes it clear to distinguish if the hanger is designed for rough cut lumber with the "Rough Cut" badge on the top right of the image, the “R” listed in the part number, and “Rough Cut” in the product listing name. The screws compatible with this product are listed in the specifications tab under this product.

Rough Cut Badge 

Post Bases for Nominal and Rough Cut Lumber

A broad collection of post bases for rough cut and nominal lumber are also available at FastenersPlus. Simpsons Ornamental Rough Cut Post Base is a reliable post base that secures wood columns to concrete and provides a 1" stand-off height to help reduce decay.

It is clear if a post base is intended for rough-cut lumber by the "Rough Cut" badge at the top right of the image, “R” in the part number, and “Rough Cut” in the product listing name. Simpsons APB66 Ornamental Post Base is a nominal cut option with a similar appearance to the rough cut post base pictured below. The screws compatible with this product are listed in the specifications tab for this product.

Post Base

Find it Fast. Get it Fast. 

Once you have chosen what type of lumber cut is the best option for your project and what hangers you will need, you will be ready to build a project that will last a lifetime! Fasteners Plus products are the best solutions to bringing strong, long-lasting outdoor structures to life.

Fasteners Plus carries a variety of screws, connectors, anchors, nails, power tools, and more! Place your orders at and our dedicated team will get quality products sent to you. If you have any questions about fastener options, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Product Experts at (888) 794-1590 or by email at

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