Buying NZ Timber

Buying NZ Timber The New Zealand timber industry has a large domestic market and sells to countries all around the globe including China, Australia, United States, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

If you are looking to buy New Zealand Radiata Pine for domestic use or for export please contact the New Zealand Timber Industry Federation with your requirements and we will pass them through to the sawmills who will be best able to help you.

New Zealand Radiata Pine

New Zealand pine is a light coloured, medium density softwood with a moderately even texture that produces sawn lumber with excellent working properties.

Sawn New Zealand timber dries easily and can be kiln dried rapidly from green. The wood can be readily treated with preservative to achieve all desired durability levels.

Timber Grades

Through good silviculture management, New Zealand pine logs come in a range of qualities capable of yielding lumber grades to meet almost any requirement.

Appearance Grades

For finishing and furniture uses, can either be clear of knots or contain minor blemishes and tight knots. These grades include:

  • Clear Timber: Free of knots and blemishes, used for high-quality joinery, furniture and mouldings. 
  • Cuttings Grades: For reprocessing to produce shorter clear lengths with excellent machining and gluing properties. These grades contain large knots and blemishes that are removed by cross-cutting and ripping. The resulting clear components are often finger-jointed and edge glued to produce mouldings and furniture. 

(link to pdf with visual representation of New Zealand Pine)

Structural Grades (Framing Grades)

Used primarily for construction where strength and stiffness are important. The main factors influencing a structural grade are the size and location of knots. Grade limit such defects to meet specified strength requirements.

Industrial Grades

Used in packaging for various products such as pallets, cable drums and concrete formwork. Grades contain a range of knot sizes compatible with final use.

Industrial grades are also produced for export including thin board and a range of other grades to buyer specifications.

New Zealand timber producers are able to grade to most customer requirements. Common export grades include:

  • Australia: AS2858 F5 and F7 structural grades (visual) treated and untreated AS1748 MGP grades (machine stress graded) 
  • United States: Western Wood Products Association random width lumber specifications including mouldings and better, shop and factory grades. 
  • Japan: JAS structural grade specifications(which also include glue laminated and plywood grades) 
  • China and Vietnam: NZS3631 cuttings grades and also buyer specified grades 

Common Timber Sizes

The standard sizes produced by New Zealand sawmills are;

  • Width: 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, 200, 225, 250, 275 and 300mm 
  • Thickness: 25, 40, 50, 75 and 100mm 
  • Length: 1.8 to 6.0m in increments of 0.3m 

These are rough sawn (not planed) dried sizes. Preservative Treatments Effective preservation treatments have been developed to ensure New Zealand pine has excellent performance across a broad range of applications. New Zealand has developed a world leading wood preservation industry and has rigorous codes of practice and the industry has been audited to these for over by Woodmark (hyperlink to the woodmark site). Woodmark is the leading quality assurance programme for preservative treated timber.

In New Zealand, round wood (posts and poles), sawn timber and plywood are treated to six different hazard class levels. Preservative treatment requirements are generally equivalent to or exceed those of other countries that have formal wood preservation standards.

Treated Timber Hazard Class Guide

This Guide sets out the hazard classes for treated timber that are appropriate for given end uses. The uses for treated timber are as set out in the New Zealand Standard, NZS3640:2003 Chemical preservation of round and sawn timber and in Amendment 7 to the Compliance Document for Clause B2 Durability of the New Zealand Building Code.

Hazard Class Exposure Service Conditions Hazard End Users
H1.1 Protected from the weather Always dry Borers Framing, interior linings & trim, now rarely used
H1.2 Protected from the weather, above ground but possibility of exposure to moisture Dry but possible exposure to moisture conducive to decay Borers and decay fungi Structural timbers within the building envelope including wall, ceiling and floor framing and roof trusses
H3.1 Exposed to weather but out of ground contact Periodic wetting, out of ground contact Decay fungi and borers Cladding, fascia and exterior joinery, usually used in a vertical plane. These uses require a paint coating. May also be used in structural timbers within the building envelope.
H3.2 Exposed to weather but out of ground contact Periodic wetting, out of ground contact Decay fungi and borers All H3.1 uses plus outdoor structural applications such as decking and pergolas and fence palings and pickets. H3.2 cladding of Radiata Pine may be used unpainted.
H4 Exposed to weather in ground or fresh water contact Ground contact and/or severe or continuous wetting Decay fungi and borers Fence and agricultural posts and landscaping
H5 Exposed to weather in ground or fresh water contact Ground contact and/or severe or continuous wetting where uses are critical and a higher level of protection than H4 is required Decay fungi and borers House piles and poles, retaining walls, transmission poles
H6 Seawater or estuarine ground Salt water or estuarine immersion Marine borers and decay Wharf & marine piles and timbers