RBM Lumber


There are MANY different ways to install and finish wood floors. Here are a few basic pointers, tips, and suggestions. Please use your own creativity and discretion to adjust to your unique application or situation.

  • Birch Flooring
  • Blue Pine Circle Sawn Flooring
  • Fir, Larch, Birch and Pine RBM Flooring
  • Fir & Larch Vertical Grain Flooring
  • Fir & Larch and Circle Sawn
  • Smooth, Band Sawn, Wire Brushed and Circle Sawn Flooring Textures
  • Wood Flooring

Drying and Moisture Content*
The wood flooring you are purchasing from RBM Lumber is dried to 6-8% moisture content. Maintaining this moisture content is critical to the success of your finished floor. This can be achieved by simply taking the appropriate precautions.

  1. First, do not allow your flooring to get damp, rained on, or left in a humid environment.
  2. If you are transporting it home in inclement weather, it must be wrapped.
  3. Once transported, take it immediately into a warm (heated), dry, and enclosed area (home or garage). 

If the flooring is left in a damp, humid and/or unheated environment (such as an unheated garage), it will take on additional moisture. Then, when it is installed in a warm, dry, heated location, it will gradually lose this added moisture (dry out) and shrink, causing gaps between the boards.
When installing flooring in a newly built home, the flooring must be installed and finished immediately. New homes have high humidity due to the drying of new building materials. 
*Please see note below concerning returns.
Wood Flooring Installation:
Flooring should be installed on a good, sturdy, level, smooth underlayment (3/4 plywood is preferred but not an absolute requirement).

  1. If possible, install across the floor joists. Fifteen pound (15#) or thirty pound (30#) roofing felt, red rosin paper, or 6 mil poly-visqueen should be spread evenly over the underlayment (Note that existing linoleum can be left as an alternative). This layer provides a moisture barrier, helps to even out slight unevenness, and can help to resist squeaking.
  2. The moisture barrier is imperative if you are installing flooring over an unheated garage, crawl-space or basement. It is fairly inexpensive and well worth the cost.
  3. Start the flooring on the straightest wall possible and use a string line to determine the straightness of your walls. It is good to run a chalk line on the first run. The first and second run is face nailed. Each run thereafter is nailed through the tongue.
  4. For ease of installation, you should use a flooring nailer designed for that purpose. RBM has pneumatic nailers that you can rent. Most tool rental businesses also carry manual or pneumatic nailers. These nailers are specially designed to easily slip the shoe over the face of the board. They are notched to perfectly position the head, allowing the nail to be countersunk into the tongue which hides it from vision. They also hold the flooring down securely allowing you to easily install the next piece.

The last run may have to be cut to the proper width and be face nailed. If installing in an irregularly shaped room, in a multiple room layout, or in a complicated pattern, placement of the starting boards is critical. If you are unsure of the proper approach, please ask we — will be happy to guide you.
Excessive moisture is the most common cause of buckling floors. Moisture can come from leaking pipes, wet basements or crawl spaces, plywood exposed to the elements during construction, and houses left vacant without proper ventilation. Floors can also buckle if a proper expansion gap around each wall is not used. 
Installing our flooring below ground level or over concrete is not recommended, and will void any and all warranties….some installers have installed our flooring over concrete with radiant heat (glue down)……we don’t advise it.

  1. Above ground concrete slab installation over properly installed pressure treated plywood with moisture barriers both on the concrete and between the plywood and flooring will be acceptable…..be sure and use the proper fasteners for pressure treated material…..OR…..
  2. on top of a 15-20Lb moisture barrier use strips (minimum ¾” or thicker) depending on how level and flat the slab is, at 16” on center with ¾” plywood over, then a moisture barrier and then the flooring would be acceptable. 

Keep in mind when furring up a floor like this the rough opening door height needs to be taken into consideration. 
After the flooring is installed, the next step is sanding.

  1. If your floor is textured to circle-sawn, wire-brushed or a combination of the two, you will probably want to lightly skim the flooring with a buffer pad or a sanding screen to remove burrs and unevenness.
  2. When sanding or buffing, always follow the grain of the wood. If your floor is a smooth face, you will want to sand in steps.
  3. If necessary, start sanding with 36 grit, increasing to 60 grit, then 80 grit, finishing with about 120 grit. Again, always sand in the direction of the grain of the wood. If you are not experienced with floor finishing equipment, we recommend using a square buffing sander.
  4. Finishing is the final step. We suggest that you carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the product you choose. RBM Lumber carries the Bona product line.

Although some manufactures have begun to make pre-finished softwood flooring, usually southern yellow pine, Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir is almost always unfinished. Typical board lengths will range from 2 to 12 feet and widths can range from 3-1/8″ to 6-7/8″. 
Floor Care

  • DO put pads on the bottom of furniture to prevent scratching or gouging in wood flooring.
  • DO NOT wet mop wood flooring. Use suggested wood floor cleaning products made specifically for SOLID wood flooring. Examples include Bona-Kemi and Holloway House products.
  • Many steps can be taken to help reduce scratches on a wood floor. First, you can put throw rugs down in any high traffic areas such as in entryways, in front of your sink or refrigerator, or down a highly traveled hallway. One of the best things you can do is dust, sweep or mop on a regular basis to keep any dirt or debris from collecting on the surface or the floor. You can also put felt pads under the legs of any chairs or tables. ALSO MOVE RUGS REGULARLY TO MINIMIZE DISCOLORING*

All requests to return flooring are subject to management approval.
We do not accept returned flooring that is not in its original bundle and/or packaging,
and in the same condition (moisture content and cleanliness) as when it left our facility.
Try to avoid returning flooring by properly measuring for your specific application
and ordering only what you will need. Returns are subject to a 15% restocking fee.

Grade Clarity
Softwood Flooring Grades are closely related to grading rules for lumber but can vary. The most common descriptions of pine or softwood flooring are as follows: 

  • VERTICAL GRAIN (VG) – This grade describes the most stable and cleanest appearance in fir/larch flooring allowing for small knots in limited quantity.
  • VERTICAL GRAIN #2 – This is Vertical Grain material with knots.
  • D Select – This grade describes the cleanest appearance in pine/fir flooring allowing for small knots in limited quantity. This is a flat grain product. 
  • #2 – These grades usually describe Ponderosa Pine or Douglas Fir in a “knotty grade” floor and are more rustic in appearance. Knots can be sizably bigger than the select grade and more frequent although they typically must be sound and tight. 

Be aware, sticker marks are allowed in #2 & #1 grade flooring… if you do not want any sticker marks in your floor be very aware of them and when you purchase your flooring it might be a good idea to pick up extra so on the rare board with a sticker mark you can high grade the sticker marked boards out.

General Note: RBM Lumber, Inc. is not responsible for shrinkage of lumber, splitting, or other issues caused by improper installation. If you have any questions about your particular application, please ask us. We are happy to help guide you. 

Flooring Info & Specs

Flooring Info & Specs
Although frequently referred to as hardwood, our wood flooring is actually softwood which brings you a warmth and comfort that can’t be found elsewhere. The natural beauty and variety of character as well as product options in our Montana wood flooring is unsurpassed. At RBM we price our wood flooring to fit almost any budget.
At RBM  Lumber we have become a leader in the softwood flooring industry because we take the time to produce the best product available. We offer you the following specs on all our wood flooring products:

Wood Flooring Species:

Wood Flooring Grades:

Wood Flooring Textures:

Wood Flooring Sizes:
Most flooring products are available in 8” (6 – 7/8” coverage), 6” (5 – 1/8”) and 4” (3 – 1/8”) widths and come in random lengths from 20” to 12’.

  1. Not all textures and grades are available in all species.
  2. We will ship in any combination of widths if a random width is desirable.
  3. You can also mix grades such as #2 and select to obtain a desired appearance.
  4. Tell us your square footage and we will calculate the necessary footage for your project.
  5. Our flooring is easy to install for anybody inclined to do it yourself. Let us explain how.
Please call and let us guide you through our many options to determine which suits your needs best.
× Close

Wood Beams and Timbers: Grades

*Because we hand cut our logs, and don’t use the conventional high-volume logging machinery, we are able to deliver these longer logs.

× Close

Wood Beams Stability

When we talk about stability we are referring to how much a beam will shrink, twist, check and move as it acclimates to the environment it is in. All movement in wood takes place while the wood is drying out or picking up moisture. There are only two sources of beams that can be guaranteed not to move and that is glue lams and recycled — both of which may force you to sacrifice the price advantage and/or the appearance you are looking for. For this reason we make as many beams as possible, where stability is of concern, from dead standing Fir & Larch which is already partially dry and therefore more stable than green cut beams.

× Close

Rough Lumber Specs

There are many uses for rough cut lumber … from barns and fences on the farm, to exterior trim on a custom home. Each application has its own set of issues to be considered when selecting the best product to use. At RBM Lumber we’ve been supplying rough lumber for myriads of applications for over 30 years. The following are some basics to keep in mind.

× Close

Movement in Wood

When wood dries out it shrinks. When it picks up moisture it expands. Consequently, in an exterior application in most climates wood will shrink and expand with the season changes.

In an interior application, once it acclimates, wood moves very little due to a more constant humidity. Where the product is being used in your project and your own personal taste is what determines how critical it is to try to control that movement. In many instances the natural movement in wood is irrelevant.

× Close

Rough Lumber Moisture Content

In applications where stability is crucial moisture content is very important. For interior applications 6% MC is ideal. In semi-dry climates 12% MC is ideal for exterior. In certain applications such as siding, proper installation is very important because of the continual movement of the wood. At RBM we can help you know what moisture content is ideal for your application and give you installation tips. In some cases we will either air dry or kiln dry products where lower moisture is necessary. Other times, when available, we will try to cut from dead standing timber because of certain advantages.

× Close

RBM Rough Lumber Grades

× Close

Rough Lumber Dimensions

At RBM we cut all our rough full dimension which means a 2×4 is a full 2″ by a full 4″ not 1 1/2″x 3 1/2″. This means our 2×6 has more wood in it than a surfaced 2×8. But you can special-order pretty much any dimension you want from ¼ inch thick up to 30 inches or wider depending on grade and species.

We try to inventory as much of the more commonly requested products as possible such as 2×4 through 2×12 in rough green and in dry exterior trim stock, as well as various specialty products like 5/4 trim for different siding products and commonly used 1” boards. 5/4 is a dimensional term… that is, it’s really a full inch and a quarter thick. The width is dimensional… Our 5/4×4-inch is cut at a full 4-inches wide and then shrinks slightly as it dries.

Depending on the product we can cut up to 32 feet long. We literally have thousands of different products in stock and can cut almost anything.
Because there are so many uses for rough lumber with such a varied desire for appearance we at RBM don’t assume anything. We will ask as many questions as necessary to be sure your product both works and satisfies your taste for appearance.

Not all products come in all grades and all species
but we can usually find a product that will fit your needs.
If not we may know where you can find it.

× Close