7th Dec 2022 -

2x1 timber is one of the smallest options available, but can still perform well within a range of construction uses. In this guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll look through the precise sizes of 2x1 timber, the different ways it can be sold, and its many uses within building and construction projects.

What Size is 2x1 Timber in the UK?

While the imperial sizes continue to be used informally, within the UK metric sizes must be used for all products sold. A 50mm x 25mm timber will be the closest equivalent to a 2x1 timber, though the exact measurements are a little different (2x1 is actually 50.8 x 25.4). When buying 2x1 timber it is worth bearing in mind that the actual measurements will be lower than those specified in almost all cases.

The Difference Between Nominal and Actual Sizes

The stated size for timber is the size that the planks were originally cut to. This is known as green timber, and contains a high level of moisture. While there are some benefits that can come from working with green timber, most timber sold within the UK will have been dried, and potentially planed. Kiln-drying timber will reduce its moisture level to below 20%, shrinking it in size. Planing will involve smoothing one or more surfaces of the timber, and will also reduce its size. This means that in most cases instead of being a 50mm x 25mm size, the actual sizes in mm will be closer to 38mm x 19mm.

What Types of 2x1 Timber Are Available?

At Building Materials Nationwide we stock quality 2x1 timber, with different finishes intended for specific uses within a building project:

2x1 Planed Square Edge Timber

Planed square edge timber, or PSE, is a timber beam that has been planed on all four faces, giving it a smooth finish. Whenever you need timber that will be visible within a project, be that construction or other, then planed timber will be the ideal choice for a clean and attractive look. It also avoids the risk of splinters, which can come with rough sawn timber.

2x1 Treated Timber

Pressure treated timber has been altered with preservatives, in order to give it both moisture and insect resistance. If you’re looking to use 2x1 timber outdoors, a pressure treated option will be the better choice, as untreated softwoods are prone to rot and decay when encountering water. Wood-boring insects will also pose a threat to untreated wood, which can cause both structural and aesthetic damage. Pressure-treated timber will also offer resistance against this.

C16 2x1 Timber

C16 Timber is graded for structural work, meaning that it has been certified to reach a series of minimum standards around strength and durability. When pressure treated, C16 timber can also be used for external structural work. 

What Lengths of 2x1 Timber Are Available?

2x1 timber will be sold in a range of lengths, depending on your needs. Lengths tend to rise in increments of 30 or 60cm, with longer beams of 2x1 timber available in 3m or more.

What is 2x1 Timber Used For?

There are several popular uses for 2x1 timber:

  • Roofing Battens: The small size and strength of 2x1 timber certified to C16 strength will be an excellent choice for roofing battens, laid over a roof to support tiles. Roof battens are a vital element of a roof structure.
  • Edging: Treated 2x1 timber can be used for edging within an outdoor setting. This can border soil, rocks, or wood chips within a garden. Treated wood will create distinct sections within a public or private garden, and is an attractive and useful feature.
  • Wall Joists For Cladding: 2x1 timber beams can be used as wall joists onto which cladding can be attached. Wall cladding is a popular option in a variety of settings, with both resistant and hygienic choices available. Strong 2x1 beams will be able to support cladding in place, and treated timber can also be used for external wall cladding.

Our Range of 2x1 Timber For Sale

Building Materials Nationwide stocks a range of quality 2x1 timber for sale. We stock beautiful PSE Timber, resistant treated timber, and high-performance C16 timber, all in 50mm x 25mm sizes and at competitive prices. We can supply timber for both large scale construction and DIY work, delivering across the country. We also offer trade accounts for our customers in the industry, gaining access to a dedicated account manager, our full product range, and our express nationwide delivery options. Sign up for a trade account through our website today.