Am putting fence up on one side of my property. One contract states "all lumber is grade 2" - what does that mean?
Woods are graded for quality and appearance. 1 Select is almost perfect. For outdoor fencing 2 or better is acceptable.
The fencing contractor is telling you that with grade 2 you'll see little imperfections, knots, bending, roughness - but the majority will be excellent in appearance.
It should be noted that grade is not an exact measure of a piece of wood. I can guarantee you that a #2 board from Evil Orange or discount fence supplier will be of significantly less quality than a #2 board from a real lumberyard. Also, what species of wood? Some species are better for fencing than others, and one species is priced differently from another. For instance, a "hem/fir" board is cheaper than redwood, and usually stained to make it look like redwood. The average DIY'r doesn't notice or probably care, but that is your decision to make when you are fondling the board in the store. If you are getting bids, then the bid should include the species of wood being used, don't assume you're getting a particular species because that is the "standard", get it in writing, know what you're getting and what you are paying for.