Wood, in general, has been an extremely vital part of our civilization, starting from the early Paleolithic times. It is used for making tools, furniture, weapons, and constructing buildings as well. Now, the usage of wood has always been dependent on three major factors – availability, quality, and cost. As a hard-fibrous material that is seen as the branches of trees and shrubs, construction wood has various structural and non-structural applications.
Wood can be placed second to stone when it comes to construction as it is a widely preferred material for building boats, shelters, and houses. The inherently complex chemical properties of wood make it challenging to incorporate in a structure if you’re not aware of the ideal type for a particular construction. However, the benefits of using wood outnumber the challenges. So, before taking a deep dive, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of using wood in construction:
As per a broad classification, construction lumber can be found in two types – hardwood and softwood. The difference between both lies in the density and thus the strength. Hardwoods are denser than softwood, making them more durable and stronger than the latter. Now, let’s take a look at the top types of wood used in construction and their applications as per the broad classification!
These come from evergreen coniferous trees where the leaves don’t fall till the new ones grow. Such wood grows in places that have a cold climate as they grow fast, making them less expensive when compared to hardwood. Some of the most common types of softwood are:
-Pine Wood: As a soft, light-yellow or white wood, pine is straight-grained and lightweight. It can resist warping, swelling, and shrinkage. Often found in outdoor and indoor furniture, it is extremely easy to shape pine, but it is also very easy to stain the wood.
-Cedar Wood: As a knotty softwood, cedar has a red-brown colour with light lines. It is highly resistant to insects and decay and has a uniform texture, even though being aromatic in nature. This type of wood is mostly used to line chests, drawers, and boxes.
-Spruce Wood: This might seem extremely contradictory at the moment as spruce is a hard and strong softwood that has a very low resistance to decay. It is still lightweight and has moderate shrinkage properties, making it ideal for cladding, panelling, crates, and even in the spars and masts of ships.
-Firwood: Also known as the Douglas Fit, this is a straight grain with a reddish-brown colour. Firwood has a uniform texture that cannot get stained easily and thus is typically used in its raw form. However, fir has a poor resistance to decay, is non-resinous in nature, and is used for general millwork, furniture, interior trim, or windows.
These, unlike softwood, come from deciduous trees which produce fruits or nuts and have broad leaves. With a denser structure in comparison, these trees are generally inactive in winter. Some of the most common types of hardwood are:
-Teak Wood: As one of the most popular types of hardwood, teak is dark brown to yellow in colour, extremely heavy, durable, warp and weather-resistant, making it impossible to decay. You will be able to see a straight grain pattern in this wood and the natural oils present makes them pest-resistant. This structural construction wood is ideal for wooden-framed houses, windows, and partitions.
-Oak Wood: As one of the most widely-used forms of hardwood, oak can be found in two types – red and white. The former has a distinct finish and grain. It is a light-coloured hardwood that has good resistance to yeast, fungus, and moisture, making it perfect for office furniture like cabinets, bookshelves, and outdoor furniture.
-Maple Wood: Known for its great strength and fine texture, maple is so resistant to shock that at times it is used for constructing pathways as well. It is highly durable and easy to clean, making it the best hardwood for wall shelves and console tables, among other household furniture.
-Mahogany Wood: Commonly known as Honduras, this is a reddish-brown coloured wood that is famous for its uniform pore structure with poorly defined annual rings and strength. The fact that Mahogany takes stains very well makes it an ideal finish to the pieces of furniture. It also has no-shrink, swell, or warp properties, and is commonly found in nested tables and dining table sets.
Some other commonly used types of hardwood include rosewood, ash wood, mango wood, beechwood, walnut wood, and cherry wood.
As an ancient building material, construction lumber has been in use much before cement became popular. The long-lasting nature and natural beauty of wood can bring warmth to your surroundings. Timber Exchange is a one-of-a-kind independent digital platform that deals with supply chain automation and aims at making global trade a smoother process. If you’re building structures with wood and are importing timber products in bulk, feel free to get in touch with the platform so that you can trade seamlessly in a virtual supply-chain environment through 90+ smart tools and analytics.