Timber is one of the primary materials used in construction. Not only can solid wood provide great strength and stability to any construction project but also it will make it aesthetically appealing.
Timber is used for a large variety of construction applications, from the building of doors and windows to cabinets, furniture, wall panels, building structure, boats, ships, and more.
If you are planning to buy wood for your next construction project, know that not all types of timber are equal in terms of properties. The best type of timber will depend on your particular project and requirements. For instance, if you are building a wood piece for exterior use, you must use timber that is durable and resistant to weather and sun.
In this article, you’ll learn about the top types of timber for construction applications.
Two Types of Wood
All timber species out there can be broadly divided into the following two categories:
Hardwoods are produced by deciduous trees that have flowers and lose their leaves every year. Hardwoods are generally stronger, harder and more durable than softwoods, but there are exceptions also. Walnut, teak, oak, iroko, etc. are some examples of hardwood.
Softwoods are obtained from coniferous trees that have leaves in the shape of cones. Softwoods are generally less strong and durable compared to softwoods. They are considered suitable for interior applications.
Even in hardwood and softwood, not all species are the same as each timber species has its specific properties, which make it suitable for certain projects but not others.
Whether you are choosing hardwood or softwood, you must know about the mass timber construction species in each category in order to find the right fit for your project.
Top Species of Timber for Construction
There are several types of timber that are commonly used in construction. These wood species are different from each other in terms of strength, durability, and availability. Some of the best types of timber for construction include:
Douglas Fir is a popular wood for construction, particularly in framing and structural applications. It is a strong softwood that has good dimensional stability and durability, making it suitable for building long-lasting structures. Douglas Fir is also readily available in many regions, making it a cost-effective choice for construction.
This is a dense and durable timber that is widely available and used for framing, trusses, and other structural components. Southern Yellow Pine, in particular, is a strong and durable wood that is commonly used in construction in the United States. Pine wood is known for its high strength-to-weight ratio and its dimensional stability, which make it a good choice for building strong frames.
Cedar is a popular wood for construction, particularly for outdoor applications such as decking, siding, and fencing. This is due to its natural resistance to moisture, decay, and insect damage. Cedar contains natural oils and preservatives that make it highly durable and resistant to rot and decay.
Redwood is another great option for construction timber. Same as cedar, Redwood is mainly used for outdoor applications, including fencing, and decking because of its high durability in terms of resistance to moisture and rot. It is also lightweight and easy to use and adds a rich, premium look to wherever it is used.
Oak is a popular hardwood for construction, particularly for interior applications such as flooring, cabinetry, and furniture. Oak is a strong, dense wood that is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear, making it suitable for high-traffic areas and heavy use. In addition to its durability, oak has a beautiful and distinctive appearance, which makes it liked by many woodworkers.
Spruce is a popular wood for construction, especially for interior framing and sheathing applications. Spruce is a softwood that is known for its strength and stiffness, making it suitable for use in structural applications where high strength is required. Spruce is also relatively lightweight and easy to work with.
Teak is a highly durable hardwood that is known for its strength and resistance to decay, making it a popular wood for outdoor construction, particularly for marine applications such as boat building and decking. Teak is also used in outdoor furniture and flooring. Teak is a dense, oily wood that is highly resistant to moisture, rot, and insects. It also bears a beautiful and distinctive appearance.
Maple is a hardwood that is often used in construction for its strength, durability, and attractive appearance. Maple is a dense, hard wood that is known for its resistance to wear and its ability to withstand heavy loads, making it a popular choice for flooring, cabinetry, and furniture. In addition, maple delivers a rich appearance in its light, creamy hue that can range from nearly white to a light reddish-brown.
Other than solid wood, many engineered wood options are also used for mass timber construction. These include plywood, LVL, CLT and others.
Plywood is a versatile building material that is made from thin layers of wood veneer that are glued together to create a strong, durable panel. Plywood is often used in construction for a variety of applications, including sheathing, roofing, subfloors, and furniture. One of the main advantages of plywood is its strength and durability. It also costs less than many solid wood options.
Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL)
Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) is a type of engineered wood product that is made by bonding together thin layers of wood veneer with adhesive under high heat and pressure to create a strong, durable structural material. LVL is often used in construction for load-bearing applications such as beams, headers, and columns.
Cross Laminated Timber (CLT)
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a type of engineered wood product that is made by glueing together layers of solid lumber at right angles to one another to create a thick, strong, and stable panel. CLT is often used in construction for walls, floors, and roofs, and it is gaining popularity as a sustainable and innovative building material.
It’s important to note that the availability and cost of different types of wood can vary based on your location and the current market conditions. It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional or local supplier to determine the best type of timber for construction.
If you need the professional help of an expert wood consultant, contact White Knight Consulting Ltd UK to know all about the best types of construction timber. You can also buy high-quality, sustainable construction timber in all sizes & dimensions from us with country-wide doorstep delivery.