• Best Types of Building Wood For Construction

    | by Holly Wood

    The types of building wood you consider using within a structure should be based on a careful evaluation of the project’s requirements, budget, and environmental impact.

    Wood-framed construction is a popular and affordable method of construction that has many advantages, including sustainability, energy efficiency, and design flexibility. However, it is important to consider the potential risks and challenges associated with wood-framed construction, such as fire risk, durability, moisture management, sound transmission, and environmental concerns.

    Types of Building Wood

    Whether you’ve already committed to building a timber frame house or are still deliberating your options, deciding between hardwood and softwood for your structural system can be daunting. To help make the decision easier, we’ve gathered all of the facts for an overview of both materials. When you know what makes each unique, it will be simple to choose which is right for your project.



    Softwoods are a group of trees that belong to the gymnosperm family and produce cones instead of flowers or fruits.

    These trees are characterised by their relatively fast growth rates, light-coloured wood, and straight grain patterns.

    Softwoods are widely used for a variety of applications, including construction, furniture making, paper production, and energy production.

    Types of Softwoods:

    Some of the most commonly used softwoods include:

    • Pine: Pine is the most widely used softwood and is known for its light colour, straight grain, and relatively low cost. It is commonly used for construction timber, making household furniture, and paper production.
    • Spruce: Spruce is a popular softwood that is known for its strength, stiffness, and durability. It is commonly used for construction timber, musical instruments, and paper production.
    • Fir: Fir is a softwood that is known for its strength and resistance to decay. Fir timber is commonly used for construction lumber, plywood, and framing.
    • Cedar: Cedar is a softwood that is known for its natural resistance to insects and decay. It is commonly used for exterior applications such as siding, decking, and fencing.
    • Hemlock: Hemlock is a softwood that is known for its straight grain and fine texture. It is commonly used for construction lumber, pulpwood, and paper production.

    Softwood Applications

    Softwoods can be employed within a host of woodworking projects, including:

    • Interior mouldings
    • Constructing window frames
    • Furniture
    • Construction framing



    Hardwoods are a group of trees that belong to the angiosperm family and produce flowers and fruits.

    Hardwood trees are characterised by their slower growth rates, denser wood, and more complex grain patterns.

    Hardwoods are widely used for a variety of applications, including furniture making, flooring, cabinetry, and decorative woodworking.

    Types of Hardwoods:

    Some of the most commonly used hardwoods include:

    • Oak: Oak wood is a popular hardwood that showcases strength, durability, and distinctive grain patterns. Oak timber is a popular choice for furniture, flooring, cabinetry, and decorative woodworking.
    • Maple: Maple wood is a hardwood that is known for its light colour, density, and resistance to wear. It is commonly used for flooring, furniture, and cabinetry.
    • Cherry: Cherry timber is a hardwood with a rich, reddish-brown colour and distinctive grain patterns, which makes it a popular choice for furniture makers, cabinet makers, and decorative woodworkers
    • Walnut: Walnut is a hardwood that boasts a rich, dark colour and fine texture. Walnut timber is an ideal material for outdoor furniture due to its innate immunity to rotting and bug infestation, surpassing the durability of popular woods like pine or cedar.
    • Mahogany: People know Mahogany as a hardwood with a reddish-brown colour and straight, fine grain. This type of wood stands as a favoured choice for furniture, cabinetry, and decorative woodworking.

    Hardwood Applications:

    Due to their beauty, strength, and durability, people widely use hardwoods for a variety of applications.

    Some of the most common applications include:

    • Furniture
    • Flooring
    • Cabinetry
    • Decorative woodworking
    • Inlay work

    Engineered Wood

    Manufacturers create engineered wood by bonding or laminating multiple layers of wood veneer or strands together with adhesives.

    The resulting product has improved strength, durability, and stability compared to solid wood.

    Engineered wood does not favour a particular wood species in its production, its manufacture incorporates both softwoods and hardwoods.

    Types of Engineered Wood

    The most common types of engineered wood construction materials include:

    Engineered Wood Applications

    If you need to install flooring in spaces that are prone to high levels of moisture, choosing engineered wood flooring is a more viable option than solid timber and other types of building wood.

    Given that it is less prone to moisture damage than solid wood, it is an optimal material for kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

    Engineered wood is suitable for the following applications:

    • Flooring
    • Cabinetry
    • Furniture
    • Structural building components

    Framing Timber

    Framing timber, often referred to as structural wood, provides strength and stability to buildings and structures.

    Builders commonly use softwood, hardwood, and engineered timber for construction, as each type has its unique advantages and applications.

    Timber frames have become increasingly popular because they provide more room for insulation and possess remarkable natural thermal capabilities.

    Timber framing is often an essential component in the construction of:

    • Walls
    • Roof trusses
    • Floor joists

    Wood frame construction boasts strength, cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and versatility, making it an ideal choice for construction projects of all sizes and types, commercial and residential structures alike.

    Uses of Framing Timber:

    Timber framing finds its usefulness in a range of construction projects, including but not limited to:

    • Wall framing
    • Roof framing
    • Floor framing
    • Structural beams
    • Poles & posts

    Hardwood Vs Softwood In Wood Framed Construction

    The choice between hardwood and softwood for timber framing depends on several factors, such as the intended use of the structure, the location and climate of the building site, and personal preferences.

    When it comes to timber framing, softwoods like pine, fir and spruce are the materials of choice due to their affordability, easy access and outstanding structural qualities. They are also lightweight, making them easier to work with, and they tend to dry quickly, which reduces the risk of warping or cracking.

    Hardwoods, such as oak, ash, and maple, are typically stronger and denser than softwoods, which can make them more durable and resistant to wear and tear. They also tend to be more visually appealing, with attractive grain patterns and colours that can add to the aesthetic appeal of a timber frame structure. However, hardwoods can be more expensive and harder to work with than softwoods, and they may not be as readily available in certain regions.

    Ultimately, the choice between hardwood and softwood for timber framing depends on your specific needs and preferences. If you are building a structure in a location with harsh weather conditions or high humidity, you may want to consider using a stronger, more durable hardwood. However, if cost and ease of use are your primary concerns, softwood may be the better option.

    Sustainability Benefits of Wood Framed Construction

    One of the main reasons why wood-framed construction remains a firm favourite in the construction industry is largely down to its sustainability benefits. Wood is a renewable resource. You can sustainably harvest it time after time with minimal environmental impact.

    Moreover, wood is a carbon-neutral material, meaning it does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Instead, they store carbon through a process called carbon sequestration. Trees absorb CO2 from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. After harvesting, timber remains a carbon storehouse, thus preventing the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    Using building wood as a construction material ensures a lower carbon footprint compared to other materials. For example, the manufacturing of steel and concrete requires a significant amount of energy and produces a high level of greenhouse gas emissions.

    In contrast, the processing and transportation of construction timber and wood products have a much lower carbon footprint.

    Using Building Wood In Construction – Challenges & Considerations

    While building wood has many benefits, there are also some challenges and considerations to take into account.

    For example, the quality and durability of timber and wood products can vary, and there is a risk of fire and insect damage.

    Moreover, there are building codes and regulations that govern the types of building wood in construction, and some areas may not allow the use of timber and wood in certain types of buildings.


    Wood framed construction has been around for thousands of years, and it’s still going strong. From log cabins to high-rise buildings, wood has proven time and time again that it’s not just a pretty face – it’s strong, durable, and versatile.

    And let’s not forget its natural beauty – no other building material can match the warmth and character of wood. So, if you’re looking to build something that will stand the test of time and turn heads while doing it, wood is the way to go.

    When selecting any building material, it is essential to consider the project’s requirements, budget constraints, and environmental ramifications prior to making your decision. Wood is no different – ensure you have thoroughly examined these factors before settling on the types of building wood for your project.

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