Wood is a material extensively used in construction since ancient times. Different types of wood are widely used to construct various structures such as houses, oﬃces, etc. one of the chief reasons why the wood is so popular is its unique characteristics. It is a versatile material. Besides construction, wood is extensively used to make various furniture items such as tables, chairs, wardrobes, shelves, etc., and also it is used for interior decoration of homes and oﬃces, widely.
Wood is a naturally occurring material. The main source of wood is tree. There are diﬀerent varieties of trees in nature, which are used as the source of wood and also they give diﬀerent kinds of wood.
Diﬀerent types of woods have diﬀerent properties and diﬀerent characteristics which makes each one of them unique. As wood is a naturally occurring material, it is easily available and so it is relatively cheaper than other available materials.
Wood is a type of material that can be crafted into any preferred shape and size, with the help of some tools and equipment. So wood is widely used for making decorative furniture items and also to decorate the interior of houses, oﬃces, shops, etc. Wood is also a good insulator. It can resist cold and heat from outside and prevents from entering the house.
Types Of Wood Used In Construction
There is a wide variety of woods in nature. But only some of them can be used for construction because of their properties and diﬀerent characteristics. There are few factors based on which wood is classified into diﬀerent categories such as hardness, texture, and color. But the major factor out of all is its density. Mainly the wood is classified into three main categories as Hardwood, Softwood, and Engineered Wood.
Let us look at the further classification and diﬀerent varieties of wood in detail below.
Hardwood is a type of wood that is usually denser than soft wood. Hardwoods are obtained from deciduous trees, which are scientifically known as angiosperms. The deciduous trees produce seeds and leaves.
Generally, the hardwoods are believed to be stronger than the softwoods. But some of the species of softwood trees tend to be even stronger than hardwoods.
Some common species of hardwoods are oak wood, maple wood, cherry wood, mahogany wood, and walnut wood. Hardwoods are also known for their beautiful grain patterns.
Usually, the speed of growth of hardwood is slower than that of softwood. So due to the slower growth speed, they result in denser wood quality, when compared with softwood. When in construction, the durability of the structure is to be considered, hardwoods are the primary choice. Elements like wooden floors, beams, and high-quality furniture items are made out of hardwood.
Let us learn about some commonly used hardwood species briefly below.
Oak wood has almost 500 to 600 diﬀerent species of trees globally. The most common species out of them which are commonly used for construction and woodworking are red oak and white oak.
Oak wood is a hard and durable wood. It is also known for its strength. Usually found with straight grains and visible growth rings, oak wood is also resistant to fungal attacks. Mostly, oak wood is used for furniture, cabinets, flooring, and panelling works.
Maple wood is one of the most common types of hardwood used in construction works. Maple wood is commonly found in Asia, Europe, North America, and North Africa. It is extremely strong and durable but the hardness of maple wood is moderate. Maple wood is generally used for diﬀerent furniture items as well as for floorings.
Cherry wood is the wood obtained from the cherry fruit tree. It is light pink at first and changes its color to reddish-brown with time. Cherry wood is known for its flexibility. Due to this characteristic, cherry wood can be molded into any shape and size. It is ideally used for crafting fancy and expensive furniture items.
Commonly used for panelling, furniture, and making boats, mahogany wood is known for its beauty, durability, and color. Mahogany wood is extremely durable and possesses great strength. It has straight, fine, and even grains.
Known for its versatility, walnut wood is a strong and durable wood. Walnut wood is resistant to shock. The density of walnut wood is medium to light. Walnut wood is mostly used for crafting high-quality furniture items.
A type of hardwood, known for its characteristics like natural beauty, workability, and versatility. Alder wood is more popular in some regions of Canada and California. Alder wood is white when freshly cut. But when it is exposed to the atmosphere, its color changes to honey brown. It has medium-density and straight grains which makes it easy for carving, turning, and machining.
Teakwood is also a type of hard wood that is usually found in the Asian rainforests. The teak wood trees take long time to grow, it is usually diﬃcult to find them easily in the market. Due to this reason, the price of teak wood in the market is very high. Teak woos was primarily used for making boats out of it. But nowadays premium, expensive and decorative furniture products are made using it.
Sal wood is commonly found everywhere and is used widely. Sal wood is not so expensive as compared to teak wood. Sal wood is used for making windows, doors, wooden beams, and piles. It is mostly used in the interior part of the structure. If sal wood is exposed to sunlight, it may develop cracks on it. Sal wood is relatively strong and hard.
Softwood is usually obtained from conifer trees, which are scientifically known as Gymnosperms. Gymnosperms have needles and also produce cones. They don’t have leaves like the deciduous trees.
Softwoods are usually less dense than hardwoods and hence their growth is also faster compared to hardwoods. Due to the lower density of softwoods, they are easy to cut down. The softwoods are relatively less resistant to fire.
Pine wood, cedar wood, fir wood, spruce wood, and redwood are the most common species of softwoods, used for construction activities.
Let us look at some commonly used species of softwoods briefly below.
Pine wood is a type of soft wood. Pine wood is most commonly known for its versatility. Straight grains are found in the pine trees when cut down. Pine trees are mostly found in North America.
Pine wood is extensively used to make doors, windows, furniture, etc. The eastern white pine, scot pine, and pitch pine are some common species of pine wood.
Cedar wood is known for its strong aroma, which is a special feature of cedar wood. The aroma of cedar wood is so strong that it can repel insects and moths from it.
Cedar wood is lighter in weight, with a hard texture. Cedar wood is rot-resistant and is also weather-resistant. It is a great choice for decorative furniture and fencing work. Also for outdoor elements like patio furniture and outdoor wooden furniture, cedar wood is a great choice.
Fir wood is generally known for its great strength, durability, and performance. These types of wood is extensively used for woodworking and also the primary choice for food working and construction works. The fir wood does not deform easily as its strength is higher.
Spruce wood is a lightweight softwood used for making ladders, crates, aircraft works, and ship masts. Like fir wood, spruce wood is also very strong and durable. The hardness of spruce wood is usually moderate. Generally, fine grains are found in spruce wood.
Redwood is a premium quality wood, used for making high-quality and premium wooden furniture. Redwood trees are very tall. They can grow up to a height of 300 ft.
Superior quality redwood is obtained from the inner part of the tree trunk, known as the heartwood. The redwood tree contains a chemical that makes it resistant to insects and weather. The durability of redwood is also great.
3. Engineered Wood
Engineered woods are the types of woods that are not found naturally or straight from the trees. Engineered wood means it is a kind of artificial wood manufactured in factories. This kind of wood is made up using the wood found naturally, but the diﬀerence is that some admixtures such as adhesives are added to it.
The properties of engineered wood are way too diﬀerent from naturally occurring wood. Engineered wood is produced to meet the requirements which are often hard to find in nature.
Engineered woods have a variety of applications in areas like residential, commercial, and industrial construction as well. Plywood, Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF), composite board, and Cross-laminated timber (CLT) are some examples of engineered wood that are widely used across the globe.
Plywood is a type of engineered wood. This means it is not found naturally anywhere, instead it is manufactured in the factories. Plywood is a material made up of thin layers of plies of wood veneer that are sticked together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another. Plywood is usually available in sheet form in the market.
Plywood is used for making furniture items and also for making doors and windows. Plywood is also used for shuttering purposes in construction.
Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)
It is also a type of engineered wood. Medium-density fibreboards are usually denser than plywoods. It is made by breaking down the natural wood into wood fires and combining it with wax and resin binder. Medium-density fibreboard is found in panelled form. The uses and applications of Medium-density fibreboards are similar to plywoods.
Composite board is also a type of engineered wood used for various purposes such as home interior, furniture items, exterior furniture, etc. It is available in a variety of colors and types. It is also known for its durability and so the products crafted out of it last longer.