Timber has long been used as a construction material. Today, with various advanced timber products available on the market, architects can now build timber structures that are both high performing and also efficient.

This is particularly important in the age of urbanization, where fast and sustainable construction techniques are required in order to incorporate a sense of nature into the home and office environment.

It has been established that wood is one of the most crucial materials used by modern architects in the architectural industry. Timber refers to a wide range of different types of materials, where each of them can have varying characteristics in terms of their performance.

One simple way to categorize the performance of these different species is to split them into two groups: hardwoods and softwoods. It is imperative that one understands timber with different properties in order to use them correctly and properly. This article will address the performance characteristics of hardwoods and softwoods in detail.

Characteristics of Hardwoods

Hardwoods are sourced from broad-leaved trees. Typically, they grow slower and are thicker than softwoods. Hardwoods are also stronger and more durable due to their more condensed and complex structure. Some common types of hardwoods include oak, teak, iroko, and meranti. They also grow at a very slow pace and need longer drying times, which explains why the cost of the wood is higher.

These species are more suitable for projects that require high durability and longevity. On the other hand, beech, maple, and walnut are types of hardwoods that are more commonly used for custom joinery tasks, such as wooden flooring, fine veneers, and building furniture. Although most softwoods are cheaper, hardwoods can be a good investment due to their longevity and resilience. They are also easier to maintain as well.

Characteristics of Softwoods

Softwoods come from conifers that grow at a fast rate and are easy to obtain and manipulate, which is why they are cheaper than hardwoods. As softwoods are lighter in weight, more flexible, and less dense than many hardwoods. Thus, they are often used for windows manufacturing, interior moulding, construction framing, and producing sheet goods, such as plywood. For outdoor use, softwoods are often infused with biocides prior to installation so that the wood will be more durable. Usually, softwoods have a shorter life than hardwoods and they often require more care and maintenance throughout their lifespan.

Some Exceptions to Consider

It should be noted, however, that there are still exceptions to the fact that hardwoods are denser and more durable than softwoods. For example, balsa is one hardwood that is quite soft and is often used for building lightweight models. Old growth western red cedar, one of the most common softwood materials, has relatively high durability and stability characteristics that match many of those hardwood species.

Use of Coatings

A coating system that minimizes water access can improve the durability and stability of both hardwoods and softwoods. Coatings can be translucent or opaque depending on your needs. For example, translucent coatings are ideal for aesthetic purposes as a beautiful wood grain is visible. Moreover, coatings can also help extend the service life of products made from these timbers as well.

If you’re looking for the highest-quality timber cladding, Timber 2 U Direct is your best option. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.