Hardwood vs Softwood

When it comes to pursuing a construction project, timber can be your best option. Not only does this material exhibit vital functionality features, but it can also enhance the aesthetic value of your project. Whether for structural exteriors, windows and doors, or decorative purposes, wood are topnotch choices that will work well for various projects. 

With timber, you usually have the option to choose between hardwood and softwood. However, many people find it difficult to decide which is better. Keep in mind that the answer to this will boils down to the specific wood project you’re planning to pursue.

In this article, we’ll cover the difference between hardwood and softwood so that you can choose the right made-to-measure wood for your specific timber project.

Hardwood versus Softwood

When it comes to comparing the two, you’ll probably rely on what they exactly sound like—hard or soft as a wood. Other than their names, they can be best distinguished through their reproduction—not just their appearance and attributes. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Hardwood: This wood type comes from deciduous trees that lose their leaves every year. Common hardwood trees are oak, maple, teak, and meranti (refer to the list below). Because they grow at a slow rate and require longer drying time, this type of material can be a bit costly. The wood is characterised by its aesthetic beauty, colours, and variety of species. Ultimately, it has a superior level of strength and durability due to its complex and condensed structure.
  • Softwood: This wood type comes from conifer trees that remain evergreen all year round. Popular softwood trees are fir, pine, and cedar (refer to the list below). This material is also known for its remarkable visual appeal and wide applications sourced across the globe. Likewise, it is readily available and easily manipulated, which makes it an affordable option. Ultimately, it is flexible, lightweight, and less dense than most of its counterparts. 

Types of wood

If you aren’t sure of what types of timber to choose, below are some examples of hardwood and softwood:

Hardwood

  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Tulipwood
  • Walnut
  • Iroko
  • Meranti
  • Sapele

Softwood

  • Douglas Fir
  • Siberian Larch
  • Southern Yellow Pine
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Scandinavian (Unsorted) Redwood

Uses and applications

Now, let’s take a look at the uses and applications of both types of woods. Take note of the following:

  • Hardwood: This type is regarded as the ultimate versatile material due to its broad uses and applications. It can be used for veneers and furniture, musical instruments, flooring, construction, and boatbuilding. As it is more resilient than softwood, it is ideal for projects that require the utmost durability. For beech, maple, and walnut hardwoods, they are best for custom joinery projects, crafting furniture, wooden flooring, and fine veneers. 
  • Softwood: This type can be used across a wide range of internal and external wood projects, such as furniture, flooring, decking, landscaping, and other structural applications. It is commonly used for interior mouldings, window manufacturing, construction framing, and generating sheet goods like plywood and fibreboard. 

Conclusion

At this point, you now know the main difference between hardwood and softwood. When pursuing a project and ordering a made-to-measure timber, be sure to consider all the valuable information discussed above. Ultimately, it’s not a matter of choosing which one is better, but it’s about what works for your construction project!

Are you having a hard time choosing between hardwood and softwood? Check our wide selection for your needs! We’re a leading online wood importer with made-to-measure timbers in London, such as temperate hardwoods, tropical hardwoods, and softwoods. Share with us your wood dimensions and place your order today!