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Which Is Best For the Home, Hardwoods or Softwoods?


If you’re getting ready to start on a new construction, remodel, or home decoration job then pretty much from day one you’ll be involved with buying wood. It starts from the foundation, with wood for the concrete footings that will be formed in using lumber, and it goes on from there through to sheeting the roof and the final detail trim work.

So along the way, as you’re buying and using wood one of the many decisions you’ll have to make is whether to go with hardwood or softwood, and you will be buying both. It all pretty much depends on what the particular job is, and don’t think for a minute that hardwood means higher quality. It doesn’t, and in fact you can find shipping pallets today that are made from low grade hard oak.

Now for sure during the framing it’s pretty much exclusively soft woods and these would be your first. Douglas fir and Himalayan fir are primarily what you’ll find stocked down at your local number yard, and of the two, Doug fir is the higher quality product.

Doug fir will be used for the actual structural framing while Himalayan fir which is less expensive and lower grade, gets put to use for things like temporary braces and scaffold building. Then when it comes time for installing cabinets, in general most people tend to gravitate towards hardwoods because they tend to work better under heavy use.

Hardwoods also tend to have darker richer colours and attractive grain patterns that are a popular choice for cabinetry. Even so this rule is definitely not chiselled in stone either because in recent years a new trend in exotic softwoods for cabinets has been catching wind.

Premium grade knotty pine is just one example of softwood that works well in cabinetry. Premium grade knotty pine looks great in kitchens but also lends a unique rustic look to bathrooms and bedrooms, some people also prefer its lighter colour. So you see it really isn’t a set rule that you simply must go with a hardwood when you’re having your cabinetry work done.

Now when it comes to the interior trim work though, you’re going to be using softwoods exclusively and not just any softwood either. Interior trim is primarily milled from kiln dried premium grade for Doug fir. Kiln dried wood tends to be straighter, resist cracking better and is just an all-around better product to work with for interior decorative carpentry.

When it comes to flooring though, you’re better off going with a hardwood if you do go with wood flooring, and this is pretty much for obvious reasons. That is that for flooring you want wood that can take the beating that will be dished out by people walking on it.

Better quality doors are also made from hardwood like oak because of the constant heavy use they receive.

Take a walk outside though, and you still have choices to make with regards to hard or soft wood when it comes to checking. Now for years the standard choice was redwood because of its natural resistance to termites and water damage.

However, rising prices in redwood decking are leading more people to take a good look at teak. A hardwood that at times was often considered to be prohibitively expensive.

International Timber supplies timber and timber products including Softwood products to a diverse range of industry sectors in the UK.