15 Popular Types of Wood used in the Construction Industry!
This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)
Trees and wood have been an integral part of the development of our civilization. Different types of wood have been used from early Paleolithic times for both buildings and for manufacturing tools, weapons, and furniture. Right from such ancient times, the use of wood has been dependent on cost, quality, and availability.
Wood is a hard-fibrous material forming the trunk and branches of a tree or shrubs. There are many structural and nonstructural applications of wood in construction. As wood is a general term, it is important to understand its application in construction.
Wood has been used as a building material for thousands of years, being second only to stone in terms of its rich and storied history in the world of construction. The chemical properties of wood are inherently complex, but in spite of this challenge, we have successfully harnessed the unique characteristics of wood to build a variety of composite structures. This exceptionally versatile material is commonly used to build houses, shelters, and boats. It is also extensively used in the furniture and home décor as well.
Benefits of Using Wood in Construction
- Wood is a natural material, easy to work upon, available in huge quantities across the globe with different varieties, allowing different uses for different types.
- It is lightweight and along with strength, it offers different patterns and a natural look.
- It is the most ancient material and hence skilled workers that can work with wood are available globally.
- Wood retains its thermal properties, which give it an advantage in terms of its resistance to high temperature.
- In addition, the heat conductivity of wood is relatively low in comparison to materials such as aluminum, marble, steel or glass.
- It can absorb sound and echo, and it is a favorite material of choice for the construction of structures.
- Wood is resistant to electrical currents, making itthe optimal material for electrical insulation.
- Wooden houses are inexpensive to build and extend and enjoy low running and maintenance costs over a long life. This depends on the availability of wood in local areas.
- Wood paneling is particularly popular for ceilings, covering irregularities, minimizing maintenance and simplifying the fitting of lighting and ventilation systems.
Different Types of Wood and their Uses
Wood can be broadly classified as Softwood and Hardwood. The hardwoods are generally denser than the softwoods. Density is a major determinant of the strength of wood, and hardwoods are generally stronger than softwoods.
According to ‘Madan Mehta, Walter Scarborough & Diane Armpriest’ (Author of Building Construction), The difference between hardwoods and softwoods is not based on the density of wood, because several hardwoods are lighter than softwoods. Generally, the distinction between hardwoods and softwoods are based on their botanical characteristics.
Let us see How many types of wood are used in construction?
There are different kinds of wood available in nature. They have different properties, color, texture, and strength. Here we have given a brief introduction on the different types of wood used in the construction industry, which a homeowner must know.
Softwood comes from the coniferous trees. These trees are also known as evergreen trees and leaves of these trees do not fall till the new leaves grow. Softwood usually grows in regions having a cold climate.. Coniferous trees grow fast, so they are less expensive as compared to hardwood. They are more sustainable as they can be easily grown. There are different types of softwood, which are explained below:
01. Pine Wood
Pinewood is a soft, white or light-yellow wood which is light in weight, straight-grained. It resists shrinkage, swelling, and warping. Pine is very easy to shape and stain. Pine decays easily when it comes in contact with soil. It grows in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere. In India, it is found in the western Himalayas, Assam, and Nagpur.
It is used in all kinds of furniture, both indoor as well as outdoor. It is also used to make frames of doors and windows, flooring, and paving materials. Knotty pine is often used for a decorative effect. It is alsoone of the sources of turpentine.
Also Read: Living Room & Its Furniture For Your Home!
02. Cedar Wood
Cedarwood is a knotty softwood that has a red-brown color with light lines. Cedar is soft as compared to other softwoods. Its texture is uniform and it is highly resistant to decay and insects. They are aromatic in nature. It is found in Kashmir and Assam in India.
It is a famous wood for lining drawers, chests, and boxes. Simple cases and storage closets are also constructed from this wood.
03. Fir Wood
Firwood is also referred to as Douglas Fir. Fir has straight grain and has a reddish-brown color. It is uniform in texture and non-resinous. It has a low resistance to decay. Fir is hard as compared to other softwoods. It cannot be stained easily, hence generally it is used in raw form or as a painted surface. Fir is found in North and Central America, North Africa, Europe, and Asia. In India, it is found in Himachal Pradesh.
04. Spruce Wood
Spruce wood is strong and hard. It finishes well and has a low resistance to decay. It has moderate shrinkage and is light in weight. Spruce is found in America, Europe, Asia, Alaska, and Canada. In India, it is found in Western Himalaya and Sikkim.
05. Hemlock Wood
Hemlock wood is moderately light-weight and has moderate strength. It has a low resistance to decay and is non-resinous. It’s found in the United States, Canada, Alaska, England, and Eastern Asia. It has moderately high shrinkage, which is about as same as fir wood.
Hardwood comes from deciduous trees that have broad leaves, produce fruits or nuts, and are generally inactive in the winter. Hardwoods have more dense structure as compared to softwoods. Different types of hardwood are described below.
Teakwood is the most popular type of hardwood. It is yellow to dark brown in color which is extremely heavy, strong, durable, weather-resistant, warp-resistant and does not decay. Often strongly figured, teak may show straight grain pattern. The natural oils in teak make them termite resistant and pest resistant. It does not burn easily. Teak is the most expensive as compared to other types of wood. It is generally found in central and southern India.
It is commonly used as a structural wood for wooden framed houses, and also for doors, windows, partitions, etc. It is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture like garden benches and lounge chairs. In indoor furniture, it is used in beds and wardrobes. It is also used in veneer production.
Rosewood is very hard and has a dark reddish-brown color. It has a unique fragrance. It is hard to work and takes a high polish. Rosewood is classified as Brazilian rosewood, East India rosewood, Honduran rosewood, Amazon rosewood, Madagascar rosewood, etc. East Indian rosewood is also known as Sheesham in Hindi. Rosewood is considered very valuable. In India, it is generally found mostly in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mysore, Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Orissa.
According to ‘Mamta Bhattacharya’, ‘Archana Singh’, ‘Chhaya Ramrakhyani’, (Author of Journal of Medicinal Plant Studies), Rosewood is used in musical instruments, piano cases, tool handles, art projects, decorative veneers, and furniture. The extracts from Indian rosewood or Sheesham are used to cure blood disorders, eye disorders, leprosy, etc.
08. Oak Wood
Oakwood is the most widely used hardwood. Oak can be distinguished into two basic varieties: white and red. The red variety is also known as black oak (a reference to its bark). It has a very distinct grain and finishes. Oak is a heavy, strong, light colored hardwood. It is very easy to work with oak. It has good resistance towards moisture. Also, it has good resistance towards fungus and yeast. Oak is found in different parts of America, Asia, North Africa and Europe. Such types of hardwood trees are found in the north-eastern parts of India.
It is an excellent choice for furniture like bookshelves and cabinets, apart from outdoor furniture. Due to its moisture-resistant property, it is also used in ships and boats. It is used in flooring, timber-framed structures and veneer production.
09. Maple Wood
Maple wood has a fine texture with great strength. It is so hard and resistant to shocks that it is often used for constructing pathways. Maple is resistant to splitting and is very durable. It is also very easy to clean maple wood. Maple is found in Asia, North America, North Africa, Europe, and Canada. In India, you can find these trees in Ooty and other hilly regions.
It is extensively used in the furniture like console tables, wall shelves, and bedside tables. Maple that has a curly grain is often used for violin back.
10. Ash Wood
Ashwood is a hard, heavy, ring porous wood. Ash is known, for its elasticity along with its strength. It has a prominent grain that looks like an oak, and a white to light brown color. It is easy to work with using screws, nails, and glue. It gives an attractive finish. Ash is generally less in demand as compared to other hardwoods and thus is less expensive.
Ash is widely used for structural frames and steam bent furniture pieces. It is used in making guitars, drum shells, frames, sports equipment, ladders, baseball bats, etc. Decorative veneers are produced from ash due to its interesting grain.
11. Mango Wood
Mango wood is dense and strong hardwood which comes with a distinctly attractive grain pattern. Its grain is unique as it embodies several tones and colors, ranging from light shades like dark brown with hints of light pink or green. It is lighter than other wood species and is water-resistant.
It is best used for living room and bedroom furniture, nesting tables, kitchen cabinets, entertainment units, and bookshelves.
12. Mahogany Wood
Mahogany wood is also known as Honduras; Mahogany is reddish-brown colored wood. It is strong, with a uniform pore structure and poorly defined annual rings. It is an excellent carving wood and finishes well. It takes stain very well and hence gives a great finish to the furniture. One of its many advantages is that it doesnt warp, swell or shrink and does well underwater too. According to ‘Vikash Kumar et al.’, (Author of Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King): a suitable timber species for agroforestry), In India, mahogany was planted in 1795 in Royal Botanical Garden in Kolkata. It is now found all over India, particularly in Corbett National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and Thattekkad Wildlife Sanctuary.
It is most commonly used in fashion cabinets, nested tables, dining table sets and other kinds of indoor furniture. Mahogany is also used in boat building, window frames, sills and veneers.
13. Beech Wood
Beechwood is a hard, strong and heavy wood with tiny pores. It is light pink in color and is relatively inexpensive. Beech is tough and yet dimensionally unstable. It is very easy to work with as it has good resistance towards splitting. Beech has less durability for prolonged exterior use. It is found in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Beech is often used for frames, a variety of bent and turned parts. Quarter sliced and half-round cut beech veneers are commonly used. It is used in flooring, in plywood, and in household items. It is rarely used as a decorative veneer. It is a very good firewood.
14. Cherry Wood
Cherry wood is sometimes called fruitwood. It is light to red-brown in color, hard, strong, warp-resistant, closed grained wood. It resists warping and checking. It is easy to carve and polish. Cherry is mostly found in Europe and Asia. These trees are found in the hilly regions of Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh.
15. Walnut Wood
Walnut wood is one of the most versatile and popular wood types with a very fine texture. The wood is light to dark chocolate brown in color with a straight grain in the trunk. Walnut is strong, hard and durable, without being excessively heavy, and warp-resistant. It has excellent woodworking qualities and takes finishes well. It is very expensive compared to other hardwoods. Walnut is found in Europe, America, and Asia. In India, it is found in Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.
It is an ideal wood choice for crafting dining table sets, coffee tables, veneer, musical instruments, gun stocks and decoration, etc.
Wood is an ancient building material and after stone, was the most used construction material before the advent of cement. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, more than half of the wood harvested in the forests is used as a building material in the United States.
The natural beauty and long-lasting nature of wood can bring warmth and beauty to the decor of our homes.
Out of the many construction materials that we can choose from, wood stands out as a unique and amazingly versatile product. Its aesthetic appeal, strength, insulation qualities and ease of fabrication enable it to remain a favorite choice for use in an extensive array of construction applications. A homeowner must choose the type of wood depending upon its use and their requirements.
(We earn a commission for the products purchased through some links in this article)