The Difference Between Hardwood And Softwood Structural Timber

Timber has been an essential building component for as long as humans have been making structures, and it continues to play an important role in huge skyscrapers all the way down to residential homes. If you are constructing your own business or home and are wondering whether structural timber will be involved in the process, then the answer is virtually always a resounding yes. However, there are two different types of structural timber that you should know about: hardwood and softwood. What are the differences and which component is used for what? Here is a brief outline explaining exactly that.

Hardwood Structural Timber

Hardwood timber is generally thicker due to being harvested from deciduous trees, that is trees that lose their leaves during winter. That means that it is sturdier, but it also means that it is far harder to shape into smaller sections that make up a lot of construction. Therefore most hardwood structural timber is used in supports and load-bearing sections, rather than the finer, more intricately cut softwood. Hardwood can also be used for a decorative effect in many different timber products as it has a much more unique aesthetic appeal than most softwood. 

Softwood Structural Timber

In direct contrast to hardwood, softwood comes from evergreens that do not shed leaves during winter. While the wood is not necessarily softer to the touch, it is much more willing to be shaped and moulded, and it will rarely split in two when you hammer nails into it. That makes it great for use in trusses, finishings like scotia and more general applications like in wall frames. Whenever you see finely crafted, ornate wooden products, they are most likely made out of softwood. Softwood also does not require any special attention, the name is purely a technical term to differentiate the two, not a description of their durability. 

Which Is Better?

Neither hardwood nor softwood structural timber is better or worse than the other. Both work in tandem to create intricate supporting systems that ensure buildings stay upright and unaffected by the harsh environment Australia throws at them. Both are treated well so that they last for many decades with little maintenance. Almost every building across the world will have a mixture of both hardwood and softwood. Most houses and businesses will feature softwood more prominently, due to its use in artistic features, but hardwood plays its own role as the backbone of the roof and upper floors. 

To learn more about structural timber, contact a construction company in your area.