When you start your search for exterior wood, you come across the terms “hardwood” and “softwood” everywhere. But what does this difference in terms mean? Both these woods have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the use you want to make of them. This article will reveal the characteristics of these two types of wood so that you are able to make the most suitable choice for your outdoor installation.
Hardwood vs. Softwood
When we think of hardwood, it directly reminds us of excellent wood, but it has nothing to do with it. Hardwood is not always “hard,” and softwood is not exceptionally “soft.” The difference between hardwood and softwood is not in the properties of the species but in the category to which the tree belongs.
Hardwood comes from angiosperm trees, which correspond to trees whose seeds are protected by a fruit. Think, for example, of apples, cherry, or walnuts. The softwoods come from gymnosperms, trees for which no shell protects the seeds. The pine or spruce are examples. Softwoods are thus colloquially referred to as conifers, and hardwoods refer to deciduous trees.
What are the characteristics of hardwood?
The characteristics of hardwoods vary from tree to tree, but in general, Spec Wood hardwood cut stock is strong, durable, and stable. Deciduous trees usually grow pretty slowly, which gives the wood a high density. Not all hardwoods are this durable and rugged. Balsa, for example, is a hardwood with a durability class 5 and is known as one of the softer hardwoods.
What are the characteristics of softwood?
Softwood generally refers to conifers, as much of this wood comes from conifers such as spruce and pine. These trees grow faster than deciduous trees and are therefore also cheaper. The downside is that the wood is less dense and therefore less robust. In addition, these types of timber generally have a lower durability class.
The larch Douglas is a popular coniferous species that is currently widely used for shelter. It is often used without any change, while species such as spruce and pine are usually pressure impregnated. Douglas larch cannot be placed directly into the ground, unlike impregnated wood which also has a longer lifespan.
You can use the Spec Wood hardwood cut stock for many different applications, such as decks and fences.
Hardwood is relatively stable, which is why several hardwoods are used as exterior flooring. These woods all belong to a high durability class and have an average lifespan of 20 to 25 years.