Types of wood used in housing construction
Wood has traditionally been classified into two categories: hardwood and softwood lumber.
Hardwoods are heavier and denser than softwoods. Hardwoods are used in the construction of walls, ceilings and floors, while softwoods are often used to make doors, furniture and window frames. To these primitive types of wood we have to add the derivatives of artificial wood, which offer new possibilities as innovation and technology in the sector advances.
Hardwoods: They come from slow-growing, deciduous trees. They are heavier and stronger than softwoods, offering greater thermal insulation and water resistance performance. Being scarcer, they are also more expensive than softwoods. There are some examples of the most commonly used hardwoods:
• Oak: It is a hard and resistant wood. There are many types of oak. It has very versatile uses in housing construction.
• Ash: It stands out for being an easy to mold wood under pressure. It is widely used in plating and plywood.
• Elm: One of the woods with the best performance for the construction of houses.
• Mahogany: Beautiful wood, but also expensive, which is endangered. It is widely used in furniture construction.
• Chestnut: Hardwood whose use is wide spread in Spain, especially in carpentry and furniture making.
• Teak: It is endangered, in the legal market we can only find imitation products of this wood.
• Cherry: Due to its characteristics it is ideal for use in indoor work.
Softwoods: They come from trees with a relatively short growth period, they are those of evergreen. This type of woods are easy to mold, but on the other hand they produce more splinters, so its finish is of lower quality and it is almost always necessary to paint them or apply varnish. There are some examples of the most commonly used hardwoods:
• Cedar: It is dense and light at the same time. It offers excellent qualities for wall covering.
• Cypress: It is especially resistant to moisture and widely used in facades.
• Firs: There are many varieties of this type of tree. It is widely used to build the popular log houses.
• Pine: It is very common in the construction of wooden homes, because it is abundant and cheap.
• Willow: It is hard, flexible and normally soft wood.
• Black Poplar: It is good quality wood, widely used in plywood boards.
Defining the types of artificial wood that exist in the market would be an almost impossible task. Continuous technological advances are surprising with new proposals for increasingly competitive wood-derived materials. Some of the most commonly used types of artificial wood are:
• Agglomerate: The smooth surface of this material supports all kinds of coating. It is made of crushed wood or fine chips mixed with special glues.
• Plywood: Several thin sheets of wood are made by pressing, a technique with which a great resistance is obtained.
• Fiber boards: It is manufactured by pressing wood fibers with synthetic resin. One of the most common is DM.
• Laminates: They consist of an artificial board base to which a sheet of wood or plastic has been attached with a pre-selected finish.