Types of Lumber & their Uses
There are basically two kinds of wood from which to choose: hardwoods and softwoods. In addition, there are different uses based on the characteristics of each wood type.
Hardwoods are the deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the fall. Hardwoods are classified by pore openings as either: Closed Grained (smaller pores), like cherry and maple or Ring Porous (larger pores), like oak, ash or poplar.
Softwoods come from coniferous trees,also referred to as evergreen trees. Only 25 percent of all softwoods are used in woodworking. All softwoods have a closed grain (small pores) that is not very noticeable in the finished product. The most popular softwoods are cedar, fir, pine and spruce.
Treated Lumber is for exterior projects because they are treated to be resistant to rotting or insect damage. They can be painted or stained.
Decking Lumber includes floorboards and railings and usually made from composite or treated lumber. It works well for decks, porches and patios because they are milled with rounded edges and ready to cut and install.
Composite lumber is a material that is a mixture of wood fiber, plastic, and some type of binding agent. These ingredients are put together to form a material that is denser, stronger, and heavier than wood alone, a wood-plastic composite.
Plywood and OSB panels are engineered from wood and wood by-products. They are cut into think sheets and use for shelving, subfloors, sheating and number of other applications.