Humans have been using wood to build with since the dawn of time. It is the second most used material after stone in the world of construction. The properties of wood are complex, but we have still managed to harness many of its unique features to build a huge variety of structures, from transport to housing. We see wood in boats, houses, furniture and interior décor design.
A huge benefit of using wood for construction is that, as a natural resource, it’s abundant and cheap to procure. It is light but strong and provides excellent insulating properties. It is also incredibly flexible, being made into a wide variety of shapes, sizes and applications.
Wood is also environmentally sustainable which is becoming increasingly important in today’s construction industry. It is both renewable and biodegradable with the lowest carbon footprint of any construction material. This make wood the ultimate ‘green’ material. No fossil fuels are used up to make wood, as they are with plastic, brick or steel. For your own wooden structure, visit a timber frame construction company like QTF Homes.
Hardwood and Softwood
Wood has always been categorised into hardwood and softwood varieties. This is simplified as hardwood being any leaf-bearing tree and softwood being any cone-bearing tree. Some tree species are cone-bearing with relatively hard wood and vice versa but generally speaking, this is how they are categorised.
Hardwoods are heavier and denser and often used in constructing floors, ceilings and walls. Softwoods are generally used in the construction of furniture, window frames and doors. Common hardwoods include walnut, mahogany, oak, teak and maple. Softwoods include ash, birch, pine, beech and cedar.
Benefits of wood
Wood has some highly beneficial qualities for use in construction. It has excellent thermal properties and is resistant to high temperatures that might warp or expand other materials such as steel. Its conductivity of heat is another benefit, being low compared to materials such as marble, aluminium, glass or steel.
Wood also contains excellent acoustic qualities, absorbing echoes and noise. This makes it a prime choice for structures where this is important, such as music halls.
It is also resistant to electrical current, so is the ideal material for electrical insulation. It can also withstand a lot of pressure, bending without breaking thus demonstrating great tensile strength.
This tensile strength is one of the main reasons it’s a top choice for construction. It is very light in proportion to its strength so can be used for heavy-duty applications such as providing the material for structural beams.
Therefore, wood is an extremely popular choice for construction due to its strength, versatility and great aesthetic appeal. It’s easy to use, easy to apply to many different uses and looks and feels great too.