Which Wood Would Work Best? Distinguishing Different Types Of Lumber For Your Project

Lumber is classified in two different categories: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwood is preferred for fine-crafted furnishings due to the unique grains and rich colors, although they are usually priced quite a bit higher than softer wood varieties. Softwoods are as strong and long-lasting as hardwood, but come from trees that grow quickly which makes the price lower.

Consider the following types of lumber for your distinct projects and preferences:


Maple is a popular hardwood, chosen for its strength and rich color. This is a popular choice for furniture, architectural moldings, and trim.


Cedar is often chosen for its familiar scent, and it is a softwood with a nice texture that is easy to work with. The rich reddish color is another reason that buyers choose cedar for things like wood blinds, chests, and shingles.


Ash is a beautiful, pale-colored hardwood that is not particularly easy to find, which may drive the price up. This is often used in furniture and moldings.


Pine is a readily-available softwood that is easy to work with and priced low. It doesn't usually swell or warp, so it is often chosen for a home construction material.


Cherry is becoming more difficult to find and the price is climbing. This is a hardwood that resists warping and that has a lovely, rich brown color.


Hemlock is inexpensive and easy to work with. This softwood is frequently chosen for framing, sub-floors, and other construction projects.


When you think of rich, beautiful hardwoods, oak likely will come to mind. Oak is durable and resistant to moisture damage, so it works well in a number of capacities, such as furniture, decking, and docks.


Redwood is often used in outdoor furniture, paneling, and decking. This durable softwood is light and easy to work with.


Rosewood is a hardwood that can be challenging to work with. It has a unique reddish color and has a familiar scent that sets it apart. Rosewood is often used in making musical instruments and furnishings.


Spruce is a durable softwood that comes to life with varnish and polishing. Spruce is often found in wooden boat construction.


Teak is an extremely resilient and durable hardwood, that often is used in outdoor furnishings, decking, boats, and other applications that require moisture-resistant lumber.

Whether you are building a toy-box or constructing a house, there are some options in terms of lumber that should be considered. Typically, price can play a part in the type of wood that consumers buy, but talk with lumber retailers about all of the varied options within your budget. You may be able to find distinctive and unique wood for your building project that is affordable, too.