In Part 1 of our hardwoods vs. softwoods series, we talked about the differences between hardwoods and softwoods in terms of seeds and the types of trees they come from.
Softwood comes from trees that produce seeds open to the elements, typically cones. Hardwood comes from trees that produce seeds that have a coating such as fruit or a shell.
Now, what’s the difference in how you can use hardwood and softwood in your projects and what’s the physical difference between hardwoods and softwoods?
What the difference in the physical structure of hard and softwoods?
There is a physical difference between hardwoods and softwoods, but it isn’t in the density of the wood. Hardwoods typically have very broad leaves (think of maple and oak leaves). Softwoods have cones and needles.
Hardwoods and softwoods also differ on a microscopic level. For instance, hardwoods have pores whereas softwoods don’t. These pores allow the hardwood to transport water throughout the wood to keep the tree healthy.
These pores are what creates the visual difference between the softwood and hardwood grain. Softwood has a light grain because it has no visual pores whereas hardwood grain is prominent.
What can hardwood and softwood be used for?
There are also differences between how hardwood and softwood can be used, although they’re sometimes used for the same application. In this instance, the type of tree being used comes into play because of how dense the wood will need to be.
Hardwoods are oftentimes denser than softwoods. For this reason, they’ll be used for flooring, construction, decks, and high-quality furniture.
Softwoods aren’t always dense, but they do have a wide range of applications. For instance, softwood is used for framing lumber, such as studs, joists, and beams. It is also used for trim and finish components such as doors or windows. It can also be used for engineered products, like plywood, OSB, and paper.
Where can I find wood slabs for sale for my project?
Wood is the number one most energy efficient material that you can use to make products. Now that you know the difference between hardwoods and softwoods from the inside out, you can feel confident about making the right choice in wood for your projects.
Horizon Wood has the hardwood wood slabs you need to complete your project whether it’s commercial or residential. To learn more about our slab lumber and other hardwood products, contact Horizon Wood today.