Zameen – Humans have been using wood since the beginning of the time. It is a widely preferred material used to design furniture and floors because of its features like resistance to higher temperatures, sound absorption and natural look. While it’s difficult to get an accurate estimate of how many trees there are in the world, you can find, broadly, three popular types of wood, which will be discussed in this blog.
In Pakistan, the two most popular uses of wood are furniture design and wooden floors but people are gradually becoming more interested in other applications of wood. Whether you are planning to use wood for ceilings or walls or furniture, this guide will help you understand the difference between each type of wood and help you in making a selection you will be happy with.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF WOOD
Natural wood has multiple uses. Today, one can easily find experienced craftsmen who have proper knowledge about wood from different trees.
There are mainly three types of wood and depending upon the characteristics of different trees:.
- Engineered wood
The terms hardwood and softwood do not refer to the physical strength of wood, rather this classification is based on the characteristics of trees. We shall now discuss the details of each type of wood, popular trees that fall into these categories and where they are used.
Hardwood trees are referred to as deciduous trees, which have broad leaves and produce fruit or nut. Another common indication of hardwood trees is that their leaves fall off in autumn. A few commonly known hardwood species are walnut, deodar, teak, oak, maple and cherry. This type of wood is famous for the following reasons:
- Ability to resist high temperature
- Ability to resist high pressure
- It can withstand weather changes
- Durable and long-lasting
Popular hardwood trees in Pakistan are:
Deodar is mainly used in the construction of walls and ceilings in homes. It grows in the northern region of Pakistan and its strength and rot resistance are two major reasons why it is a popular construction material.
Walnut is one of the most famous examples of hardwood trees because of its rich brown (reddish in shade) and pink colours. It is also known for its durability and is quite easy to work with, which is why architects and interior designers often suggest using walnut for hardwood floors. Walnut trees are found in abundance in the northern areas of Pakistan, especially in Swat.
Teak has the best finish among the hardwoods mentioned above, which makes it an ideal raw material for cabinets and furniture. Architects in Pakistan prefer and suggest the use of teak in making windows and door frames because it can withstand moisture during the monsoon season. It also makes an excellent choice for outdoor furniture like garden benches.
Softwood is lighter and flexible as compared to hardwood and is used for different purposes. This type comes from conifer trees which, unlike hardwood trees, have needles and produce cones instead of fruit or nuts. There are few softwoods which are harder than hardwood but, in general, it is easier to work with.
Softwood is commonly used in making desks, furniture, doors, door panels and window frames. Softwood doesn’t make an ideal choice to make walls and ceilings. Some common softwood trees are:
- Spruce wood
Some of the qualities of softwood are:
- Less expensive as compared to hardwood
- The growth rate of softwood is higher than hardwood
- Lighter in weight
- Easier to work with
Commonly used softwoods in Pakistan are:
- Chir pine tree
- Fir tree
Chir Pine is another tree native to the northern region of Pakistan. Although houses are made of this particular wood in areas where it grows, it is not the material of choice to build houses in urban cities. The common uses of wood from this tree include manufacturing of doors and window panels. Carving patterns on Chir Pine is easier so its application in furniture design is vast.
There are two most common types of fir in Pakistan: Silver Fir and Blue Fir. It is another softwood that is used in furniture and door panels because it is less costly, compared to other woods. It does not take stain very well which makes it slightly difficult to polish after the final product has been made.
Hemlock is a lightweight wood with moderate strength. It has low resistance to rot, therefore, it is not all used for flooring or any other construction work. It is commonly used for making lightweight doors, planks and crates.
Although there are just two types of woods that grow naturally, engineered wood is a product made by treating hardwood or softwood. Generally, known as composite wood or man-made wood, engineered wood is treated through chemical or heat processes to add a few extra features like size and shape which is difficult to grow naturally.
Features Of Engineered Wood
A few features of engineered wood are:
- Designed to meet specific requirements
- Variety in thickness and length
- Working with engineered wood in terms of cutting, drilling and glueing is easier as compared to hardwood and softwood
- Cost-effective as compared to both, hardwood and softwood
Plywood is the most common type of composite wood used in Pakistan. It is manufactured by laminating sheets of veneer and bonding them under high temperature and pressure. It is a versatile composite wood and has numerous applications including designing structural frames and internal panelling.
The fact that it is made by multiple sheets of veneer, it is economical and has uniform strength throughout.
There are numerous uses of wood in our daily life—from home building to home décor and from art to musical instruments. The type of wood you use will determine the toughness of a product and its ability to last longer. The maintenance of wood is quite easy, as mentioned in our blog about polishing your wooden furniture and floors.
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