Softwood timber makes up around 80% of all the timber produced in the world, and it tends to be cheaper and more widely available than hardwood timber thanks to the faster rate at which softwoods usually grow. Contrary to their name, softwoods are not always softer than hardwoods- timber such as longleaf pine, Douglas fir and yew are a lot harder than some hardwoods. Softwood timber can be used for many different projects, from cladding and construction to woodwork and joinery. Each softwood species has its own unique properties which make it more suitable for certain projects than others.
Western Red Cedar Timber
Grown from the tallest of the cedar trees, this timber comes from Canada and North America. Western red cedar is widely used for cladding due to its durability and attractive red-brown hue which, if left to weather, will turn to a silvery grey colour over time. It is lightweight and easy to work with, making it a popular timber for external joinery such as fences and gates, and garden structures such as gazebos and trellises.
European Redwood Timber
Also known as Scandinavian Pine, Redwood is the most popular type of European softwood. This light coloured timber has distinctive darker coloured knots. It is frequently used in furniture construction as it can be glued, stained and varnished relatively easily. Pine has a medium overall strength and is stable but not stiff. It is often seen in kitchens as it can be used for cabinetry and is a fairly low-cost option.
Douglas Fir Timber
Douglas fir trees grow in both America and Europe, but the timber varies due to the different climate conditions of the two locations- the trees are slower growing in the US and have more resin. Both types of Douglas fir offer a strong and durable timber which is often used in construction. Thanks to its stability and insulating properties, Douglas fir is the ideal timber to use for flooring and structural applications. It is also naturally fire resistant.