Softwood Lumber: Uses for 5 Softwoods

a circular saw resting on a piece of lumber
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-40

Softwood lumber is timber obtained from coniferous evergreen trees. The timber may be processed or used as it is for various applications. Various types of softwood lumber are available. Levels of resilience vary from one softwood species to the next. However, softwoods are generally not as hardy as hardwood. Below are five softwoods and uses.

1. Cedar

This coniferous softwood is native to the Mediterranean areas. However, it also occurs in many other climatic zones worldwide. Several species of the cedar tree exist. Cedar is one of the more durable softwoods. Due to its unique cell structure, it has a high resistance to water which gives it a rot-free aspect. It is also resistant to bacteria, fungi, and bugs. The wood has a distinctive scent due to naturally-occurring organic compounds. Although pleasing to humans, insects and bugs are repelled by this scent. It also doesn’t crack easily. This makes it suitable for siding purposes, roofing materials, furniture-making and storage closets. It is a suitable alternative to vinyl or aluminum in various construction jobs.

2. Fir

branch of a fir tree

The fir tree is native to North America, Europe, North Africa, and Asia. More than 60 species of the tree exist. This much-loved softwood enjoys wide usage as a Christmas tree. Fir lumber is one of the weaker softwood types. Wood from the tree is not considered suitable for general timber use. However, it is useful as a pulp during the processing of plywood. Fir is highly susceptible to insect attacks and rot. For this reason, it is generally used for indoor applications such as paneling and light-frame construction.

3. Pine

Pines are one of the long-lived softwoods. They can grow to be very old, even as old as 1,000 years. More than 110 species of the tree exist. The tree can attain heights of 300 feet although most species grow to about 130 feet. Some species such as the Siberian Dwarf Pine attain a height of under 30 feet when fully mature. Like fir lumber, pine is also more suited for indoor applications due to its non-resistance to insects and decay. Pine lumber is widely used in window frames, flooring, roofing, paneling, and furniture making.

4. Redwood

repurposed redwood turned into a table

It is also known as the Coast Redwood since it is native to the California northern coast. It is usually referred to as the tallest tree in the world because it can attain heights exceeding 350 feet. Like the pines, redwoods also have an extremely long life span. They can attain thousands of years in age. Redwood lumber is used in construction, furniture making, fiberboards, veneers, organ pipes, and sculptures.

5. Treated Lumber

Wood can be made to undergo a chemical process or some high intensive pressure treatment. This is meant to prevent decay. The lumber may originate from various softwoods. This results in wood with much higher durability than ordinary timber. Treated lumber is heavily used in construction and outdoor applications such as fencing. It creates highly resilient structures.