Softwood is a type of wood that is cut from trees belonging to gymnosperms, such as coniferous trees. By contrast, hardwood typically comes from angiosperm, deciduous and broad-leaved trees. Trees that lose their leaves in the autumn, such as oak.
Unlike hardwood, the microstructure of softwood trees does not include vessels, as their cells are open. This allows them to act as conduits, feeding nutrients and water through the tree. These open cells allow them to absorb things such as adhesives and finishes better.
Softwood provides around 80% of all timber, and is usually supplied in long, rectangular forms such as planks, posts and rails. Softwood is commonly used in construction, in the roof and inner walls structures, as well as in other building components such as fixtures and fittings, doors, and so on. It is also the main constituent of some man-made boards, such as medium density fibreboard.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 11 things you didn't know about wood.
- Cross-laminated timber.
- Engineered bamboo.
- Lime wood.
- Laminated veneer lumber LVL.
- Physical Properties of Wood.
- Pine leaves.
- Pine wood.
- Sustainable materials.
- Testing timber.
- The differences between hardwood and softwood.
- Timber preservation.
- Timber vs wood.
- Types of timber.
Featured articles and news
Four ways in which smart cities could make our lives better.
Mayor Sadiq Khan announces new Greener City Fund in drive to make London the first 'National Park City'.
BSRIA announce UKAS accreditation for sound absorption testing.
The full terms of reference are published for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.
Read our introductory article into the role and practice of the architect.
Despite dividing opinion since its 1955 completion, Stalin's gift to Poland, the PKiN, is still Warsaw's most recognisible landmark.
Graduate Engineer Brittany Harris asks, what makes a great place to work?
Mayor Sadiq Khan publishes new guidance aimed at fast-tracking affordable housing projects through planning.
An estimated 90% of our time is spent inside, so could urban allotments be the answer to increasing health and wellbeing?
Why disputes occur and how they can be avoided.
Understand each building and its needs before exploring technical solutions and hiring consultants.
‘Device to Root Out Evil’ - an upside-down, New England-style church built with its steeple in the ground.