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Last edited 04 Jan 2021
Wood for the house
Wood is one of the most popular building materials and has been used in construction for tens of thousands of years. Being a renewable, recyclable and sustainable resource, it has many advantages compared to other materials. It is readily available, strong, can be fabricated into all shapes and sizes and is a good insulator.
 Classification of wood
Oak is one of the strongest and the hardest woods available. Its tough characteristic makes it ideal for the structure of buildings and it is a favourite for builders. This wood is high quality, resistant to moisture, and has a unique appearance that adds character to a home.
Oak also has a natural chemical that resists damage from insects and pests and thus, it does not require decay-preventative chemical surface treatment recommended for a long wood life. However, oak is only available in certain geographical regions and therefore, can be more expensive as compared to other kinds of woods.
A house made of western red cedar is solid, durable, and has one of the lowest shrinkage ratios amongst the softwoods. This wood is rot resistant and naturally resilient to damage from insects, moisture and extreme weather conditions making it a good choice for the framework of a house that is exposed to sun, rain, heat and cold through the year. It is sustainable and has a unique quality of removing greenhouse gases.
Western red cedar, with its dark colour, is an attractive and striking-looking wood which makes it one of the world's most-requested types of timber for building homes. Its feature of being renewable and biodegradable adds to the many qualities of this particular softwood.
Though considered as a light and softer wood, spruce has a high resistance to cracking which makes suitable for construction. Spruce has high durability and a low decay resistance that makes it suitable for light construction and framing work. It has an ability to maintain its even white colour for a long time, which makes it look elegant for years.
 Douglas fir
This high-grade wood is one of the favourite materials of builders of residential and small commercial buildings because of its structural strength. Douglas fir has tight knots and its light yellow to a reddish brown colour has the quality to adapt to all kinds of weather conditions. This popular species of wood is resistant to decay and is a good choice for building in areas that have high winds or earthquakes. With its strength, endurance, and allure, Douglas fir is used for flooring, furniture, construction of bridges, cabinetry, and furniture.
Being strong and durable, teak is considered the 'king of hardwoods'. Teak has a natural resiliency to humid weather, is resistant to water and decay, and thus, is recognised as a good option for window frames, outdoor furniture, and seating decks.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 11 things you didn't know about wood.
- A guide to the use of urban timber FB 50.
- Ancient Woodland.
- Birch wood.
- Chip carving.
- Confederation of Timber Industries.
- Laminated veneer lumber LVL.
- Lime wood.
- Physical Properties of Wood.
- Sustainable timber.
- The differences between hardwood and softwood.
- Timber frame.
- Timber vs wood.
- Types of timber.
- The use of timber in construction.
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