What are The Different Types of Lumber?

digitalengage blog December 19, 2022 0 Comments

What are The Different Types of Lumber?

We acquire wood from trees and use it to make different products like tables, houses, etc. Each tree is of a different kind and because of that difference in species of wood, there are a lot of qualities that we can get. Different types of lumber have different roles in the products we make using them. 

Pine wood is used in making wooden pallets for instance. Since pine wood is soft and not hard, it provides a much stronger bond when put together in the shape of a wooden pallet. Hence, such factors are the reasons for us to use different types of wood in our products. Each type of wood has its own role in either giving our end products strength or good looks. 

Soft Wood & Hard Wood

Before we start learning about the different types of lumber, there are two basic kinds of wood that are found in each type that defines its properties. Here are some of the properties that differentiate the two:

  • Hardwood lumber is made from deciduous trees, whereas softwood lumber is made from coniferous trees
  • Hardwood trees are typically slow growers which give them solid and denser growth. Whereas, Softwood trees are fast growers giving them flexibility and softness in nature. 
  • Hardwood is heavy in weight because of its density attained by slow growth and softwood lumber is lighter in weight because of its rapid growth. Lighter weights are preferable in developing some products that require a light-weighted feel. 
  • When it comes to life span, hardwood can live up to several decades and still maintain its solid nature and rigidity. Softwood, on the other hand, can last up to a decade or a little bit more than that. The products we want to last longer can be made using hardwood but there are factors we have to take into account like its heavy weight and time to acquire it. 
  • Lumber acquired from hardwood trees is weatherproof whereas, softwood lumber has to be treated to make it weatherproof. Because of the denser wood, the weather has a less adverse effect on hardwood lumber. 
  • Hardwood lumber is more expensive than softwood lumber. This is also because of the time it takes to grow hardwood and how much life span it offers. 

Reading the differences between hardwood and softwood lumber one might think that only hardwood should be preferred, but that is not true. This doesn’t make soft wood a useless kind of lumber. Instead, it has a lot of benefits to offer that hardwood fails to. 

Different Types of Lumber

Here are the different types of lumber that we can acquire from both soft and hardwood trees. Both have different roles in the production of our products:

Pine Wood

Pine has an extremely soft texture and easy-to-clean surface to use. Pine trees are native to several countries in the U.S. and Europe. The most commonly used types include sugars, sand, white, ponderosas, and South Yellow pine. It is less dense and easier to use than other insect-resistant materials. Pines have a brown or yellow hue, depending on the species. It has its fair share of knots. True knotty pieces are marketed as “knotty pine,” while knotless pieces are labeled as clear pine. It is ruggedly recognizable and can handle paints and stains very well. The low-quality pines found in the home may swell or warp.

Birch Wood

Birch is a widely used and fairly affordable hardwood. Birch trees can often be found throughout the eastern U.S., especially the Northeast. They grow to 80 feet high but usually have thin trunks. There are widespread variants of Birch Wood like White Birch, Yellow Birch, and Black Birch. Birchwood is generally smooth and tightly grained and gives the appearance relatively consistent. There are different shades of white and yellow birch. The wood has strong, tough, and strong characteristics, which respond well to woodworking. When dried, it often shrinks slightly.

Firth Wood

Douglas-fir is a hard and strong wood that originates from a similar species. Douglas Fir trees are extremely tall, reaching heights from 200 up to 300 ft when left for themselves. The hardwoods are rot and insect-resistant but are not nearly as strong as Cedars. Douglas firs have quite pronounced grain and usually runs fairly straight. Its reddish-tan color makes it less likely to absorb all the stains at once. Because the wood has its grain patterns and density and is a strong wood, nails pressed in Douglas fir generally remain on the wood. A little less expensive.

Ashton Wood

Ash is a hardwood wood from several trees including white ash, green ash, and blue ash. An ash tree can grow 60 feet and is 81 feet wide at height. Ashwood is light in appearance and can vary from white to gold. some gray marks are typical. The shades resemble maple, though the textures are tougher, like oak in appearance. Ash has a lightweight and has remarkable stiffness. Hardwood also has greater shock sensitivity than many kinds of wood. It stains very nicely. It has the weight–stiffness ratio and is the second most popular product in terms of durability.

Poplar Wood

Poplar wood is created using several types and varieties of poplar. These trees are found throughout the eastern US and produce hardwoods that have long been appreciated as a utilitarian tool for hobbyist and amateur woodworking. Poplar is a light-colored hardwood that resembles creams or browns. The leaves also have streaking grey or green that darkens with age. Poplar grain is straight and uniform, and is soft, and can easily be used with hand tools. Usually, the fuzzy edge is left but fine-sized sandpaper is needed in the end for the desired smooth finish.


Mahogany is a premium hardwood grown throughout Central and Southern America, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Mahogany trees can be extremely tall and reach heights up to 150 meters. In terms of hardwood finishes in elegant designs mahogany has a class for its own even when compared to Cherry. The trees tend to be dark red or brown-red. Its smooth grain is extremely durable. The material is extremely dense and insect-resistant too. A key characteristic of mahogany has been its stability and its ability to resist shrinkage, swelling, and warping.


Cedar is the fragrant, natural rot and insect-resistant hardwood known for being beautiful and durable in its variety. The tree has a wide variety of conifers, and white and red cedar are the most widespread. The white cedars are lighter and weather a nice silvery gray. Red cedars appear amber in appearance and the color develops to dark brown. In any variant, cedars have a sturdy feel but are lightweight and can be used in a range of indoor and outdoor constructions. Red Cedar has more straight-grained skin while white cedar takes the most consistent color.

Maple Wood

Red maple or sugar maple, is one of America’s most common kinds of hardwood trees, although the majority of maple wood comes either from rock or sugar maples. The trees reach 115ft in height and can be as vast as the canopy. The hardwoods produced from a rock maple are quite dense and tough and have a wonderful light color and range from white-yellow to a rich golden hue. The grains are generally tight, and straight, but often show dark brown stripes. There are also curly maples with interesting wavy grains. Both kinds of grain provide a soft and refined texture with an excellent finish.


Cherry trees are good for many different reasons and produce some highly sought-after timber types. The black cherry tree also called the wild black cherry or American cherry, is widely known throughout all of the Midwest and eastern United States and the main commercial producers come mostly from Virginia. Cherry wood ranges from white to pink, and dark red to reddish brown. The grain is straight and tight and gives the wood a uniform texture. Cherry has a smooth surface when stained and sealed, giving an exceptionally luxurious finish.


To conclude, we can say that there are numerous types of wood that we can use in our daily life for different purposes. Each wood has its own role and characteristics that complement our purposes. Whether we use cherry wood, oak wood, balsa wood, cedar wood, walnut wood, or southern yellow pine, we will get benefits out of all these kinds of wood. Some woods are naturally weather-resistant and some have to be treated. Pressure-treated lumber is an option that can be availed with any type of wood. With the given technology we are able to induce desired qualities in lumber so we may use it to its fullest. 

Unaka Forest Products specializes in identifying and providing their customers with the right type of lumber required for their projects. We have high-quality lumber and finished products like wooden pallets that are long-lasting and strong in nature. Contact us and order lumber for your project today! We guarantee our customers the quality and life span of our products.

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