As a cornerstone within the sphere of construction for millennia, timber continues to be the chosen material for numerous projects across the United Kingdom. However, the all-encompassing term ‘timber’ is as diverse as it is widely used. Today, we will delve into the diverse types of structural timber commonly used in construction projects. Understanding their unique properties can aid you in making an informed decision that brings resilience, sustainability, and beauty to your constructions.
Sourced from conifers like pine, spruce, and cedar, softwoods are speedy growers, making them a more economical choice for commercial contractors. Despite the name, softwood is incredibly sturdy and used commonly in structural frames. Two beloved types are:
Known for its steady grain and unique knots, pine boasts a high stiffness-to-weight ratio. Its versatility shines through in flooring, ceilings, window frames, and roofing.
Noted for its durability and resistance against rot, Cedar has natural oils that repel insects. It’s ideal for cladding, decking, and garden buildings.
Derived from deciduous trees such as oak, beech, and mahogany, hardwood timber is typically denser than softwoods. This feature makes them tougher, more resistant to wear, and best suited for heavy, long-term structural work.
A symbol of strength and durability, oak timber offers excellent resistance to insect and fungal attack. Commonly used in beams, it brings a striking aesthetic, making it a prime choice for interior finishes.
Beech is renowned in furniture manufacturing due to its hard-wearing nature. However, its inherent strength and crushing resistance make it suitable for load-bearing structures and flooring.
Glued Laminated Timber or Glulam is the product of gluing layers of timber together. The layered structure makes Glulam immensely strong, rivalling steel and concrete in terms of strength-to-weight ratio. This versatile material can be curved, lending aesthetic appeal to projects like stadiums, bridges, and houses.
Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)
Serving as a brilliant alternative for concrete and steel, Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) provides strength, stability, and fire-resilience. Regarded as a ‘magic box’ of construction, CLT’s panels deliver high precision, rapid assembly, and design flexibility, making it a sought-after choice for commercial building projects.
Engineered wood, also known as composite wood, includes a range of products manufactured by binding the strands, particles, fibres, or veneers of wood together with adhesives to form composite materials. They’re typically strong, flexible, and less prone to shrinking, thus making them ideal for flooring, cladding, and decorative applications.
To ensure that your building stands the test of time, timber is often treated for enhanced durability and resistance against decay. Different treatment methods include powder treatment, painting with protective substances, or even injecting the timber with preservatives.
The choices between the various types of structural timber are abundant, each offering unique strengths and aesthetic appeals. It’s crucial to remember that the type of timber chosen should align with the specific needs of your construction projects. Whether the prime requirement is strength, aesthetic appeal, or resistance to the elements, there’s a timber option that will meet the need.
To continue creating buildings with architectural charm and environmental responsibility, familiarising yourself with the qualities and uses of different kinds of structural timber is an invaluable investment. At our timber merchant company, we are committed to providing a variety of high-quality timbers to cater to all commercial contractors’ individual needs throughout the UK.
Remember, with timber, you’re not just building structures, but also a sustainable future.