Hardwood vs. Softwood

Wood is a sustainable and renewable building material that has been used for thousands of years. Naturally, timber was the primary source for the majority of construction prior to modern innovations. Today, the manufacture of wood products requires significantly less energy than fabricating other building materials. Consequently, wood products leave a substantially lower carbon footprint.

There are numerous benefits to using sustainably sourced softwood and hardwood. Although hardwoods and softwoods are both used for similar building purposes, each contain inherent characteristics for construction use.


Suggested Uses:

  • Decking
  • Doors
  • Fibre Board
  • Furniture
  • Roofing
  • Shingles (Cedar)
  • Siding
  • Windows

Special Characteristics for Building with Softwood:

  • Lower density than hardwoods.
  • Lighter grain than hardwoods.
  • Typically, softwoods are more affordable than hardwoods.
  • Long-lasting with excellent insulation properties.
  • More expensive than other siding materials, such as vinyl.
  • Excellent noise reduction properties.
  • Easier to work with than hardwoods.
  • Poor fire resistance but can take on fire preventative treatments.

Types of Softwood Trees:

  • Cedar, Douglas Fir, Juniper, Pine, Redwood, Spruce, and Yew.


Suggested Uses:

  • Boat building
  • Decking
  • Flooring
  • High quality furniture
  • Musical Instruments

Special Characteristics for Building with Hardwood:

  • Higher density than softwoods.
  • Typically, more expensive than softwoods.
  • More fire resistant than softwoods.
  • Prominent grain.
  • Grows much more slowly than softwoods.

Types of Hardwood Trees:

  • Alder, Balsa, Beech, Hickory, Mahogany, Maple, Oak, Teak, Walnut.

Although hardwoods are generally more expensive and harder to work with, they nevertheless are denser. Therefore, hardwood stands the test of time, but softwoods are not necessarily weaker than hardwoods.

Certainly, all wood offers a warm and natural charm to new builds. But since softwood trees grow significantly faster than hardwood, they are considered the more renewable source.

Our knowledgeable team understands the differences and similarities of hardwood and softwood. We’re here to assist you in getting your next construction project started with the right material for the year ahead.