Lumber Buying Guide: Softwood vs. Hardwood

hardwood

Which will you choose for your project, hardwood or softwood?

When it comes to taking on any DIY project, you have to have the right materials before you get started, as a project is only as good as its materials. However, purchasing lumber is far more involved than just picking up some pieces of wood. If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head in the hardware store, we can answer all of your softwood- and hardwood-related questions. Take a look at our softwood vs hardwood lumber cheat sheet, below.  

Softwood Lumber

When choosing lumber, you can choose from between softwood and hardwood. Softwood lumber comes from conifer trees. These include cedar, fir, spruce, and pine. These woods are called softwood for obvious reasons, as they can be easily dented with light pressure. Softwood lumber absorbs and loses moisture faster and easier than hardwoods, so it requires extra care to remain beautiful and intact. Pressure treated softwood can hold up against the elements, however. This kind of wood is far cheaper than hardwood, and often used in construction. Most home DIY projects utilize softwood lumber and it is readily available at most home improvement and hardware stores.

Hardwood Lumber

This type of lumber is derived from deciduous trees, which have broad leaves that fall off over the course of the cold months. Hardwood lumber commonly comes from hickory, walnut, oak, maple, and mahogany trees. Most hardwoods, with the exception of balsa wood, are harder than softwoods and not as easily dented. Hardwood trees require a longer time to come to maturity, so their lumber is more highly priced than softwood lumber. This type of lumber is generally used in furniture construction, fine woodworking, flooring, and cabinetry. If you want to get into woodworking, you will definitely be using primarily hardwoods. Most hardware stores do not stock much or any hardwood, so in order to pursue DIY projects utilizing hardwoods, you will have to seek out a specialty woodworking store or a lumberyard.

Get In Touch With Fisher Hardware And Lumber Today

Since 1894, Fisher Lumber and Hardware has been serving homeowners and professional contractors in the Maryland, Washington D.C., and Northern Virginia areas with top quality lumber, building materials, tools, and accessories. Operating under the same ownership since 1947, our business has been built on our reputation with our customers. Get in touch with us today by calling 301-424-6500 or by visiting our website. Stay in touch via Facebook,Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+ too!

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