Softwood is a term used to describe timber sourced from coniferous or needle-leaved trees. Hardwood is sourced from deciduous and evergreen broad-leaved trees.
As a general rule, hardwoods tend to be denser than softwoods, making them sturdier and more weather resistant. However, this is a general classification and can’t be relied on completely. There are notable exceptions – for example, balsa is one of the lightest, least dense types of wood, but it also falls within the category of a hardwood.
We’ll be happy to advise you and make sure you can select the right type of wood in terms of its performance and aesthetic qualities.
Choosing the right wood for your
At Parsons Joinery, we predominantly use five types of timber:
Oak is one of the most durable timbers for exterior use. It can be treated with oil and UV filters to preserve its blond appearance, or it can be left untreated and will gradually fade to a silver grey colour. Oak is one of the most expensive hardwoods and should not be painted.
Utile and sapele
These are popular tropical hardwoods, suitable for exterior use and offering a cheaper alternative to European oak. They have a reddish colour and can be stained, varnished or painted. We use utile or sapele for door and windowsills when the rest of the joinery is manufactured in softwood, as the sill requires more durability than the vertical components of a window or door.
Iroko is a tropical hardwood suitable for exterior joinery. It is a cheaper alternative to European oak and is often used as a substitute because it has a lighter, more yellow hue than utile and sapele. Iroko is often used for unpainted door sills.
Redwood is the preferred softwood for exterior joinery. It is brush coated with preservative before finishing and painting, which will prolong the lifespan of the joinery.
Accoya is one of the latest high technology advances in timber. The accoya process takes sustainably sourced, fast growing softwoods and treats them using a non-toxic, natural process. This creates a durable and stable product with good environmental credentials. Accoya boards consist of sections of timber laminated together to provide more stability, and the process is less wasteful.
We’ll be happy to show you some samples when you’re selecting the type of wood for your joinery.
Please note that wood is a natural product so colour and grain will vary.
This is one of the features that shows timber is a natural product, making each piece of wood unique and distinctive.