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Hardwood Vs Softwood: What’s The Difference?

You might ask yourself what type of wood to use in your home. The answer is simple: hardwood vs softwood.

When building a new house, the first thing you want to think about is the flooring.

It should be sturdy enough to support your family while also being beautiful. If you are looking to build a house, then there are many different options you can choose from.

If you are planning to build a new house, you might wonder if you should opt for hardwood floors or softwood.

In this article, I will tell you the difference between them, as well as their pros and cons.

What is a hardwood?

The term “hardwood” is used in reference to a wood that is less susceptible than softwoods to cracking when exposed to moisture.

Hardwood lumber can be identified by its straight grain and relatively uniform coloration.

Hardwoods tend to have better dimensional stability and higher density than softwoods. This type of wood is also used for construction materials.

Pro’s and con’s of a hardwood


  • Hardwoods are beautiful
  • They are durable
  • They are easy to work with
  • Has physical durability
  • Has minimal maintenance


  • You need to buy them
  • You have to cut them down
  • They take up a lot of room in your home
  • High cost levels

What are the other types of hardwood and it’s used?

Hardwood flooring is a popular choice for home improvement projects.

It has an attractive appearance, high durability, and low maintenance requirements. Hardwood floors also add value to a home.

There are different types of hardwood such as oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, etc.

Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics.

There are other different types of hardwood and their uses.

  • Hardwood windows

Hardwood windows are made out of solid pieces of wood. They come in various sizes and shapes.

These windows are usually installed over existing window frames. This allows homeowners to install these windows without having to replace any old windows.

This makes installing hardwood windows very affordable. You don’t even have to remove all the old windows before installation.

In addition, they provide great insulation properties, which help keep homes warm during the winter months.

  • Average hardwood

Average hardwood is those woods that fall somewhere in-between hardwood and softwood.

These include pine, fir, cedar, spruce, hemlock, redwood, cypress, and more.

Pine is one of the most common average hardwoods because it is inexpensive and readily available.

Pine tends to be softer than some other hardwoods, so it requires special care when cutting.

  • Denser hardwood

This denser hardwood is harder to find but offers greater strength and resistance against decay. Examples of dense hardwoods include ash, elm, hickory, walnut, black locust, and others.

  • Hardwood division

Using hardwood for division refers to using hardwood boards to divide rooms into smaller spaces. For example, dividing living areas from bedrooms.

When choosing hardwood for use in divisions, make sure to select a board that matches the size of the space you’re trying to create.

  • Hardwood frames

When using this type of structure of hardwoods, you’ll want to choose a frame that fits around the perimeter of the area where you plan on placing the hardwood.

For instance, if you were planning on putting hardwood panels along the walls of a bedroom or bathroom, then you would want to pick a frame that goes around the entire wall.

If you wanted to put hardwood paneling across the ceiling of a kitchen, then you’d want to get a frame that covers the entire length of the ceiling.

  • Hardwood timber rise

Hardwood timber rise is a sustainable wood product. It comes in many forms, including plywood, particleboard, MDF, HDF, and OSB.

Timber rises can be found at local building supply stores. Timber rises are often cheaper than traditional lumber products like 2x4s and 4x8s.

The main advantage of timber rises is that they are manufactured from recycled materials. The process involves recycling scrap wood and converting it into usable material.

The prices for hardwood timber are also lower compared with regular lumber.

  • Temperate hardwoods

This type of a performance wood is used for outdoor applications such as decks, fences, patios, etc. Temperate hardwoods are generally resistant to rot and insects.

They are also durable enough to withstand weather conditions. Some examples of temperate hardwoods include oak, maple, mahogany, teak, and more.

  • Tropical hardwoods

This tropical hardwoods are modified woods and have maximum durability. Tropical wood is also used for making wooden flooring.

  • Balsa wood

Balsa wood is lightweight yet strong. They have been used by builders since ancient times. Balsa wood is very easy to work with and cut.

It’s lightweight and flexible making it ideal for creating furniture pieces.

You can buy balsa wood online through various websites. You will need to know how much wood you require and what kind of finish you prefer.

Hardwood characteristics

Hardwood characteristics are important factors to consider before purchasing any kind of wood. Knowing these will help you determine what types of uses your new piece of furniture will have.

  • Non-toxic wood
  • Friendly wood products
  • High-quality hardwood firewood
  • Has natural durability

What is a softwood?

Softwood is another name for coniferous trees. Conifers produce cones instead of seeds.

Coniferous trees grow slowly and tend to live longer than deciduous trees.

Softwoods are also used for making paper pulp. They are also commonly known as pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, cedar, cypress, redwood, Douglas fir, Sitka Spruce, and other similar names.

What are the pro’s and con’s of a softwood?


  • Softwood is cheaper than hardwood
  • It can be used for many things
  • You can use it for firewood


  • The wood inside is not as strong as hardwood
  • Can’t be stained easily
  • Not suitable for exterior projects

What are the other types of a softwood?

  • Evergreen trees

Evergreen trees are those which retain their leaves year round. Evergreens are usually slow growing but some species may reach heights of 100 feet or higher.

Some common evergreens include pines, firs, junipers, larches, yews, box elders, hollies, arborvitae, and others.

  • Angiosperm trees

This angiosperm trees are flowering plants.

Angiosperms are divided into two groups; gymnosperms and angiosperms. Gymnosperms do not bear fruits while angiosperms do.

Gymnosperms are further classified into three subgroups: Pinales, Pinaceae, and Ginkgoales. These are all cone-bearing trees.

The main difference between hardwood and soft

The main difference of the two are their density and strength. Hardwood is denser than softwood.

This means that it takes less space when stacked up.

On the other hand, softwood is stronger than hardwood. You need fewer pieces of softwood to make one unit of hardwood.

In addition, softwood is easier to work with because it doesn’t splinter as much as hardwood does. This type of wood comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Which should I choose?

There isn’t really an easy answer here. Both hardwood and softwood come with pros and cons.

If you’re looking for something cheap but sturdy, go for softwood. However, if you’re looking for something high-quality, go for hardwood.

What to consider when buying a wood?

  • Complex structure
  • Aesthetic characteristics
  • Moisture content
  • The type of coating used
  • The burn time
  • The level of performance
Scott Buckley

Scott Buckley

I'm Scott, a Woodworker by day and book geek by night. I love making things out of wood. While I have and still, on occassion do, work with metal and plastics, I find them to be cold and somewhat boring. Wood is warm and I feel close to nature with it. I started as a means to help like minded creative folk to answer burning questions. I hope you enjoy reading and learning, and always feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions!

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