How to Choose a Timber Species for a Home Project

Timber may look alike to you when you shop in a lumberyard, but those varieties and species of wood are all very different, and they act differently when they're used in home projects. Some species are stronger and more resilient and may be better options for framing a home or addition, whereas other species may be better for pieces like cupboards and floorboards because of their appearance. Note a few tips for choosing timber species for a home project.

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir is one of the most popular choices for framing a home as it typically suffers minimal twisting and cracking; this refers to how wood absorbs moisture and then dries out, expanding and contracting in the process. Since Douglas fir dries somewhat evenly, it's good for projects where you need to ensure the wood will remain strong over time.

Eastern White Pine

Eastern white pine is not as strong as Douglas fir as it does tend to check or crack slightly as it dries over time. However, it has a slight reddish appearance along the grain which often looks very nice when the wood is given a slight stain or clear coating. This makes it a good choice for when the wood will be exposed, such as when building cabinets or shelving or for exposed beams in the home.

Red and White Oak

Red and white oak are very strong woods that are good for framing a home, but note that red oak isn't as decay-resistant as white oak. It may not be the best choice for areas with high humidity, where the wood will absorb that moisture and begin to decay. White oak is a very strong hardwood but it may shrink slightly over time, so it can be used for framing but you might notice a home "settling" and shifting slightly as the frame shrinks.


Cedar is known for its overall appearance and pleasing scent, but because it's typically very expensive, it's not often used for framing and jobs where it won't be seen. Cedar is instead used for cabinets and cupboards and projects where the appearance of the wood is very important.


Bamboo is a very strong wood that is often used for furniture, flooring, and other such projects, although it may not be strong enough for framing. One advantage of bamboo is that it's very easily sustainable so it's one of the most eco-friendly choices for timber supplies.

For more information, talk to a company like Hayter's Timber & Paving.