What Are Different Types Of Softwood?

Softwood lumber is one of the fastest-growing varieties of wood that can be found on the market today. Softwood lumber comes from gymnospermous trees including conifers. These trees possess a high rate of growth and retain their leaves year-round. Some of the more popular types of softwood that are used for building materials include Douglas fir, Cedar, Redwood, Larch, and Popular among many others. There are many reasons why these softwoods are so preferred and the primary reason is due to the fact that they contain large amounts of moisture and it is resistant to decay.

Soft Cedar Vs White Cedar

There are two main types of softwood lumber, which include soft cedar lumber and white cedar lumber. Soft cedar lumber is much stronger and more resistant to weather than its counterpart. It has been proven to withstand temperature fluctuations and humidity levels within outdoor settings and has proven to be an excellent material for flooring, siding, and exterior lumber. The wood that is used to manufacture softwood lumber comes from coniferous forests which are deciduous trees.


The majority of softwoods that come from forests are known as hemlock hardwood. Softwoods are classified into three groups based upon the way in which the wood is formed. Wedge-shaped hardwoods include Port Orford, River Birch and White Cedar. These woods are characterized by straight grains which are typically white or pale yellow in color. The grain lines in these woods can run perpendicular to the surface or even be present along the surface of the wood.

Douglas Fir

Medium-sized hardwoods include softwood such as Douglas fir, redwood, white pine and spruce. Lumber harvested from pine trees is typically referred to as softwood and is typically deep brown in color. It has a similar pattern of grain patterns and cross-grain oriented characteristics with the exception of being straighter in the cross-grain direction.


Low-density hardwoods include redwood, siding chestnut and Aspen. Hardwoods are generally less dense than softwood; however they have more elasticity when it comes to expansion and contraction. This makes them highly desirable as they do not crack, rot or split as easily. Softwood lumber is one of the fastest-growing varieties of wood that can be found on the market today

Softwoods are classified into two broad categories based upon the way in which the timber grows. Tree stands are either straight or curly. A straight grain gives a smoother appearance to the timber whereas curly grain gives the timber an open appearance. The more open the grain of softwood, the more fragile and prone to damage it is. Straight grain also gives the timber a more uniform color.

American Cherry

There are many different types of softwood that you can use for different types of furniture. For example, you can use white oak or American cherry in bedroom furniture. You can also use oak, poplar and walnut in the dining room and kitchen furniture respectively. Hardwood furniture is generally lighter in color but can also come in a variety of shades. If you are planning on using softwood for your furniture, it is a good idea to plan ahead and find out what different types of wood are commonly used in your area.

Qualities and Use of Softwood

  • Wood types will depend on what you want to use your furniture for, what kind of finish is desired and how much you are willing to spend. When choosing hardwood for your furniture, you should ensure that you use the best wood that is available to you. In terms of softwoods, they will provide you with something durable and sturdy that you can use for your furniture.
  • The best hardwood comes from trees that have a thick sturdy branch system. The branches make up the major part of the tree and these branches are often covered with sap which keeps the tree growing strong and sturdy. This type of tree is most often grown in North America, specifically in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. This type of hardwood comes with a light grayish shade that is almost translucent when polished. The grains in the wood are straight and deep with a natural golden shine.
  • Softwood that has a medium shade is usually grown in tropical rain forests such as Sumatra, Malaysia, and Borneo. These softwoods are also harvested in high volumes and are often shaped in a wide array of ways to make furniture pieces. Cedar furniture is popular for its durability and resistance to insects and wood decay. Cedar furniture is very commonly used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings.
  • Softwood timber comes from healthy trees that do not have a huge amount of dead wood on them. In order for this type of wood to be harvested, it must be cut into planks that are smaller than the original wood it comes from. This smaller-sized plank is then processed through a wood-processing business to make softwood lumber suitable for furniture manufacturing.
  • Choosing the right softwood for your next project depends on several factors, including the intended use, desired appearance, availability, and specific characteristics of different softwood species. So, consider the purpose of your project. Are you building furniture, constructing a deck, or engaging in a woodworking project? These projects’ requirements can vary significantly, and the choice of softwood will depend on aspects such as durability, strength, and resistance to decay.
  • Softwoods are generally less durable and more prone to decay compared to hardwoods. However, certain softwood species like cedar and cypress exhibit natural rot resistance and can be suitable for outdoor projects. Consider the environmental conditions your project will be exposed to and choose a softwood species accordingly. 
  • If you need to evaluate the quality of wood, such as for construction, woodworking, or other purposes, it’s advisable to consult with a specialized professional. A lumber inspector, forester, or wood scientist can help you. These experts possess the necessary skills and tools to assess wood quality, including appearance, strength, moisture content, density, and other relevant factors. Moreover, tree services typically focus on the care, maintenance, and removal of trees. But professionals in this field, such as arborists, can also provide crucial insights into the qualities and uses of different types of wood, including softwood. These experts are knowledgeable about trees’ growth patterns, diseases, and structural integrity, as well as factors that contribute to wood quality, such as species-specific attributes, age, growth conditions, and signs of decay or damage.

Buy Softwood Lumber For Your Next Building Project

When you buy softwood lumber for your next building project from Tropical Forest Products, you will be looking for a few things. The first thing you need to do is determine what type of building material you will be working with. Whether it’s going to be a cottage, home, deck or something else, it’s critical that you know the specific properties and characteristics of each type of material to ensure you pick the best. Luckily, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to make sure you get the right one for your project.