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HARDWOOD VS SOFTWOOD?

Hardwood vs. Softwood

When purchasing timber windows, deciding what material to go for can be a difficult decision. A question we often get at Nine Zero is whether to go for hardwood, or softwood.

Timber is one of the oldest materials used for building, and timber in the 21st century is advanced to a level of high performance and efficiency. The term ‘timber’ groups together many different materials, which are categorised into hardwoods or softwoods. However, without knowing the meaning of this, it can be misleading.

You might have heard the terms softwood and hardwood but you might not know the differences and what type to go for. Generally speaking hardwoods are more durable and softwoods more workable. But some softwoods can be very sturdy and some hardwoods can be very light.

 

The Uses of Hardwood and Softwood

Generally speaking, hardwoods and softwoods are used for the same purposes, but normally softwoods are less expensive and easier to work with. Because of this fact, softwoods make up about 80% of the timber used in the world, which might be surprising as hardwoods are more common.

Softwoods are often used for windows and doors, as well as furniture and paper.

Examples of softwoods are redwood, pine, cedar, juniper and yew.

Softwoods grow quicker than hardwoods, whereas hardwoods grow slower and are more dense.

Hardwoods are typically used for decks, floors and other types of construction that will last a long time. Examples of hardwoods are beech, mahogany, maple, oak, meranti and walnut. Hardwoods are typically more expensive than softwood.

There are exceptions to the rule that hardwoods are harder and more durable – for example, balsa wood, which is a hardwood, is more commonly used for lightweight models – and red cedar softwood is as stable and durable as many hardwoods.

Hardwoods tend to be darker in colour than softwoods and have different types of vegetation; hardwoods normally have broad leaves while softwoods tend to have needles and cones.

Here at Nine Zero we have three different options that have been carefully selected for our clients. Engineered Redwood is our softwood option and Red Grandis for our hardwood option. Accoya is our third option which is considered to be the world’s leading long- life, sustainable timber.

 

From a Sustainability Perspective

The fact that there are limited areas of forestry and as well as the fact that trees that grow in the UK tend to be poorer in quality than wood from colder climates, results in us as a country importing most of our timber.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly more important in where we source our timber, both for us and our customers. Anyone importing timber into the EU has regulations for sustainability, and additionally we have FSC certification which requires sustainability in the forests where the timber is produced.

As mentioned earlier, softwood is the more commonly form of timber used. This is due to the fact that they are cheaper to grow as they have a much higher growth rate. However Nine Zero selected Red Grandis as our hardwood option because of its rapid growth making this type of timber just as environmentally friendly as any Softwood.

One measure of sustainability is the carbon footprint, which means the net output of CO2 during production and use of the products. Timber that grow quicker means they don’t use up as much CO2 and also use less energy being transported into the UK, giving them a lower carbon footprint.

Here at Nine Zero we believe environmentally-friendly timber is the future.

 

Conclusion

What would we recommend? To this there’s no black and white, but please find some advice below to help you make the right choice for you and your project.

Engineered Redwood: 30 Year Warranty

Engineered timber is composed of flawless cuts of solid European Redwood, which are then glued, compressed and laminated together in a pattern of alternating wood grains. Redwood’s alternate vertical grains provide greater dimensional stability, decreasing the risk of misshape by minimising swelling and warping, ideal for timber windows and doors. Engineered Redwood comes from Europe, it is FSC® certified and is our most cost effective option. If maintained correctly, redwood window and door products provide an excellent service life.

Engineered Red Grandis: 30 Year Warranty

Red Grandis has many advantages over other timbers used in the industry. We truly believe that it is the overall best hardwood on the market today and if you have the extra budget we would highly recommend the type of timber for your windows and doors. Red Grandis is a premium quality hardwood with similar qualities to Oak. This type of timber is excellent for high-end uses, with exceptional durability. Before treatment, the wood is consistent in colour with warm slight pink to rosy tones, making it perfect for our paints and stains. Due to its rapid growth, the supply of Red Grandis is available all year round. The timber can be grown in 20 years, making it the greenest hardwood option available and 100% FSC® certified.

Accoya: 50 Year Warranty

Accoya is considered to be the world’s leading long- life, sustainable timber. With a 50-year guarantee against rot, Accoya delivers remarkable levels of performance. From surface to core, the quality of Accoya is consistently outstanding. Accoya ensures a guarantee of 50 years, offering a remarkable, durable performance. As a long-life wood, Accoya is a leading material that stands up to every challenge and therefore an ideal choice for your timber window and door projects. An extra benefit, Accoya reflects the sun’s rays and retains warmth, helping your home to retain its heat and reducing energy bills. It is a sustainable, eco-friendly and FSC® certified.