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Most Popular Types of Wood Used in Home Construction

Wood has a long history of serving as a reliable and attractive building material. Though there are many modern alternatives on the market, wood products are still the gold standard when it comes to home construction. Whether you’re building a new home from scratch or simply navigating upgrades to your doors, windows, siding, or floors, it’s important to know your woods. Each product has its own strengths and weaknesses that will impact how you apply it in your home.

Hardwood vs. Softwood

Hardwood comes from deciduous trees, which are leaf-bearing species that lose their leaves annually. Softwood is derived from coniferous trees, which are evergreens that keep their foliage throughout the year.

Hardwood trees grow slower, producing denser wood. A hardwood tree may need to grow for 150 years or more before it’s ready for harvest. They’re more durable and last longer. And not only do they have more desirable qualities, but they take longer to replenish. Therefore, you usually pay more for hardwoods. Hardwoods are typically used in home construction projects that need that extra-lasting power. You’ll often find that hardwood species are used in flooring and decks. These types of wood typically have desirable wood grains and colors, making them an aesthetically pleasing choice for visible applications.

Softwood trees grow more rapidly, which makes them cheaper since replenishing the supply doesn’t take as long. Since softwoods usually have a lower density, they’re more flexible and lightweight. Although softwoods have poor fire resistance, they’re durable and versatile.

You can find softwoods in a wide variety of places within a home construction project. About 80% of the world’s lumber comes from softwoods. Softwoods are commonly used for construction framing, which means that most home construction projects rely primarily on softwoods during the early stages of construction. These woods are used in medium-density fiberboard, which is a popular material for cabinets, shelves, doors, windows, door frames, and wainscotting.

Popular Hardwood Species

Hardwood species are typically heavier and darker in color than their softwood counterparts. They have a lower sap content and are often prized for their beauty. Some popular hardwoods used in home construction include the following:


Although walnut is most commonly associated with furniture, it also has a place in home construction projects. Walnut is often used for cabinetry and flooring. It typically has a rich brown color that may also feature purple, green, or gold tints, making it a lovely choice for any project where the wood is readily visible.


Oak has a distinct finish with a straight grain and distinctly visible growth rings. It’s popular for flooring, paneling, moldings, and cabinets. Since oak is highly resistant to fungal attacks, it’s a durable choice for your home.


Maple has a straight grain that’s extremely close, creating considerable density that’s quite attractive for flooring. This wood is shock-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. You may find it in built-in shelves and other furniture.


Teakwood is incredibly strong and robust. It naturally resists warping, decay, burning, pests, and weather. You’ll often find it in outdoor applications like exterior construction since it stands up so well to the elements. You can use teakwood for windows or doors, exterior carvings, and framing.


Birch is among the more affordable hardwoods. It’s extremely hard, making it a good choice for interior doors as well as cabinetry. You may also find birch in siding, shutters, flooring, moldings, and joinery. This is a versatile species that you can incorporate into nearly any home construction project.


Ash is often used for structural frames. It’s very dense, heavy, and hard yet has decent elasticity. Its attractive finish also makes ash a good choice for cabinetry, flooring, and moldings. If you like the look of ash, with its closely set rings, you’ll want to find a place for this wood in your home construction.

Popular Softwood Species

Softwoods are an affordable choice for many home construction projects. These species are usually lighter in color and have a higher sap content. Their loose grain isn’t as aesthetically pleasing to many, but that hasn’t stopped softwoods from capturing the lion’s share of the market when it comes to lumber. Some common softwoods include the following:


Pine is a widespread wood for home construction projects. You’ll find it in construction lumber, doors, windows, and moldings. Pine has a straight grain and pale, yellow-tinged color. However, it’s important not to use pine for exterior projects, as it easily decays when it’s in direct contact with soil.


Cedar is soft, even by softwood standards. However, it’s resistant to insects and deterioration. This highly aromatic wood is popular for lining closets. It’s weather-resistant and can also be used for decking and siding.


Spruce is often used for construction lumber. It’s strong with a fine, straight grain that makes it moderately hard. Spruce is especially lightweight, which makes it easy to work with.


Compared to other softwoods, fir is exceptionally strong and durable. It’s commonly used for construction as it holds nails well and has an excellent lifespan. Fir is a popular choice for doors and doorframes.


Hemlock is both lightweight and strong, which makes it a popular choice for framing, sub-floors, and roofing. You may also find that hemlock is used for certain interior elements like stairs and banisters. Hemlock is a non-resinous wood with a light creamy appearance.


Redwood is exceptionally strong and durable. Many support beams are made from redwood, putting this material at the very heart of home construction. You can also use redwood for exterior siding, framing, and decking. It’s resistant to warping, splitting, insects, rot, and weather.

Regardless of the type of wood you’re using, it’s important to give it the proper care and attention throughout the years. Periodically refinishing your decks, doors, and home exterior will help them stay strong and beautiful. Teak Master can help with all your exterior wood refinishing projects, so contact us for more information.

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