Wood was the first material ever used in construction and is known to be long-standing. However, wood has hundreds of varieties from which one can choose while constructing a home. Wood was the primary material of the houses built 10,000 years ago.
As a builder, it is crucial to understand the types of woods, their properties, how they can be utilized, etc. Once you have understood the main kinds of woods, learning how they are graded can assist you in choosing the right one for your project.
The components of woof strength such as density, hardness, bending strength, compression, and gravity will help you understand better the properties of wood. Moreover, the chemical properties of wood are complicated. However, human beings have managed to observe and comprehend the unique properties of wood to build an unlimited variety of structures.
This versatile material is used not just to build homes and shelter but for making furniture as well.
One of the significant pros of using wood as a construction material is that it is natural and economically affordable. It provides sound insulation from the cold and is vital concerning its weight. Wood can be fabricated into all sorts of shapes since it works well with machines. Moreover, wood is environmentally a sustainable product because it is biodegradable and renewable. It also contains the lowest carbon footprint as compared to any other building material.
Hardwoods come from angiosperm trees or plants that produce seeds having a covering. They are fertilized by insects and birds that transfer pollen from other trees. Once fertilized, the trees form fruits, seeds and nuts.
Generally speaking, hardwood trees are deciduous. Meaning they lose their leaves annually. They grow slowly as compared to softwood which makes them denser. In the construction industry, hardwood is used for several projects exposed to the elements that need to last—for instance, decks, flooring, panelling, and high-quality furniture. Hardwood is also used to construct wooden panels, cupboards, door-frames, and window fittings. It is highly durable and reluctant to heat, the pressure making it the perfect product for adapting to changes in weather. In Pakistan, the most commonly used types of hardwood are Deodar, walnut tree wood, and teak.
For construction purposes, deodar is the most commonly used wood in Pakistan. This wood is derived from the Cedrus deodara tree, native to the northern region of Pakistan. It is durable, strong, and rot-resistant. The grains on the deodar are refined and closely knitted. Due to this, it can withstand high polishing. Many architects prefer deodar for construction purposes.
2. Walnut tree wood
Walnut tree wood is derived from walnut trees. Walnut tree wood grows in the Northern areas such as Swat and Khyber Pakhtunkwa. There are several shades in walnut wood; however, it mostly comes in dark red and pinkish colours. Walnut wood is used to make furniture. But since it has a great rot-resistivity, it makes it a great flooring material as well. Due to modernization in the interior, there has been a trend of walnut wood walls as well.
The most popular type of hardwood is teak wood. It comes in yellow to dark brown shade and is extremely heavy, durable, and weather-resistant. Furthermore, its qualities consist of wrap-resistant and don’t decay. Teakwood shows a straight grain pattern. The natural oils present in teakwood make it termite and pest-resistant. In terms of pricing, teak is much expensive than other forms of wood.
Teakwood is highly durable. It has an aesthetic oriental look that makes it the perfect material for cabinets and furniture. This wood is resistant to moisture which is ideal for incorporating into making window frames. Architects in Lahore mostly prefer teakwood for window frames as it can bear moisture during the monsoon season.
When people talk about woods, solid wood such as hardwood and softwood are often mentioned since they are naturally obtained. Engineered wood is man-made manufactured wood.
Engineered boards are built from waste wood of sawmills. They undergo a chemical or heat process to form wood that meets the requirement sizes that are impossible to find in nature. Moreover, they are made from the same hardwood and softwood, mixed with adhesives and other chemicals.
In other words, they are made from the same hardwood and softwood but mixed with additives like adhesives.
Engineered boards are used in several applications ranging from home construction to commercial buildings and industrial products.
Some features of engineered wood are:
- Able to meet specific requirements
- Multiplicity in thickness and length
- Incorporating engineered wood for tasks like cutting and drilling is easier as compared to hardwood.
- Low on cost as compared to hardwood and softwood.
Plywood is the most common type of engineered wood used in Pakistan. It is made by laminating veneer sheets and combining them under tremendous pressure and temperature, which makes it economical and withstands uniformed strength. It is a versatile form of wood and thus has several applications, such as designing structural frames and internal panelling.
Softwood is lighter and flexible however is more or less similar in strength. It is obtained from evergreen trees and can be used to construct wooden floors, walls, doors, panels, and furniture. However, softwood may not be an ideal choice for walls and ceilings in urban houses.
The most commonly used softwoods are Pine (chir pine), hemlock, and fir. Softwood is derived from coniferous trees, also known as evergreen trees since the leaves on such trees never fall until new ones grow. Evergreen trees grow faster; thus, they are cost-friendly in contrast with hardwood.
1. Chir pine
Chir pine is derived from Pinus roxburghii, a tree native in the Northern region of Pakistan. It can be used to construct houses in areas where it is native; however, it is not suitable for building homes in big cities. It is mainly used to make furniture or door panels.
Firwood is also termed Douglas Fir. Fir consists of a straight grain pattern and has a reddish-brown colour. It is non-resinous and uniform in texture, making it poor resistant to decay. It can be stained easily. Due to this, it is generally used in raw form or painted surfaces. In Pakistan, the most commonly used firwood is silver fir and blue fir. It is used in windows, door panels, and furniture.
In Pakistan, hemlock is also known as shekran. It is used for installing door panels and planks. It is highly rot-resistant, which makes it an ideal product for using to make wooden floors. Hemlock is lightweight and comprises moderate strength. Found in United States, England, Alaska, Canada, and eastern Asia; it is non-resinous and has a low resistance to decay.
Out of many different materials used for construction, wood stands out as an outstanding, versatile product. It is aesthetically appealing and provides flexible strength, insulation qualities, and ease of fabrication that makes it the number one choice for everyone to use in a variety of construction appliances.