Uses of wood in building construction

Whether for outdoor or indoor purposes, wood has numerous uses in building construction. Though, sometimes, it can be difficult to use wood in construction because of its complex properties. But constructors have been able to find possible ways to build a variety of structures with it, and today, it remains one of the most widely used building materials.

 

Some uses of wood in construction include;

  • Wood is used for constructing ceilings, walls and floors. But the type that’s commonly used is hardwood because they are heavier and denser than softwood.
  • Hardwood is used to make high-quality furnishings like flooring and kitchen furniture. A good example is Oak. Oak is very durable and is used for kitchen furniture.
  • Softwoods are normally used to make inner structures such as doors and window frames. But they can also be used in roof making.
  • Softwoods like Cedar and Redwood are used for building fences and for decorating artificial gardens inside a home.
  • Bamboo wood is used for holding a building until it is strong enough to stand on its own.

 

Disadvantages of wood as a building material

Although wood is a widely used building material due to its thermal, electrical and aesthetic properties, it has its downsides too. Here are some disadvantages of using wood as a building material

  • Wood shrinks and swells: Wood absorbs a lot of moisture from the air. Normally, this occurs at or near ordinary room temperature, causing the wood to swell. Other times, wood can lose plenty of moisture, causing it to shrink.
  • Wood decays: Many things can cause wood to decay. It could be biotic components such as fungi, bacteria and insects, or abiotic components like sun, wind, water, and fire. Insects, for example, drill holes and drive lines into the wood. This reduces both the wood’s quality and strength. But fungi destroy more. It can cause wood to decay partially or completely. For fungi to decay wood, it needs an adequate amount of oxygen. Without oxygen, fungi are powerless against wood. Fungi is most powerful at a temperature between 25 to 30°C. But some of them can tolerate temperatures between 0 to 45°C

 

Uses of wood products

Trees provide so much more value than just giving us the wood we use in making ceilings and household furniture like chairs and doors. For instance, trees provide the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat. Also, tree components like cellulose are used to produce paperboard and paper. Read on to discover 12 more shocking items that contain wood products.

  • Ice cream: Tree components like cellulose are used in soft ice cream as a thickener and stabilizer. Cellulose is the main element of the cell walls of plants and wood. This wood product helps the ice cream to keep its shape.
  • Nail polish: Nitrocellulose is used in nail polishes. Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable compound that is made by nitrating cellulose by exposing it to a mixture of nitric acid and sulfuric acid. The Nitrocellulose in nail polish gives the product strength and quick-drying abilities.
  • Parmesan cheese: Since cellulose is a harmless organic material, the US Food and Drugs Administration approves its use in cheese. Therefore, cellulose is used in Parmesan cheese to prevent it from clumping or clustering.
  • Ink: You didn’t think the ink in your pen is from wood, right? Well, it is!! Ink contains tall rosin from hard pines (subgenus Pinus). Some inks, however, are made from nitrocellulose.
  • Cigarette filters: These are made from plastic cellulose acetate fibre, paper or activated charcoal — which is all wood. The acetate fibres are one of the earliest synthetic fibres.
  • Medicine: Have you ever thought why the drug capsule you take dissolves easily in your stomach or in water? It doesn’t make sense, right? How is it possible? It’s because the drug capsule is made from wood. And no, it’s not magic but science! These capsules or tablets use refined microcrystalline cellulose.
  • Sunscreen: Sunscreen is made using plant products like almond oil, clove bud oil and cocoa butter.
  • Paints: Wood products like hydroxyethylcellulose, which is a gelling and thickening agent, is used to make some paints.
  • Chewing gum: Gums contain wood products like rosin esters, a solid form of resin obtained by pines.
  • Toothpaste: Your toothpaste is made from several different wood products. For example, toothpaste contains cellulose gum and xylitol, amongst other different wood products.
  • Ping Pong balls: The balls are made from celluloid, which is a part of nitrocellulose and camphor — nitrocellulose is gotten from wood.

What are the 5 common types of wood

Amongst the different types of wood out there, there are 5 common types of wood that stand out. Most woodworkers prefer them because they are easy to work with, long lasting, and have widespread applications.

We have listed them below including some of their uses.

 

Oak

The oak needs no further introduction. This household name has more than 600 existing species, with their finished products present in almost all commercial and residential buildings.

The oak is widely admired for its strength and durability so much that countries use it as a symbol of strength. Although there’s plenty of oak species spread in many places around the world, the most diverse sources are in Mexico and China.

Apart from being durable and strong, the oak is naturally resistant and environmentally-friendly. All these features together make the oak ideal for interior and exterior furniture. Besides, the oak is used to also distill wine, Brandy and Scotch, as well as in smoking meat and cheese.

 

Pine

If the oak is strong, the pine is more commercially successful. The pine is a type of softwood that’s durable and fast-growing. Though the pine is mostly preferred for interior applications like stairs, roof and interior furniture, it can also be used to make outdoor furniture.

While pine trees are widespread, you’ll find them more in the Northern Hemisphere, and they can live up to a 1000 years. It is still unclear where pine trees originate from because they’re everywhere. However, some people think they originated from China.

Beech

Beech has diverse species and subspecies that it wouldn’t make sense grouping it into a single family. For example, the Fagaceae is considered the most fundamental of Beech trees. But this tree has evolved over the years. There’s also the European Beech, which is mostly found in Germany and France, and used for joinery and interior furniture. Beech is easy to work with and can be stained easily and polished to a good standard.

Ash

This one is very tall! In fact, ash is one of the tallest trees in the world—the tallest of them is 80.5m high in Dunedin, New Zealand. Ash is widespread and easy to shape, thanks to its long straight grain and elastic properties.

Although ash is widely used for interior applications by interior designers and shop fitters, it can be used to make wood wool through a process of steam reconditioning. Steam reconditioning is using ordinary iron to swell wood grain by exposing it to heat and water. It involves exposing wood to steam and heat. This is done to soften the wood fibres enough so that they’re easy to bend and stretch, and when cooled will retain their new shape.

 

Teak

If it wasn’t for teak, we would probably have no fish to eat. Fishermen, on the other hand, wouldn’t have a solid boat for sailing those angry seas looking for fish. However, all this is possible because of teak. Not only is this hardwood a solid, excellent choice for boat making, but also for carvings and wood turnings.

Teak is durable and highly water resistant, and when freshly cut smells like leather. Teak is naturally found in East Asian nations such as India, Indonesia, and Northern Thailand. Sadly, in these countries, teak consumption is unreasonably high and poses grave environmental dangers.

Another quality of teak is its lightweight feature. It is also a highly sustainable wood and worth checking out if you want a more unique type of wood.

 

REFERENCE

https://www.woodshopdirect.co.uk/blog/diy-stories/5-types-of-wood-and-their-uses/