What is soft wood?

Woods are used for various numbers of applications. Softwood is commonly used in construction, for making roofing materials and inner walls structures. But what is softwood? What are the uses of softwood? What are the types of softwoods?


Many people, especially those who don’t know a lot about woods ask these questions and we are sure you would love to know too, else you wouldn’t be reading this article.
We are going to answer these questions in this article and much more. So, keep reading to find out!


What is softwood?

Softwood refers to lumber obtained from coniferous or evergreen trees. Coniferous trees or conifers are trees that have cones and are mostly evergreen trees, such as pines, cedars or spruce trees.

Softwoods are commonly used in construction as building materials. Because they are easy and strong to work with, constructors used them in many woodworking projects. Other professionals like carpenters, cabinet and furniture makers also find softwoods attractive and easy to work with.



Unlike hardwoods, softwoods grow very fast. Softwoods also have microstructures. These structures do not include vessels as found in hardwoods, keeping the softwood cells open. The open cells in softwood act as conduits or transport system that feeds nutrients and water throughout the tree. This distinct feature in softwood also allows them to absorb things such as adhesives and wood finishes better than hardwoods.
In addition, in terms of their structure, hardwoods are much denser than softwoods. But that doesn’t mean softwoods are soft in nature. Rather, they have varying degrees of density as with hardwoods.

Types of softwoods

If you are not a wood expert, buying wood in the market can be challenging. Different types of woods have different types of applications. Some are best suited for the roofs while others are perfect for floor applications. Therefore, identifying the types of softwoods and where they best fit is important if you are thinking of buying one for your home or other purposes.

Softwoods make up 80 percent of timber products in the market — you’re likely to find them more. They are used to create everything from paper to MDF to furniture.
Also, they are cheaper than hardwoods and are naturally easier to find. But before you contact your local plywood supplier for some softwoods, know them yourself first. Here are the different types they will likely find and what they are used for.



Timber made from Pine is the most popular softwood material out there in the market. They are used in different applications. But you will mostly find them used in furniture manufacturing. Pine is very popular amongst many wood professionals. Reason is that they bend easily. And the good thing about this is that they can be used to carve just about anything.

Also, pine stains better than other types of softwoods, making them easy to decorate. Pines are readily available and easy to use.

Wood materials made from pines are long lasting. This unique ability makes Pine a popular choice for flooring, framing and even roofing. Pine is available in various varieties such as White, Yellow and Ponderosa.



If you are looking for a softwood that can handle pressure well, Cedar is a good option. This type of softwood is tougher than most softwoods. They are used for a host of applications, plus, some homeowners even use it for their roofing.

One of the most amazing things about cedars is that they are a perfect fit for a moist environment. This wood handles moist areas better than most softwoods, which is unsurprising that many homeowners and wood professionals used them in outdoor applications. If you are considering building something outdoor, cedar is a perfect choice, especially if your area experiences plenty of rainfall. Cedars are good for outdoor furniture, building exteriors and decking.

If you are thinking of getting one for a woodwork project outside your home, consider the Western Red Cedar. It is a very popular type of softwood. It has a red hue that makes it perfect for customised pieces. In addition, the Western Red Cedar has a unique aromatic smell, which makes it a popular choice for many homeowners.



Like Cedars, Redwoods are perfect for outdoor applications. Redwood has a remarkable ability that helps it withstand exposure to moisture, especially outdoors. If you’re looking for a wood that is high quality, redwood delivers that. They are perfect for making delicate products like organs and artworks.
You can also use it for projects like patio furniture, garden fences and home exteriors without worrying about early rotting or warping. In addition, they are moderately price and easy to get.



Also referred to as Douglas Fir, this wood is commonly used in buildings. When processed, firs turn into pulp, which is then used for making oriented standard board (OSB) and plywood. OSB is a type of engineering wood that is similar to particle board. OSB is formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands in specific orientations.

Firs are cheap to get as they are moderately expensive. Moreover, they are easy to source and buy, they can be used in many other applications. And, compared to most softwoods, firs are harder and stronger.

Lastly, if you need wood that is easy to paint, firs are your best bet. They have grains that are straight and well pronounced, which makes them a good choices for wood projects that require lots of painting.



Here are some popular examples of softwoods used in construction

Douglas Fir

This softwood is plentiful and dimensionally stable. The best thing about Douglas Fir is that — unlike other softwoods that need to naturally adjust to humidity conditions before they are installed — they season well and can be cut, nailed and installed, then allowed to air dry.

Eastern White Pine

The Eastern White pine carries a uniform texture, is easy to cut and carve, stays true to its form and absorbs wood finishes very well.


Like the Douglas Fir, the Hem Fir is popular for strength and versatility. Not only can it be used for numerous wood applications but also easy to source and readily available.

Pressure treated wood

This type of wood has been treated with preservatives, which protect the wood from insect attacks and decay. They are suitable for outdoor applications, especially in areas that experience plenty of moisture.

Southern pine

The southern pine offers remarkable strength in numerous wood applications. It features excellent fastener-holding ability, providing framing components with tight and strong connections. Southern pines also offer creative roof and ceiling styles.





Softwood is renowned for its versatility and strengths. They can be used in numerous applications and can sourced from anywhere around the globe. Softwoods are aesthetically appealing and are suitable for internal and external projects. Compared to hardwoods, softwoods are lighter and more flexible in weight. However, they are not resistant ro fire like hardwoods and cannot be used to in applications such as shaft bearings for silent-running submarines. Softwoods are easy to carve and cut and resist decays. They are a perfect choice to constructing windows, frames, and are also good for making thin sheets such as plywood.



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