Choosing the suitable lumber for an outdoor project can be challenging. The environment, climate, and type of wood used all come into play when selecting the lumber to ensure that your project will last. There are three main types of woods: hardwoods, softwoods, and artificial materials like plastic or metal. Each has its pros and cons, so it is essential to know what you’re up against before beginning any construction process.
Types of Lumber
Wood is a vital part of many projects, whether building your dream home or renovating an old one. This article will discuss the different types of lumber and detail its anatomy to help you find the suitable wood for your project.
– Hardwoods are solid and dense, making them an ideal choice for outdoor furniture. They are generally more expensive, but the increase in price due to durability is worth it because hardwoods will last longer. Even compared to other types of lumber, hardwood is considered high-quality.
– Softwoods are usually made from trees that grow faster and taller, such as pines and spruces. Their density varies from species to species, but they are generally less dense than hardwoods, making them easier to cut through. Softwood is also a great type of lumber for outdoor projects because it absorbs water better, so the wood won’t warp or bend over time to be sturdier.
– There are also artificial materials that work well for outdoor projects, including plastic lumber, which is made of polyethylene and typically used for decks. Metal is another common type of material used to construct items for the outdoors because it is weather resistant while still being lightweight.
Lumber Selection for Outdoor Projects
The three most popular exterior lumber choices that are untreated and chemical-free include Western red cedar, redwood, and cypress. Since these materials vary by location depending on the availability of them in your geographical region, you’ll want to take a look at each type before making your choice: Redwood is widely available and mainly used in west coast states like California; western U.S. cedar grows throughout midwest areas such as Ohio but can also be found further east along the Appalachian Mountains; finally, cypress trees grow all over southern regions with its main concentration around Louisiana or Florida where it’s often picked for homes due to low cost compared to other alternatives.
Western red cedar and redwood stock are straight-grained, naturally decay-resistant species that tend to split when driving fasteners. The right prepping before staining allows them both to accept all types of finishes. They can also bleed tannins which make using wood stains or painting more difficult.
Cypress trees are unique in that they grow in swamps, their roots standing out of water. Cypress sapwood is almost white, while heartwood color varies from light yellow-brown to dark brown and reddish-brown. Its beautiful ashlike grain patterns accept finishes as readily redwood or cedar classes with the most expensive hardwoods available today!
How to Choose the Best Lumber for an Outdoor Project
Whether it’s a picnic table, garden bench, or lounger, give some careful thought about what wood should be used from which trees and other plants. That can determine whether your outdoor piece lasts for one year or ten years long-term! Here are some helpful tips:
- Let’s get to the point. The five most common sun-resistant hardwood species are Western red cedar, Spanish Cedar, white cypress oak, and mahogany. Red cedar is knotty but affordable, with cypress being the easiest to find in southern states while mahogany or Spanish Oak need deeper pockets. White oak has also proven itself to be durable yet versatile.
- While redwood or teak certainly qualify, five more common lumber species that stand up well against sunlight moisture wood-boring insects are western red cedar, Spanish cedar cypress, white oak, and mahogany. The latter four have been used for durability, versatility, affordability, ease of access, and price. Still, other factors may come into play when deciding which type will work best for your outdoor projects, such as local availability or personal preference. Whether you want to build a new pergola, upgrade your front porch or add outdoor dining set for guests, be sure to consider your climate and how much damage the elements can do when making your decisions.
- All oaks aren’t equal. It’s vital to choose red oak carefully. While it may be attractive, white oak contains tyloses that prevent the wood from sucking up water and rotting due to wicking as red oaks do. Therefore, a table made of this type will last longer than one made out of an untreated piece if its construction is done well enough because we need durable outdoor furniture for our purposes where all four seasons can take their toll on housing structures and furnishings both inside and outside.
- Treated lumber: Treated wood is not safe to use on a porch swing because it causes splinters. Preservatives that are infused into treated lumber help the wood stand up against Mother Nature. Still, those chemicals aren’t intended for regular skin contact and definitely shouldn’t be used as food-serving surfaces.
- If you must have pine, consider painting it. If you want your wood to be more resistant to water and humidity, prime it with paint or varnish. This will prevent the surface from cracking, chipping off, or peeling. Additionally, if possible, place the furniture under an overhang so they won’t get wet in case of rain/water spilling out while we’re entertaining outdoors.
- Never skimp on screws. Stainless steel and brass hardware are the best for outdoor projects. They make your hinges, bolts, screws, etc., rust-proof even when exposed to water or moisture. Black-oxide wood screws get rusted outside, which is why you should use top-quality metal like stainless steel and brass instead of black oxide ones while working on an outdoor project.
- Black-oxide wood screws will corrode in contact with wet environments; therefore, they do not provide enough protection against corrosion during work that involves exposure to water or other forms of dampness (e.g., boats). Instead, opt for using high-end stainless steel & brass materials because it protects from rusting even if left out in open-air conditions.
Choosing the correct type of lumber for your outdoor project can be a tricky task. The wrong choice could lead to an expensive and timely replacement, so it’s essential to do your research before buying anything. We hope that this blog post has given you some helpful insight into what factors should go into choosing the best lumber for your project, as well as how to make sure those materials are stored safely until they’re ready to use on-site.
Lumber Store in Sebastopol, California
Eric Christopher Art is a lumber store in Sebastopol, CA. We specialize in live edge wood slabs, lumber supply, and other unique items for your home or business.
Our lumber is made from the finest quality trees that have been harvested locally. They make beautiful tables, countertops, bars, mantels, and more! Come check us out today!
We’re open Monday – Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, so come on anytime! Be sure to give us a call because chances are we have it in stock already! If you want something custom-made, just let us know, and we’ll do everything we can to help you get exactly what you need.