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Orpington, Kent BR5 4AL

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How to Choose the Right Type of Timber for a Building Project

Undertaking a building project can be tough before you have even settled on the best timber for the job. 

To help, we have put together our guide on How to Choose the Right Type of Timber for a Building Project to provide you with a clear idea of what factors you need to consider before making a decision.

Difference Between Hardwood vs Softwood

When it comes to hardwood vs softwood, what differentiates the two is actually the type of tree from which the timber originates. Hardwood typically comes from deciduous trees, whereas softwood originates from conifers. Deciduous trees are also slower growing than conifers which means that their wood is often denser.

Location of the Timber

A crucial question to ask when choosing timber is where it will be used – inside or outside.

Hardwood timber is the better option to use outside, due to its hardwearing nature. However, hardwood is still vulnerable to rot, so should be chemically treated to help protect damage from the outdoor elements. However, if the timber is for an indoor project, there is really no difference other than a stylistic choice. 

timber yard

Strength and Durability Requirements

Picking a timber strong enough for your project is essential, as without the appropriate strength, there is a real possibility of your structure collapsing. You will also need to consider the durability of the timber, as while certain woods are hard, they are also susceptible to cracking, which can lead to weakening.


Before settling on the type of timber you want for your project, it is best to check whether it is widely available in your region. While you still might be able to source a particular type of timber that is hard to come by, it is crucial to remember that other costs, such as transport, will also need to be considered. 

We recommend finding locally sourced timber for your project, as this will typically be easier to get a hold of and help with overall costs.


Today, environmental concerns play a part in many of our purchasing decisions, and buying timber is no different. Most sellers implement sustainable forest management techniques, ensuring that for every tree cut down, another is planted in its place. 

Sustainable timber is often no different in price to its non-sustainable equivalent either, meaning you won’t be paying over the odds to make a more environmentally-conscious choice.


As with all projects, the overall budget is often a deciding factor. When comparing timber options, it is best to consider wood types that remain within budget yet can still do the job required. 

And remember, it is not just the timber you need to be budgeting for, but also any relevant tools required to cut and shape the wood for your project.

Guide to Choosing Timber: Final Thoughts

We hope our timber guide has provided you with an idea of how to choose the right type of timber for a building project. However, for any further information, get in touch with PJ Supplies, your local timber supplies specialists, who are on hand to discuss any project needs with you. 

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