Hardwood vs softwood is the two main types of wood used to make many items. Although both are wood, there are many differences between these two types of wood. So, what are the differences between hardwood and softwood? Which type of wood is better for you? Join us to find the answer in this article!
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What is the difference between hardwood vs softwood?
The main differences of hardwood and softwood:
- Originated from
Although both are wood, there are many differences between hardwood and softwood. That is why people use them for many different jobs.
If you’re seeking for the right wood for your renovation projects. You should find the difference between these two types of wood. From there, you can choose the type of wood that better suits your needs.
What is hardwood?
Essentially, hardwood is the wood that comes from angiosperms. The angiosperms is a plant whose flesh or rind surrounds the seed, for example, acorns or walnuts. This is the reason why hardwood trees often do not stand close to each other. They often grow far apart with other plants interspersed between them.
The name ‘Hardwood’ does not always imply that the wood is always hard. It can also be soft! The hardness range varies a lot. It depends on the density of the different hardwoods. There are soft hardwoods, on the other hand there are very hard woods.
People often use hardwood in house construction. Or in the manufacture of utensils for cooking purposes or in the manufacture of furniture. This wood is very durable, certain hardwoods such as oak, maple, birch, walnut, hickory, mahogany, balsa, teak, alder, elm, and sycamore.
What is softwood?
Softwood comes from gymnosperms. Gymnosperm is a plant with seeds that do not have an outer shell. They are also evergreen trees, with no periodic leaves. Most softwoods are fast growing.
In fact, softwoods are the source of about 80% of the world’s timber production. It has many different applications, the most popular of which are furniture and furniture. The price of softwood is quite cheap and easy to order.
Some softwoods such as cedar, Douglas fir, juniper, pine, redwood, spruce, and yew.
The difference between hardwood and softwood
The first difference between hardwood and softwood is the origin of their development. They come from two different plants.
As mentioned above, hardwood is wood obtained from angiosperms. That’s why they don’t grow close to each other. Between hardwood trees there are often other types of trees interspersed.
Hardwoods are usually broadleaf trees. They shed their leaves in the fall and have a slow growth rate. However, hardwood trees have a long lifespan. They can grow up to hundreds of years.
In contrast to hardwoods, softwoods come from gymnosperms. They have only seeds and no skin or flesh. Their seeds fall straight to the ground and grow. So softwood trees often stand close to each other. They grow in groves with the same type of tree. For example, the vast pine forests.
Softwoods, on the other hand, have smaller leaves than hardwoods, which are usually conifers. The life cycle of a softwood tree is also quite short, about 25 years.
Softwoods grow faster than hardwoods. Same size but softwood will take less time to grow there.
Durability is the issue that users pay the most attention to. Hardwoods are more durable than softwoods. They also have better bearing capacity.
Hardwood has a denser particle structure than softwood. They are slow growing plants so the density of the molecules grows thicker. Their growing time is also long so they have very good hardness.
Some hardwoods require specialized cutters to work. It is very difficult to wear down old hardwoods.
Softwoods are just like their name suggests. They are rather soft as well as easy to work with. The molecular structure is also more spaced than in hardwoods. Due to their growing time and properties, softwoods are not as durable as hardwoods.
However, some hardwoods like balsa are softer and more flexible than some softwoods.
Due to its characteristics, soft wood is easier to work and use than hardwood. More than 80% of the items you are using have softwood as the main material.
The popularity of softwood is also due to its rapid growth and ease of exploitation. Hardwood, on the other hand, has a high hardness so it is difficult to work with. The price is also high, so people often use them for high-quality products that need durability.
People often use soft wood for furniture products such as doors, tables, fences, interior wall cladding, etc. Hardwood is different, people use it in jobs that require high bearing capacity. For example making floors, pillars, construction, musical instruments, etc.
Hardwood is also a popular ingredient for high-end furniture. Especially with old hardwood trees. They are very valuable in this area.
Weight and color
Due to its denser particle density, hardwood is heavier than softwood.
Most hardwoods have dark colors such as reddish brown, deep color, brown color, etc. In contrast, soft wood has a light color because the particle density is also more spaced.
The cost for softwood is cheaper than for hardwood.
Hardwoods take a long time to develop while softwoods grow very quickly. The durability of softwood is also not equal to that of hardwood. With the same block of wood, hardwood takes decades to grow. But softwood can take only a few years.
Large hardwoods are also quite rare so they are becoming more and more expensive.
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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which hardwood is the softest?
The softest hardwood is Balsa, which is hardwood but softer than some softwoods like golden pine.
2. Which softwood is the hardest?
Fragrant red cedar, Juniper, Yew and golden pine are the hardest softwoods!
3. How many years can hardwood grow?
Hardwoods are slow growing trees but they can live a long time. There are hardwoods that can grow for hundreds of years.
Hardwood vs softwood has an advantage but they are difficult to work with and have a high price. You should choose the right type of wood for the job and financial ability. Some good quality softwoods you can consider. Here are all of our comments. Hope this information is useful to you.
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