When your contractor is working on your house, they are going to talk about different kinds of woods. They may mention things like hardwoods and softwoods. Not everyone is familiar with what the differences between hardwood and softwoods. After all, isn't most wood hard? Except for maybe balsa wood, which is very soft, but which is oddly enough, classified as a hardwood. So, what's the difference between the two kinds of woods?
Basically, the difference between hard and soft woods comes down to how the seeds are produced and what kinds of leaves the trees produce. Generally, deciduous trees are hardwoods. Deciduous trees are trees that lose their leaves in the winter time. Softwoods tend to be evergreens, so thinks like pines and firs.
When you look at hardwood and softwood, there are some visible differences between the two. One of them is the growth pattern in the woods. Hardwood trees tend to grow much slower. That means that the growth rings are much closer together. When you look at the end of hardwood log, you will see how closely packed all those rings are. When the logs are cut up into planks and boards, it is cut so that the growth rings turn into the grain of the wood. Densely packed grain means that the wood is going to be stronger and more durable.
While hard and soft woods do both get used in some applications, they do have some things that they do better than others. For example, since hardwoods tend to be stronger and more durable, they tend to get used in structural supports, such as framing for houses or supports in load-bearing walls. They also tend to show up in flooring, especially in places that get heavy foot traffic. As an added bonus, the barks of some hardwoods, like oak, are packed full of tannins. Those tannins are used in making leather products. Softwoods can be used in building and flooring as well, but you more often see them in things like cabinets and other decorative touches. Softwoods like pine can hold stains and other finishes really well because of the open grain pattern, so that makes them really versatile when it comes to decorative uses.
When your contractor is working on your house, you want to make sure that you know what they are talking about when they are telling you that they need to go out and buy some hardwood for a particular function. Knowing the differences can help you understand what's going on. For more information, visit websites like crusehardwoods.com.
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