To choose the best type of wood for your projects, you must know the different types of wood available. Some wood species have particularly interesting properties for outdoor work including wall cladding, structure, flooring, paneling, and much more. Here are some examples of wood species to use for your outdoor projects.
PERFECT WOOD SPECIES FOR OUTDOOR USE
When it comes to outdoor projects, there are a few wood species that should be looked at first. These wood types are ideal for different projects and have a variety of characteristics that will work for many different uses. Here are some of the most popular wood species for outdoor use:
TAMARACK (LARIX LARICINA) FOR ITS EASE
This softwood species belongs to the Pinaceae family. It is coarse-textured and spiral-grained, and a little oily, making the touch somewhat waxy. It also has a good resistance to bending and compression due to its denseness as well as a high level of elasticity often comparable to that of hardwoods. This makes it perfect for structural applications.
Furthermore, tamarack is easy to saw and dry, though drying takes a bit of time. It is noted for loosening its needless during autumn, making it easier to distinguish during the winter and can be found almost anywhere in Canada. It also grows in association with black spruce, aspen, birch and balsam fir and is rot-proof. Differences in colour between its earlywood and darker toned latewood create a picturesque striped pattern that’s easy on your eyes. One of the more top quality, beautiful types of wood out there, it is ideal for patios and deck furniture, as well as garden furniture.
WHITE CEDAR AND RED CEDAR FOR QUEBEC’S CLIMATE
One of the more inexpensive types of wood, white cedar has a high resistance level to rot and insects due to its special oils. No matter if it’s snowing, frigid or extremely warm, white cedar is considered one of the most decay-resistant trees across North America. This makes it highly desirable in environmentally sensitive areas like waterfronts and so on.
This type of wood species is one of the lightest in Canada due to its microscopic air pockets, making it easy to handle. It is very adaptable to Quebec’s climate and has been for hundreds of years due to its durability and stability. White Cedar does require its fair share of maintenance as you must ensure its knots are solid and its appearance and functionality isn’t diminished. And, it is fragile. However, it is easy for you to cut and has minimal cracking or splitting. Furthermore, you can screw nails directly into the wood as opposed to having to drill a hole beforehand. The wood is oily, so it’s better to apply oil-based stain products.
Red cedar is even more resistant and stronger than its white counterpart while maintaining a pleasant odour and contains oils protecting it against rot like white cedar. It has a straight grain, with medium to coarse texture, and is quite colourful, with colours ranging from reddish cinnamon to mellow amber. White cedar can be left to weather naturally and it is firm enough to brave Quebec’s sometimes harsh conditions, however, red cedar turns black as it weathers, so it needs UV protection to keep its beautiful, rich colour.
There is a debate between White Cedar vs Red cedar to determine which species is the best. You can look at it right here.
SPRUCE FOR WALL COVERINGS
Spruce is the most popular wood in Canada for construction due to its strength and durability. It also adds colour, has a straight grain with medium or fine texture, has solid rot resistance, and can be cut easily.
THE RED PINE FOR ITS LONGEVITY
Red pine’s wood grain lends itself well to preservation treatments due to the thick rings of its sapwood and is straight. It is a recommended species due to its high strength and longevity.
You can use it outdoors in contact with soil, with strong qualities for appearance applications including exterior woodwork, garden tools, log houses, boards, and paneling. Its heartwood has colours ranging from light brown to reddish brown, while its sapwood is yellowish white. The tree itself can be used for construction, but you’ll get more value out of it by using it for boards and poles.
It glues and finishes well and works seamlessly with hand and machine tools, making it ideal for any wooden outdoor furniture you’re looking to build.
The hardest of softwoods, hemlock works best in humid environments for structures such as fences, wood bridge, flower boxes, and docks.
Docks require wooden components that can withstand bad weather. Due to its high resistance level against weather and humidity and the fact it is an open-pore wood, it offers stronger protection. For permanent dock piles or dock cribs, stronger types of wood like hemlock are necessary, especially to protect against water and UV rays.
Once you have chosen the right kind of wood for your work, you just have to choose the right product to protect this wood. Find out by consulting our comparative guide on products to use for outdoor wood surfaces.