Wood has been a building material for thousands of years and wood construction is still here to stay. Wood is as sustainable construction material with high strength with excellent thermophysical properties. These characteristics allow it to be used for the manufacture of load-bearing structures.
Wood is an environmentally friendly material, since the energy of the sun is used to grow it. The carbon dioxide-absorbing effect of trees is palpable as well. Modern architecture and civil engineering are finding ever new opportunities for the use of wood in the construction of such important facilities as sports or spectacular halls and bridges. But also for private homes, wood has been becoming increasingly popular.
Compared to other building materials, wood requires minimal energy consumption in the manufacture, transportation and installation of building parts. In addition, wood is a renewable material.
The Characteristic of Woods for Construction
Wood has unique physical and mechanical properties: high strength at low density, low thermal conductivity and good sound damping. It also has the ability to damp vibrations, provides corrosion resistance in aggressive environments, easy machinability and rich capabilities in processing and shaping.
Changes made on wooden structures are easily feasible, in professional constructions well as for advanced DIYers. Without special costs, wooden structures can be easily dismantled, disassembled into individual parts, and adapted to the building as well as the required area and purpose.
Wooden structures have a high factory readiness. Details of wooden structures, as well as windows and door blocks, are manufactured in heated workshops. Those workshops ensure a low moisture content of the wood. This does not require much drying of the wood before using it, which allows you to start finishing the wooden parts in the new building immediately after installation.
Glued wooden structures have rich possibilities as well. The technology of wooden construction has improved significantly over the past decades. In particular, high strength of beams by gluing them from separate layers has been achieved, the form stability of parts and their fire resistance have been increased. Thus, it has become possible to construct large span buildings with less or even without intermediate supports, and the optimum ratio between the price and parameters of structures has been achieved which makes wood competitive to other construction materials like brick or concrete.
Advantages of Wood Material
Many builders have long realized that various types of wood are the building material of the future. Low density, high strength, thermal properties and so on. Apart from the advantages that we have already mentioned – strength, sustainability and price – wood also resists aggressive chemical environments. Wood can be used where other building materials are destroyed (for example, potash fertilizer stores). Let’s discuss some more!
Good Price and Quality Ratio
It allows you to get the optimal price and quality ratio. High factory readiness, low energy and transportation costs, high installation speed and low foundation construction costs also make wooden structures competitive.
Keep the Temperature Ideal
Wood provides a healthy atmosphere in the house. Wood as a natural product creates a comfortable environment in the interior, reduces the risk of stress and stimulates mental strength – all in all, it improves people’s well-being in private homes. In large buildings, the use of wood avoids the feeling of cold. Wooden buildings harmonize well with the surrounding landscape and the entire environment.
In fact, the use of wood also regulates the climate of the room. Wooden walls and surfaces create a pleasant indoor climate, as they are able to effectively regulate air humidity. Wood has a beneficial effect on the human immune system, as it is able to absorb the harmful substances released by breathing and reduce their concentration tenfold in a few hours.
Avoid the Greenhouse Effect
Furthermore, it reduces the greenhouse effect. At the end of its life of wooden structures can be eliminated by recycling or even burning it. It is an effort that is biologically not creating a burden on the environment – it does not create more carbon-dioxide than the amount of it absorbed during its growing phase.
Wood is Proven to Be Durable
Timber is a durable material even without special protective measures. Wood, with the proper design of structures, is highly durable, especially under the roof and in the interior. Taking into account the natural resistance of various tree species and observing the necessary building protection measures, wooden structures can serve for a very long time and without special chemical treatment (for example, there are wooden churches in Europe that were built in the 12th century and still exist, e.g. in Norway).
Read more about the strongest types of wood in our blog.
Some Types of Woods are even Fire Resistant
Timber with a fire protection treatment shows high fire resistance. In professional wood construction, active and passive fire protection measures are combined (source) to achieve an optimum of fire resistance for residential, commercial and public wood constructions. In private homes, hobby woodworkers use fire-protective finishes and paint.
The Use of Wood in Construction
For the manufacture of engineering structures and products for various purposes, wood has been used since ancient times. For example, the ancient Romans under Trajan built a bridge in 105 AD made of timber in a wooden superstructure combined with stone and a kind of concrete over the Danube river with a length of more than 3,700 ft. (source) even though metal fastening components were completely absent.
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Wood is an absolutely renewable resource, which makes it a universal raw material for the creation of many types of products.
So, what is made of wood:
- Construction of entire buildings or installations made of timber
- Various types of furniture, including cabinets, upholstered chairs, etc.
- Joinery products (window and door blocks, parquet and floorboards, milled moldings, etc.)
- Musical instruments, including violins, guitars, cello, grand pianos, etc.
- Wooden vessels (boats, yachts, canoes, etc.)
- Sports equipment (skis, bats, camps, clubs)
- Parts of precision mechanics devices and radio engineering products (cases of radio receivers, microscopes, etc.)
- Crockery and art products
- Container (boxes, barrels, etc.)
Wood as a structural material also has a role in the automotive industry, where it is used to create parts and assemblies for trucks, agricultural machinery and decorative surfaces for luxury car interiors.
The main group of wooden building materials used for the construction of structures is made from natural timber. These are glued beams, rounded logs and dry shaped beams. For this purpose, coniferous raw materials are used, characterized by a more pronounced straightness of the fibers and the presence of a larger number of resinous substances in their composition. These substances inhibit the development of rotting and decomposition of the core of the tree.
Hardwood species are used in the manufacture of furniture, decorative and household products.
Wood Products for Buildings
Due to its beautiful texture, optimal density, good machinability and high mechanical strength, wood is a versatile and practical material for the manufacture of carpentry, decorative products, furniture and cultural goods.
In normal use, wood products can serve the owner for several decades. They are obtained by machining using various finishing methods, including combining individual elements into a finished product using glue or fasteners.
Among the products made from deciduous and coniferous wood, there is a wide range of various elements of small parts made by woods. These include:
- Skirting boards, plat bands, belts, handrails for stair railings, cornices, fillets, trim
- Parquet products, including piece parquet, panel parquet, parquet board and mosaic parquet
- Plywood with a thickness of 3 to 19 mm
Read more in our article “fiberboard vs. particle board”
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Also, carpentry products are made from this material, for example, door and window blocks, consisting of boxes, wooden paintings and window sashes, and building materials, including:
- Beams and floorboards;
- Partition shields;
- Elements of panel and frame houses, etc.
Of course, the quality of the above products is determined on the basis of many different parameters, the main of which is the moisture content of the raw materials entering the processing.
Excellent external qualities, decorativeness and ease of work making wood as one of the most popular materials used to create all kinds of crafts, artistic objects and souvenirs.
Wood for Furniture
Wood is the main raw material for furniture production, including the elite furniture. At the same time, different types of wood are used to create different types of furniture such as:
- Soft breeds (this is made from cedar, spruce, pine, chestnut, alder, willow, poplar, etc.)
- Hard breeds (apple tree, walnut, ash, mountain ash, birch, beech, etc.)
Read more about the strongest types of wood in our dedicated article
- Very hard rocks (boxwood, hornbeam, pistachio tree, acacia).
The hardness of the material directly affects the life of furniture sets and individual products made from natural wood. However, furniture is made from wood of all the listed types. In all cases, wood can be high quality material. The main influence on the formation of the value of the finished product is provided by the finishing of the material and the final appearance of the furniture.
Learn more about woodworking in our blog.
The Use of Wood Waste
In addition to the main part of the construction, in everyday life we actively use the “waste” of woodworking, such as firewood, sawdust and wood chips. This material is used with great success for heating, in cooking or for smoking various products.
As a result of processing wood raw materials into lumber, the average yield of finished products is about 60-70%. The remaining share is waste in the form of croaker, sawdust, scraps and fines.
In case of processing lumber for the production of building materials, furniture and household products, about 40% of the waste is used (this is sawdust, cuttings, shavings). Therefore, for a more rational use of this material, this “excess material” also finds application in industry.
In particular, sawdust is used for the manufacture of heat-insulating and wall materials, which include astringent mortars. In addition, they are one of the components of partition and decoration gypsum boards. Chips are also used for the production of chipboards. Large waste is used to create glued structures for various purposes (sleepers, beams, window blocks, etc.)
Wood is a sustainable, durable and extremely versatile when it comes to wood construction. You can use wood to build
- a house or parts of a house
find inspiration with wood architecture and construction books on Amazon
- a barn
- windows and doors
- furniture and decorative objects
Read our introduction to woodworking for more details
- floors and decks
Check our dedicated sections on floors and outdoor decking
- and countless other uses.
Read more about types of wood, woodworking projects, the best tools and the right finishes in our woodworking section.
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