Know Your Timber

Guide To Popular Timbers & Their Properties

Timber is affected by moisture, UV light and mould development over its surface and all these elements are known to deteriorate its life. Hence, an effective timber protection solution will defend the timber from these well-known elements. As a rule of thumb in an exterior DIY project involving timber the denser the timber the more weather resistant it is considered to be.

We live around many popular softwoods and hardwoods and it is advantageous to know their properties before we decide to treat them with stain or varnish. Natural characteristics of timber will impact the final finish and appearance especially if on staining or varnishing them. Some of the popular timbers we live around may have resins, tannin or oil in it which may also affect the aesthetics of your timber project.

 It is recommended to clean timber with Mineral Turps if you are using an oil-based product or Methylated spirits if you are using water-based product prior to staining. Allow these solvents to dry properly after you wipe off any excess with a clean rag.

Softwoods Vs Hardwoods

About 80% of the timber we use and see around us in our houses are softwoods. Most hardwoods are typically expensive as compared to softwoods.

Hardwoods are highly durable and typically more durable and denser as compared to softwoods. However, it may be noted that not all hardwoods are harder and denser than softwoods.

 Because of the open pores softwoods are easier to treat with stain as they absorb them with ease as compared to hardwoods. Hardwoods are typically used in high end furniture, decking and structural applications where long-lasting timber is required. Softwoods are used in construction of wide range of applications such as doors, windows, furniture etc. Soft timbers are also generally of lighter natural colours as compared to hardwoods.

Common Types Of Timbers Around Us

Radiata Pine

radiata pine

It is a common type of softwood used in woodworking & home construction in and is ideal timber type for staining. It can accept a wide range of CCA chemical treatments as well. Widely used for all internal house and framing after H1.2(Pink) treatment.

Treated Pine

treated pine

It is a pressure treated Radiata pine which is subjected to saturation to improve resistance to termites, algae and decay over the period of time. These types of timbers should be left to weather and dry before application of any stains. Most common uses of Pine are in decking, exterior cladding, fencing, pergola etc.

Western Red Cedar

red cedar

It is North American timber considered very easy to work with. It is a non-resinous, straight-grained, lightweight softwood which is considered highly durable with excellent dimensional stability characteristics. Cedar is commonly used in weatherboards, decking, external joinery, boat building, exterior cladding applications and has good acceptability of stains.



It is one of the most common types of timbers available. It is a beautiful timber widely used as finishing timber in internal wood working and finishing applications such as cabinet making, interior furniture, panelling etc. It is moderately durable and not treated usually.