Our guide to buying timber
Posted by: Rex Nye
Published: - Last Updated:
Whether you’re building a shed in the garden or constructing an extension to the house, selecting the right timber for your project is the keystone to a successful job.
As a natural product, timber can be both beautiful and challenging. Prone to warping, twisting and bowing, coupled with its ability to absorb moisture, it’s important to source good quality timber that’s been treated and stored correctly.
The grade of your timber can have a dramatic impact on the end result, and will determine how easy it is to work with. A quality product will save you time and money in the long run.
The sign of good timber
Wood with a tighter, straighter grain (age lines that are closer together) will be stronger and less likely to split, and are therefore ideal for construction. Timber that has been taken from the heart of the tree will also be of a higher quality as it’s had longer to mature. Knots give wood its characteristic beauty; however, too many can undermine strength, so bear this in mind when shopping around.
Types of wood
There are two main types of wood available – hardwood and softwood.
Hardwood includes deciduous tree varieties with big leaves that fall in Autumn, such as oak, maple, walnut and mahogany. These trees take longer to grow, and as a result the wood is heavier and more durable. The nature of hardwood makes it ideal for use in the construction of floors and walls.
Softwood comes from evergreen trees, also known as gymnosperms, including pine, spruce and fir, and is less dense in structure. This wood is most commonly used for window and door frames, as well as furniture and cabinets, as it’s easier to sculpt.
For outdoor use, timber needs to be able to withstand everything the British climate can throw at it. Timber grading is an important way to determine the product’s ability to last.
Timber grades explained
All timber is graded according to British Standard classes, to indicate overall strength and definition. Softwood is the most commonly used timber in the UK construction sector. On our website you’ll notice our softwood timber is available in C16 and C24 grades. The C stands for conifer.
C16 is a lower grade of wood compared to C24, meaning it contains more defects and variations. This grade is a good cost-effective option for general use.
C24 is a higher quality material with fewer imperfections, which means it will be stronger but more expensive than C16 board. C24 wood can also be left unvarnished, and is often requested by architects for its reliability.
Here at NYEs, we’ve been supplying good quality timber to local tradespeople and residents for over 30 years. With an extensive range of timbers, sleepers and wood sheets, we’ve got everything you’ll need to complete your project to the highest of standards. Check our timber stock online or call for more advice and we’ll talk you through the options.
Check our timber stock here