The Ultimate Guide to UK Timber
The UK provides us with a huge variety of some of the finest timber species. Whether you’re a builder, architect, designer, craftsman, or simply a lover of all things natural, wood offers us the ability to create incredible structures, design features, pieces of furniture and intricate crafts using a resource that is entirely natural and renewable.
With the growing conscience of consumers worldwide in sustainability, now, more than ever, the advantages of using wood over less-environmentally friendly materials has never been greater. With a healthy range of both soft and hardwoods grown here in the UK, it’s possible to further improve the environmental credentials of your project by removing the need to import materials from over-seas. Rest assured, the variety of timber species found in the UK still gives you a great deal of choice when it comes to finding the right timber for the project at hand.
In this article, we delve a little deeper into the types of wood available, so that you can make an informed decision on choosing the right species for your project. We admit, we may be a little biased here at NORclad, but we are passionate about the use of timber, so we’ve also added stacks of inspiration by delving into the benefits of using it for your project too.
Popular Timber Species Found in the UK
When it comes to construction, the type of timber you use needs to be carefully considered for the needs of the project. Will the wood be load-bearing, such as in the construction of walls and ceilings, will it need hardy, weather-proof properties to protect a building, as is the case when it is used for cladding, and is the aesthetic appeal of the wood a factor in its use? A starting point might be to consider whether you need soft or hardwood.
The supply of softwood in the UK is in fact predominantly manmade, with the majority of softwood timber species having been planted here in around the 1930’s according to the Forestry Commission. Consisting of four main timber types; spruce, pine, douglas fir and larch, each with a number of further subspecies, you’ll usually find softwood is most suited to non-load bearing structures such as doors, frames and cladding.
Hardwoods are well-suited to heavy structural builds and have the added bonus of some incredible natural characteristics to add aesthetic appeal to your project. They are usually grown naturally, rather than specifically for forestry, which may increase the price in comparison to softwoods but the benefits of using them for projects that require it, are likely to outweigh any initial cost.
Examples of hardwoods grown in the UK include English oak, beech, ash, elm, sycamore, cherry, birch and walnut. These provide you with a healthy choice of decorative features, as well as the strength and durability needed for a huge range of projects.
Getting Started with UK Timber
Natural and Environmentally Friendly
When it comes to building materials, timber is one of the few that can claim to be entirely natural. As a natural resource, it is not toxic to the environment, nor to those who have to handle it in construction. Even at the end of its lengthy lifespan, we are not left with waste material that needs to go to landfill or is harmful to the environment.
Renewable and Sustainable
Thankfully, timber merchants have become more and more invested in sourcing timber in a way that is sustainable and renewable. By making sure you only buy from companies that are responsible in how they source their timber, you help to ensure the supply of timber will continue to be available.
Here at NORclad, the long-term supply of timber is one of our company’s key areas of concern. You can find out more about our commitment to the protection and sustainability of the environment throughout our website.
Strength and Durability
Using timber for load-bearing structures does not necessarily mean compromising on strength. Providing you use the right species, timber is remarkably strong and can be incredibly durable against climatic elements.
Some species of hardwood actually have a natural durability which allows them to be used untreated, but for most species, treating the timber appropriately can help to boost the durability and lengthen the lifespan further.
Maintenance and Treatment
The appropriate maintenance of timber allows you to maximise its lifespan and when done correctly, can see the material last for many years. Maintenance isn’t necessarily costly or cumbersome, but it is worth seeking advice from a professional when you source your timber to ensure you are equipped with the knowledge on how to effectively care for the specific timber species used for your project. You may also find different treatment options are available before you buy your timber.
One of the great benefits of timber is how versatile it is. It is easily cut, sawn, and profiled to change its size and the different species offers a great choice of colour, be it natural or painted. The possibilities for using timber to create a bespoke project are truly endless.
The natural look of wood is often one of its greatest appeals when it comes to using it in construction. It has the ability to provide a rustic charm to a building or a sleek, modern feat of architecture and anything in between. The variety of species allows you to choose something which appeals to your individual taste and the character in each and every piece of timber allows your project to be totally unique.
The air pockets within the structure of timber gives it natural thermal properties, more so than other construction materials such as masonry or steel. Not only does this help to provide a cosy feel when used in construction, it also means using timber for your project can see you make energy savings and improve a building’s environmental credentials.
Learn More About NORclad
Be it for aesthetics, strength, character, maintenance or something else, we are incredibly lucky to have a great deal of choice when it comes to timber sourced right here in the UK. However big or small your project is, with such a range of characteristics and properties specific to certain species, selecting the right timber is vital to achieving the desired finish and maximising the benefits of this incredible, natural material.
If you’re looking to find out more about the type of timber most appropriate for your project, here at NORclad we have over 40 years of experience as a specialist manufacturer of wood cladding. We pride ourselves on our superb environmental credentials, not just for the sustainability in how we source our timber but also factors such as the insulation properties of the type of timber used to protect buildings from varying climatic conditions.
If you’re looking for inspiration, why not take a look at the case studies on our website, or to find out more please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our friendly, expert team today.