Timbers – their properties and uses

Date Published

17 August 2022

Document Type

Category

Author

TRADA
Summary

This sheet sets out the properties and uses of 140 timber species used in the UK. This can be used to help with species selection or to identify species with comparable properties when alternatives are required.

The data is presented alphabetically by standard name and includes the botanical name for the species, region of origin, timber type and colour, average density, texture, moisture movement, working qualities, natural durability (fungi), treatability (heartwood) and availability. Remarks on notable features, where applicable, are included. Finally, common uses for each timber are listed.

This sheet has been comprehensively reviewed and updated where necessary. Specifiers should be aware that changes may affect design decisions and should therefore be taken into account.

Content has been restructured and headings updated.
New points added to the Key points box.
Additional information regarding sustainable sourcing, including detail of UKTR post-Brexit added.
Information on modified wood expanded.
Adjustments made to timber type/colour detail including additional detail on sapwood/heartwood.
Typical average density, moisture movement, natural durability and treatability sections expanded with greater detail.
References section updated.

Key Information

When specifying timber, you should establish which properties are required of the timber in order to achieve the desired performance for a particular end use.

Modified wood may be defined as wood which has been modified chemically, biologically or physically to improve its properties and performance permanently.

Density varies both between different species and within individual species. The density of any piece of timber will depend on its moisture content.

Case studies

Located within the Greenwich Millennium Village, this two-form entry primary school, community hall and early years centre opened in February 2001, with the health centre following on in June 2001.

Acharacle is a small and remote community on the south-west tip of Loch Shiel, some 40 miles west of Fort William. For many years the village had campaigned for a new primary school and community space to replace the old Victorian buildings, which were becoming difficult and expensive to maintain.