How To Pick the Best Type of Wood for DIY Projects

Written by  //  September 7, 2021  //  Hm Interior Rooms  //  Comments Off on How To Pick the Best Type of Wood for DIY Projects

How To Pick the Best Type of Wood for DIY Projects

Have you ever spotted a Pinterest design online that you wanted to try only to later get stuck in the lumber aisle at Home Depot? Even if the project is something you know you have the skills and tools to complete, finding the correct type of wood is a necessity. This will ensure your creation lasts as long as possible for you to enjoy in the coming years, if not decades.

Exterior or Interior

The first thing you should consider for a DIY project is whether you’re going to put it inside or outside when you’re finished. If you’re making something that will be outdoors, then you need to make sure the wood can handle the elements. Not all woods can withstand long-term direct sunlight, extreme dryness, or heat. On the contrary, other woods are better suited for something such as a deck where they might experience a lot more prolonged moisture. Some woods are also more resistant to insects than others.

When you’re creating a project that’ll stay indoors, these factors don’t weigh as heavily. Picking wood for indoor projects is generally more about finding something with an excellent appearance than durability. For example, if you’re creating a chessboard, you probably want to choose two kinds of wood with distinct patterns to create contrast in the squares.

Expansion and Contraction

Humidity affects the health of the wood over time. Rainy or humid conditions cause moisture, which in turn causes the wood to expand. Drier conditions or times of year cause the wood to lose water; thus, the wood shrinks slightly. If you live in the Southwest or in another dry climate, you may have noticed that your house creaks during the summertime. This is the wood contracting under dry conditions as it loses moisture.

For smaller projects, these factors generally aren’t that big of a deal. However, if you’re making something more extensive, such as a bookshelf, table, or treehouse, you should factor in the type of wood that can handle these changing environmental conditions.

Softwood vs. Hardwood

One of the crucial choices you’ll make for a DIY venture is deciding what type, rather than what species, of wood you’ll use. There’s a lot of information online about the differences between hardwood and softwood, but here’s a quick overview on how to pick the best type of wood for DIY projects. Softwoods include pine, cedar, and soft maple. Since they’re more delicate, they’re easier to drill and carve. They also tend to be lighter in color, which opens up a lot more staining options.

Hardwoods come from trees such as mahogany, walnut, cherry, oak, and maple. These woods are super durable, and they can even last for hundreds of years. Because of this, it’s harder to use tools on them. Hardwoods are generally more expensive than their softwood counterparts. People also rarely stain them—they usually receive a clear topcoat so that their natural patterns and colors can shine through.

When you’re deciding how to pick the best type of wood for your DIY project, factor these concerns into your final creation for the best result possible.

image credit: Adobe Stock

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