Hardwood and Softwood – What’s the difference?

When you are considering having some joinery work carried out, you will be asked a number of questions including those about what kind of timber you are looking to use. To the average Joe this is not something we may have put much thought into, but to Joinery professionals it can make all the difference.

Aesthetics, durability and stability are things to consider when choosing which timber to use for your project. Hardwood and softwood are classified based on their physical structure and makeup, so it’s not as simple to think of softwood as ‘soft’ and hardwood as ‘hard’.

Hardwood comes from broadleaved, deciduous trees which lose their leaves annually and have a slower growth. This causes denser wood which takes longer to reach maturity and therefore produces a much harder wood.

Softwood comes from evergreen trees as they grow quickly and stay green throughout the year. They tend to be less dense than deciduous trees and are therefore easier to cut when it comes to crafting bespoke joinery.

Different types of wood will each have different uses. Hardwood is more likely to be found in high quality furniture and applications where it needs to last, such as in flooring, decks and construction where longevity is key.

However, about 80% of timber comes from softwood, which makes it a much wider used timber for a variety of applications including windows, doors, furniture, MDF and paper. We ensure we always use pressure treated softwood which pumps preservative into the wood to extend its life by up to 30 years.

It is estimated that there are 60,000-100,000 tree species across the world which are a mixture of hard and softwood. Here are just a few examples of species of trees and which type of wood they produce.


  • Oak
  • Teak
  • Mahogany
  • Maple
  • Beech
  • Walnut



  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Fir
  • Juniper
  • Spruce
  • Yew



Hardwood has a slower growth rate than softwood which means it is also typically more expensive. However it also has the lasting longevity that some softwoods do not have and is more fire resistant.

To speak to someone about your joinery requirements, visit our contact page here.