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Hardwoods, softwoods, treated woods and different species – when it comes to choosing timber for an exterior project, there are more choices than you might have expected! Not all woods are created equal, either, making it important you find the right one for your project. That is where we come in. With decades of experience in the timber industry, we can match your project to the right timber in a flash.

To start, let’s take a look at some of the recommendations we have for your outdoor timber builds.

Durability of External Timber

Because your timber is going to be exposed to sun, snow, rain and wind, you need to find a wood which is durable. It should be able to resist rot, decay, fungal infestation and insects with ease. Timber which is in contact with the ground is considered to be use class 4. Timber which is used externally but is not in constant ground contact falls under use class 3.

Luckily, all the timber species we recommend for different applications already have durability use classes taken into account.

Timber Decking

If you are adding timber decking (use class 3 for boards and 4 for vertical posts) to an outdoor space, there are plenty of options to pick from. Here is a run through of some of the most popular.

  1. Treated Softwoods – a cost-effective option for decking. These are pre-treated with chemicals to resist decay and insects, making it a durable choice. OrganoWood is an ecological alternative which is ideal for external decking. Finally, Thermowood is a heat-modified softwood also perfectly suitable for decking.
  2. Tropical Hardwoods – species like Ipe, Cumaru, Massaranduba, Ekki and Opepe are naturally durable and resistant to decay, termites and moisture. Whilst they do come at a higher cost, they are low-maintenance and can last for decades making them a worthwhile investment.

Timber Cladding

Timber cladding needs to blend the aesthetics of your building with the right characteristics. For external cladding, there are a fair few choices our team frequently recommend.

  1. Larch – we recommend either Siberian Larch or European Larch for cladding projects. Naturally durable and more budget-friendly than Cedar.
  2. Cedar – slightly pricier than Larch but a beautiful timber, Cedar is a smart choice. Western Red Cedar has a characteristic reddish hue, quite varied in colour and contains very few knots, whilst British Cedar is a faster-grown budget option, much more knotty and lighter and creamier in colour. A great alternative is Canadian WRC is Alaskan Yellow Cedar.
  3. Thermowood – if you’re looking for very stable cladding boards, Thermowood is the best option. As an ultra kiln dried redwood, Thermowood has the perfect balance between cost, durability, and stability – all while being preservative-free.

Regardless of what timber species you go for your decking or cladding, remember that good installation is paramount and that all timbers go silver grey over time. So if you want to retain their natural lively colour, coating and maintaining your boards with a stain or oil will be needed.

Timber Raised Beds

Raised beds are a must for every avid gardener and create instant interest in an outdoor space. The key thing is to stay away from treated timber if you’re growing any veg in your raised beds.  But which timber should you choose? Let’s take a look.

  1. Pine – a budget-friendly option for raised beds which will not break the bank and is an aesthetically pleasing choice. Pine is not the most durable timber, though, so consider a lining for increased durability.
  2. Recycled timber – we offer reclaimed hardwood timbers, such as reclaimed Greenheart, which is perfect for the rustic nature of raised beds. Incredibly durable but with added sustainability points, it is a great choice for a green garden.
  3. Oak – a timber known for its beauty but not for its budget! Super durable and naturally resistant to rot, it is a great choice for long-lasting beds – and it looks great too! You get what you pay for with Oak.

Timber Pergolas

  1. Oak – a traditional choice with natural resilience, ensuring longevity without the need for pre-treatments or a lot of maintenance.
  2. Douglas Fir – a strong and cost-effective choice. It can be treated for outdoor use and provides a classic look when stained or painted.
  3. Treated timber – treated woods such as Pine or Spruce are a great choice for budget-friendly pergolas providing decent durability for a structure if installed and looked after properly.

Find Your Ideal Timber at EcoChoice

These are just some of the suitable timber species for each project, but there are plenty more out there! If you have unique requirements or just have not yet found your perfect fit, get in touch with our timber experts and we will be more than happy to help. With a wide range of FSC-certified timber, we will find exactly what you need.

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