Why is oak such a good product to use?

Whilst we specialise in a wide range of timber species for external works, three of the main species that we supply are oak, cedar and larch.

Oak in particular is an incredibly popular choice, and for good reason. We will explore the key benefits of oak in the article below, but essentially it does a good job for just about anything that timber can be used for, meaning that whatever timber product you might want to make, you can do so using the same tree.

It has the ideal combination of durability, strength and weight, and in terms of where it would feature if you were to have a portfolio of different species of timber, it would be right in the middle.

Oak is what is known as a temperate hardwood, meaning that it grows in temperate zones such as Europe and North America. If you wanted timber that was heavier, more durable (long-lasting) and more expensive than oak, you would opt for a tropical hardwood such as the Ekki, Cumaru and Balau we offer for decking and railway or marine projects (from countries such as Brazil, Cameroon and Malaysia). Say you wanted a timber that was lighter, less durable and therefore also cheaper, you would opt for a temperate softwood (such as cedar and larch, our other two most popular species of timber). Temperate hardwoods such as Oak and Chestnut are between these two extremes, which is what makes it such a useful product for a wide variety of uses. So, lets drill down in more depth as to why oak is such a great product.

If you are fond of visiting historical properties, perhaps through membership of an organisation such as the National Trust or English Heritage, then you will probably be familiar with old houses dating from around the time of the Tudors and Stuarts (so from the 1500s onwards). These buildings’ structure is still going strong over 500 years after being built, because the oak that they were built with is so durable. Even if you’re not a fan of exploring old properties at the weekends, you will probably have encountered old churches or perhaps even pubs that are made with oak and supported by oak beams. Oak is naturally resistant to moisture and incredibly strong – in fact, oak gets stronger as it gets older. It is also naturally resistant to rot, pests and decay so not only lasts a long time but also requires minimal maintenance, which is why we are still able to walk around and admire buildings that were built from oak and filled with quite stunning oak beams half a millennium ago. Which brings us on to the next point …

Aesthetically pleasing appearance

Whilst looks aren’t everything, for many construction projects it is important that it is aesthetically pleasing, and one of the key reasons why oak is so popular is because it looks so beautiful. It has a unique and instantly recognisable appearance, as it has a wonderful rich colour that gives a distinct, rustic look, and therefore adds a huge amount of character to any building project. If you see exposed oak beams in any building, they will undoubtedly leave an impact on you.

As we alluded to in our introduction, oak can be used to build and create almost any timber product: from the beams that hold framed buildings together down to your kitchen worktop. Whilst many timber species are only ideal for specific uses depending on their strengths or weakness, oak doesn’t really have many limitations, hence it is used for furniture, items around the home, flooring, construction, landscaping, cladding, decking, fencing and even ship building. For example, its durability and strength mean that it is ideal for kitchen chopping boards, whereas its striking appearance mean that it is an ideal material for making lamps and tables. Here at EcoChoice, we sell a range of oak products, including oak beams and planks, oak sleepers for landscaping purposes, oak flooring, oak pergolas, and oak timber frames.

Because oak is a temperate hardwood (meaning it is native to the UK as well as being grown in other nearby countries such as France and Germany) it is more easily available than tropical hardwoods which are grown largely in the continents of Africa, Asia and South America. This is another reason why oak has been used for centuries in this county, because the trees grow natrually here. It is therefore part of our history and our culture.

Whilst we only source and sell FSC or PEFC certified timber, many people when buying timber have concerns about buying and using tropical hardwoods because they are concerned that it may have been grown and harvested in an unsustainable way. We addressed these concerns in our article, “why you shouldn’t be put off buying tropical hardwoods”, explaining that, if you use timber from the tropics that comes from an FSC source then you are actually helping to protect the forest. However, we know that some people still have concerns despite this. These concerns are far less common for temperate hardwoods that have been grown in continents such as North America and Europe, because there is less concern about illegal deforestation in these areas. Still, as all of our oak products are FSC/PEFC certified, you can be 100% confident that your oak will come from traceable and sustainably managed forests.

Who are EcoChoice?
EcoChoice are specialist suppliers of certified timber and recycled plastic products for exterior works: from cladding and decking to piers and footbridges. We were formed in 2005 with the aim of promoting FSC certified timbers to the UK construction industry, helping customers to engage in a sustainable way instead of turning away from both the deforestation and plastic waste problems. We offer products from a wide range of different timber species.

We are passionate about supplying our clients with independently certified timber products while encouraging responsible and sustainable practices at the source level. To find out how we can help you and to get a quick, no-obligation quote, please call us on 0345 638 1340, email us on info@ecochoice.co.uk or for more information about our sustainable timber products, please visit our website https://ecochoice.co.uk/

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