Most types of wood can be put into two main categories. These are hardwoods like Oak, Beech and Mahogany and softwoods like Pine, Cedar, Larch and Spruce.
Softwoods come from coniferous trees. That means that they keep their leaves all year round. Because they grow relatively quickly it also means that more wood can be grown to replace that being used. Softwoods are mainly used in the construction industry because of their strength and sustainability.
Hardwoods come from deciduous trees. That means that they lose their leaves each winter and they tend to grow slower than softwoods so the wood is denser. They are generally more expensive and not as sustainable.
We are going to focus on the 4 main species of wood used in the garden room industry and discuss the main benefits and disadvantages of using each type to help you to make an informed choice when considering what type of garden room and exterior finish to choose.
PROS: All of our garden rooms are made from Spruce grown at high altitude in the Bavarian and Austrian Alps. Spruce is the first choice for Northern European wooden buildings. Its strong and hard characteristics as well as a high resin content means that it is extremely durable and perfect for use outdoors. Because it is grown at high altitude it means that it grows slower and therefore results in a higher density wood. By felling in winter when the trees water content is low it means that it wont shrink or crack as much in the drying out process that all felled wood naturally goes through. When milled it finishes well and has a lovely pale warm appearance with few knots. Over time it will weather to a beautiful dark Grey. Because it is pail you can also paint it if you require a coloured finish.
CONS: If it isn’t grown at altitude it can be prone to warping.
PROS: Cedar is a knotty softwood which has a red-brown color with light streaks which gives it a beautiful and distinctive appearance. Over time it weathers to a natural Silvery Grey. Due to its tight ring growth and very high resin content it means that it is one of the most durable woods available. It is also very resistant to insects, which makes it an excellent choice for external uses like cladding.
CONS: Cedar is a desirable wood for building which makes it expensive so if using it for a large area it will increase your budget considerably. Because of its strong Red appearance it doesn’t make it the perfect choice if you want a painted finish because it is mahogany colour it’s hard to cover.
PROS: Larch is very similar to Cedar in its characteristics and also makes an excellent choice for exterior cladding. It has a beautiful Golden appearance with interesting patterns in the growth rings and lots of character and will also weather to a Silver Grey over time.
CONS: It is more expensive than Spruce but less than Cedar. It can warp so expansion gaps must be allowed for.
PROS: Pine is a soft, white or pale yellow wood, which is lightweight and straight grained. Pine is very fast growing so it’s one of the cheapest woods available. It will weather to a Silver Grey.
CONS: Pine must be treated for external use. You can either buy treated Pine, which will be ok for external use but it wont have a very long life span. To increase its longevity you should paint it to help to make it weather proof.
Be cautious of companies offering large garden rooms at low prices as they may have used Pine for their external cladding. If this is the case you are making a large compromise with the amount of time you will be able to enjoy your garden room before it begins to decay.
As a company Spruce and Larch are our woods of choice. However if you prefer a Cedar clad garden room we would be more than happy to accommodate your request.
Choosing the right material for the job is very important. As a rule if you want it to last avoid using cheaper untreated Pine and go for the superior options of Spruce, Larch or Cedar and you won't go too wrong!