What Are The Main Types Of Wood?

Understanding the different types of wood and their uses is essential when choosing the best wood for your next project.

Whether it’s a birdhouse, a side table, a shelf, or a coat rack, having a grasp of the different woods available can make or break your project.

There are seemingly endless species to choose from.

Therefore, I have come up with this guide to help you choose the right one.

Here are the main types of wood every DIYer should know.

1. Softwood
2. Hardwood
3. Engineered wood

DISCLOSURE: TheRuggedRooster.com is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.

1. Softwood

Softwood is lumber from coniferous or evergreen trees.

Evergreen trees usually grow in regions with a cold climate and grow fast hence are quite cheap when compared to hardwood.

Softwoods include:


Pinewood has a white, pale, or yellow appearance depending on the species.

It is light in weight, straight-grained, and resists swelling, shrinkage, and warping.

The wood is easy to paint or stain making it an excellent choice for wall paneling, decking, shelving, woodworking, and rustic furniture.

Cedar Wood

this lumber is a popular choice for closets and storage chests not just for its interesting colour and wood grain but also for its aromatic smell that is believed to repel pests and moths.

It is also an ideal choice for outdoor building projects as it is rot-resistant and can withstand outdoor weather.


also known as Douglas Fir, fir is inexpensive but has poor resistance to decay.

What’s more, it doesn’t stain easily hence it can be used on painted surfaces or in the raw form .

Spruce Wood

spruce wood is soft and light but has good strength and elasticity properties.

It does not shrink easily and remains stable when dried.

It is easy to plane, saw, slice, shred and sand making it a great option for building and construction as well as interior finishing and furniture.

2. Hardwood

Hardwood is obtained from deciduous trees which are angiosperms.

This wood is heavyweight, harder, and resilient than softwood. It grows at a much slower rate and requires longer drying times.

Therefore it is expensive and is often reserved for projects that require maximum durability.

The most common types of hardwoods include:


oak is heavy, strong, and comes in a red or white variant. It is a widely used type of hardwood for several reasons.

It is easy to work on and is resistant to moisture, fungus, and yeast.

The wood is commonly used for office, household, and outdoor furniture.

Maple wood

this lumber is strong, stains nicely, and looks great thanks to its smooth grain pattern.

It is resistant to splitting, very durable, and easy to clean.

Maple wood is used in making household furniture like bedside tables, wall shelves, and console tables.

Teak wood

 teak wood is valued for its extreme stability, durability, water resistance, and weather resistance.

Consequently, it is used in exterior construction, carvings, building boats, furniture, and other wood projects.


well known for its strength and elasticity, oak wood is white to light brown and has prominent grain that resembles oak wood.

It is widely used for making ladders, guitars, drum shells, baseball bats, and sports equipment.

3. Engineered Wood

The third type of wood is engineered wood.

Also called composite wood or manufactured wood, this lumber is a derivative wood product made from binding or fixing the particles, strands, or boards of wood together with adhesives or other fixation methods.

While they are versatile and available in a wide variety of thickness, they are not suitable for outdoor usage as they soak up water.

Additionally, they require an outer layer like laminate or veneer to complete the look.