Hardwood 101

Contrary to popular belief, the terms “hardwood” and “softwood” do not refer to how hard or soft a piece of lumber is. These terms refer to the specific group (or genus) the source tree belongs to. Hardwoods are the botanical group of trees that have broad leaves, produce a fruit or nut, and generally go dormant in the winter. On the other hand, softwoods, or conifers, from the Latin word meaning “cone-bearing,” have needles.

Below are resources that explain the differences between hardwood and softwood, as well as the suggested end uses of these lumber species.

Measuring Up

Getting It Right

AHIC Hardwood Species Guide

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