Australia has a unique resource in its native hardwoods, producing some of the most durable and attractive timbers in the world. Native hardwoods are sourced from managed forests and more recently from plantations and farm forestry. Australia also imports a number of hardwood timbers from overseas.
The distinction between hardwood and softwood is botanical, rather than referring to the strength or hardness of the wood. Hardwoods are relatively broad-leafed trees with seeds that are produced in an enclosed form, such as a fruit or nut; softwoods are coniferous or cone bearing trees with needle-like leaves. Due to a higher density, hardwood is usually stronger than softwood but this is not always the case; for example, balsa is a hardwood and white cypress is very strong softwood.
Hardwood timbers are ideal for high strength structural applications, such as bearers, joists, lintels and roof beams. The natural durability of most hardwoods also makes them perfect for external applications, such as decking and cladding, and for interior flooring and stairs. Hardwood timbers are also highly recyclable due to their long above-ground life, with some of Australia’s indigenous hardwood species, such as jarrah, blackwood and red gum, much prized for recycled flooring, panelling, furniture and landscaping.
To find the right timber for your project, search hardwood species using botanical name, common name or applications.