How to decide on the best wood material for an architectural project?
Selecting a type of wood for your next architectural design project is just like deciding on what type of car you will buy. Picture yourself at a car dealership. You’re standing in front of a Chevy, a Cadillac and a Rolls Royce. When you look at them, they all have four wheels and a steering wheel. They’re all cars. What are the factors that influence your decision? It largely depends on your maintenance preference, taste, and of course your budget.
There is a vast range of wood materials to pick from. From softwoods like yellow pine and composites to hardwoods like tropical woods and Black Locust. We have previously compared decking wood materials. When you look at them, they all have a certain texture and color.
The type of wood you choose determines the beauty and strength of the finished piece. There are several aspects you take into consideration when deciding on what works best for your project. Only a substantial part of that is the price point. In our blog we would like to give a comprehensive overview of different types of wood. We hope this will help you select the perfect type for your project.
The Chevy: softwoods and composites. Inexpensive but not eco-friendly.
Softwoods are very common in the commercial housing industry. If you are looking for a lower price point that will still do the job, your category is a Chevy. Pressure-treated Southern yellow pine and man-made composites are softwoods that will last about a decade. However, composites are not recyclable and actually not environmentally friendly. Let’s see why that actually is.
To make them weather-proof, their durability is enhanced by chemical treatments, stains, and paints. Softwoods need constant maintenance and also have an environmental impact. They have a carbon footprint because they may be thermally modified. Pressure-treated lumber may be the most affordable option, but it has higher maintenance costs. If you are looking for an eco-friendly material, you need to look further.
The Cadillac: tropical hardwood materials. Durable but require maintenance.
If you want to take it a step further and have the budget your category is the Cadillac. You buy a Cadillac for many years of use. Just like you invest a bit more into tropical hardwoods. They are generally more expensive but last longer than softwoods. The reason behind this is the growth rate. Trees like Teak, Ebony, and Rosewood take more time to grow. They are highly durable and last for several decades. Their use is for exterior applications where outdoor durability is important. You will often find them used as decks and outside furniture.
The big advantage of tropical hardwoods is they are naturally resistant to different weather conditions. Therefore, they have less environmental impact compared to chemically treated softwoods. However, to preserve its appearance, toxic oils have to be applied to tropical hardwoods. These toxic oils provide limited surface protection and mostly assists in keeping the original appearance.
The Rolls Royce: Black Locust Lumber, a truly sustainable hardwood material
If you are looking for a truly natural option, we have good news for you. A hardwood that will last and is also the most sustainable hardwood out there. Black Locust Lumber is the Rolls Royce of hardwoods. Classified by the National Hardwood Lumber Association as the most durable hardwood lumber compared to other species. Take a look at our grade guide. Black Locust Lumber is becoming very popular for exterior use in architecture. This is due to its beauty, durability of 50+ years, and certifiable sustainability.
Just like tropical hardwoods, they have natural water-resistant, rot-resistant, and anti-fungal properties. The biggest advantage of Black Locust is the maintenance. When in service, Black Locust Lumber requires little to no maintenance. On top of this Black Locust Lumber is 100% recyclable which makes the material eco-friendly.
Black Locust is a hardwood that keeps its attractive appearance without the help of toxic chemicals or oils. It is also the most environmentally friendly option. Black Locust is perfect for green projects in architecture. Because it is resistant to water, it deserves to be used for exterior decking projects or site furnishings.
Buyer Beware… Caveat Emptor!
If you come across a Rolls Royce that has deep discounts and low prices, are you really getting the value of a Royce Royce or a Chevy?
Shortboard lengths, narrow board widths, and lower grade quality Black Locust adds up to increased waste and higher installation costs. Are you really getting what you think you are buying, or a Chevy with a Rolls Royce emblem?
Built to last with Black Locust Lumber
As you can see, choosing Black Locust Lumber provides the best quality. You can be assured that your project is built to last! It also provides a reason to spend less over time. By choosing higher quality material you will be using fewer resources. Most importantly, you won’t be disposing of any toxic chemicals into the environment.
If you are ready to turn some heads and are looking for a premium product with historical durability pick the Rolls Royce of hardwoods. Our Black Locust building materials from Decks, Porch Flooring, Rainscreens, Site Furnishings to our ProFlow Permeable Pavers are built to last. Black Locust Lumber will become the limelight of your sustainable architectural project. With its evergreen beauty, it will last for several decades.