Australia is one of the few places on earth that are rich in various kinds of timber. A majority of them are hardwoods, while most of them can be used for construction purposes as well. However, choosing the right Australian wood can be tricky. Unfortunately, some of these timbers are nearing their extinction, and are rarely used for construction purposes. In this article, we shall talk about all that you need to know about the various types of Australian hardwood timber.
How to Grade the Quality of Wood?
When it comes to grading the quality of different woods, the thing that matters is their suitability in multiple situations. Here are three ways wood can be graded.
Mechanical Stress Grading
In mechanical stress grading, timber is tested for its elasticity. Unlike brittle wood, elastic wood is more capable of handling stress well.
Visual Inspection is carried out to detect the visible flaws in timber. These flaws include cracks, knots, and similar defects.
Machine Proof Grading
Unlike the two mentioned above, this is not a common technique. However, it is essential for testing the ability of the timber to handle stress.
Cross lamination VS Glue lamination
Before we move towards the classification is timber lamination, we need to understand what timber lamination is. Laminated timber is an engineered wood that has two pieces of wood layered together, using high-quality adhesives.
Two of the most common types of timber lamination are cross lamination and glue lamination, aka glulam. When you compare cross-laminated timber with glulam, you will realise that in cross-laminated wood, the timber layers are glued together, while the grain alters at 90 degrees for every layer or lamella. On the flipside, in glulam, the layers are glued together, but are layered with the grain, thus resulting in lengthier members.
Cross-laminated timber is durable and also fire resistant. Furthermore, it possesses excellent insulation properties and is far lighter than your everyday concrete. Glulam, on the other hand, is known for its structural capability, quick construction, and sound absorption properties. Just like cross-laminated timber, glulam is also fire resistant.
Australian Timber for Building
Nowadays, house structures made from timber are becoming increasingly popular. Australian timbers come in a variety of different colours, and their sturdy nature makes them the perfect choice for flooring, decking, and bench tops.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular kinds of Australian timbers for construction.
Ironbark is one of the best timbers in the world and is well known for its high density. Its properties make it the perfect wood for in-ground use. However, it is not suitable to be used in flooring and decking. Sometimes, unseasoned ironbark is used in house frames, but it is mostly used in bridges, railway sleepers, and other projects that need high-density timber.
Jarrah is one of the most popular Australian timbers for construction projects. It comes in a variety of beautiful colours, such as red and brown. However, if left unmaintained, it can turn greyish. Jarrah timber is highly durable and is used in various applications. It is mainly used in flooring, decking, and making the rails for staircases.
Also known as Victorian Ash, Mountain Ash is an accessible timber that is sometimes used for framing. However, it is most commonly used for drawer fronts, kitchen doors, bench tops, and floorings. It is by far the tallest of all timbers in Australia and is mostly found in Tasmania.
Blackbutt is by far one of the best Australian timbers out there. It is mostly honey brown in colour but also takes a more blonde colour tone. This species of wood is mainly found in Southern Queensland, and even in New South Wales. A similar species of wood is also found in Western Australia. The one found in the west is suitable for all construction applications.
Another famous Australian timber is the Blue gum. It is also known as Sydney Blue gum and Southern Blue gum. Despite being the same timber, as their names suggest, they tend to vary in colour. They are sturdy timbers, which are used in furniture making, as well as flooring. Another common Blue gum is the Red Blue gum, which is mostly used in decking projects.
Brush Box comes in a variety of colours. It is colour rage goes from greyish pink to dark brown. Its sapwood is mostly pale brown. Brush box wood comes for huge trees that grow along the edges of the rainforests in Queensland and New South Wales. Brush Box is commonly used in interior stairs and flooring projects.
There was a time when karri was used as the standard construction timber in Australia. However, with time, it got replaced with treated pine. Its colour tone goes from a pale pink to dense reddish-brown. Unlike a variety of Australian hardwoods, Karri is coniferous softwood. There was a time when Karri was used in just about every other construction project but is now nearing its extinction. However, karri is mostly used in furniture, woodturning, shelving, and also joineries.
Spotted Gum is considered by many as the best Australian timber out there. As far as colour is concerned, Spotted Gum comes in Honey, Greenish, Purple, and brown tones. Besides being a suitable wood for decking and flooring, Spotted Gum can be used in general construction applications. It is known for its durability, as well as its ability to withstand forest fires. Interestingly, Spotted Gum is the name given to four different types of Australian timber.
If you are confused about which Australian timber to choose for your construction project, consider the following three factors.
Before you initiate a timber project, make sure it is durable enough. If you get hold of non-durable timber, the chances are that your investment will go in vain.
Another factor to consider when shopping around for timber is aesthetics. The colour and the grain patterns in your wood should suit your interior design.
If you live near the forest, one thing you must factor in is the possibility of forest fires. Therefore, it is essential for you to go for timber that is fire resistant and can withstand the burns, thus keeping you and your home safe.