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types of sawn timber products

There are so many wonderful words for wood products – do you know your shiplap from your birdsmouth or your peeled posts from your OSB?

Navigating the world of timber products can be as confusing as deciphering a foreign language. From paling to feather edge, the terminology can leave you scratching your head. But fear not, we’re here to shed some light on the subject.

Key features to consider when choosing timber products

When selecting timber products for your project, it’s essential to keep these key features in mind to ensure you get the best product for your needs:

1. Durability

Opt for timber species known for their resistance to decay and insect damage, such as cedar or redwood. Look for treated timber options for added longevity, especially if the wood will be exposed to harsh weather conditions.

2. Sustainability

Choose timber from responsibly managed forests certified by organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the programme for the endorsement of forest certification (PEFC). This ensures that the timber is sourced ethically and promotes the long-term health of forests.

3. Dimensional stability

Select timber with minimal warping, twisting, or cupping tendencies to ensure a smooth and uniform appearance over time. Kiln-dried or thermally modified timber can offer enhanced stability, reducing the risk of deformation.

4. Ease of installation

Look for timber products designed for straightforward installation, whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional contractor. Consider options with interlocking profiles or concealed fixing methods for a seamless finish.

5. Maintenance requirements

Assess the maintenance needs of the timber, including painting, staining, or sealing, to ensure it aligns with your preferences and maintenance schedule. Some timber species may require more frequent upkeep than others.

6. Aesthetic appeal

Choose timber with a finish that complements the architectural style of your building and enhances its visual appeal. Consider factors such as colour, texture, and profile to achieve the desired aesthetic effect.

7. Environmental performance

Evaluate the environmental impact of the timber cladding, including its embodied energy, carbon footprint, and recyclability. Opt for low-impact materials and manufacturing processes to minimize environmental harm.

By considering these essential features, you can make an informed decision when selecting timber cladding that meets your project’s requirements for durability, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal.

types of timber products

Navigating sawn timber products: 16 types demystified

Now we’ve covered the attributes that make a high-quality and appealing product, here are 16 types of sawn timber and what comprises each.

1. Birdsmouth 

The Birdsmouth Joint, also known as the birds beak cut, is a triangular-shaped cut at the base of a roofing joist or on top of a fence post. It allows the joist to sit neatly on the wall plate or supports a horizontal rail in a knee rail fence.

2. Feather edge

A feather edge is a narrow board with a tapered edge down one side. It’s commonly used in vertical fence panels to create a sturdy and visually appealing structure.

3. CLS

Imported from Canada and Europe, CLS timber is ideal for internal studding, partitions, and framing. These boards are planed and finished with eased edges to precise tolerances.

4. Paling

Paling boards are sawn lengths of treated timber placed vertically along a fencing rail for privacy and security.

5. PSE 

PSE, or Planed Square Edge timber, provides a clean and neat finish with smooth surfaces on all sides.

6. Tongue & groove

This type of timber features edges with interlocking tongues and grooves, creating a snug fit for a variety of applications.

7. Peeled posts 

Circular posts with the bark removed, commonly used for rough fence posts to support sheep netting.

8. Incised posts

Timbers with sharp steel teeth pressed into all sides to enhance the penetration of preservative treatments, ensuring durability.

9. Cladding 

Thin timber boards with attractive finishes used to cover existing surfaces or provide additional weather protection.

10. Shiplap 

Shiplap boards overlap each other to create a weatherproof seal, commonly used in building exteriors.

11. Picket 

Horizontal rails attached to fence posts with evenly spaced vertical boards, often with pointed tops for a classic look.

12. Newels

Originally named from the central post of a winding staircase, but better known in normal household staircases as the main supporting post.

13. Patrice

A circular timber disc that is attached directly to a wall. Handrail brackets are then attached to the patrice, with a handrail being attached to the brackets.

14. Four-way weathered top 

A sturdy square finished post which has a four-angled top to create an attractive look.

15. OSB

Oriented Strand Board is formed out of compressed layers of wood strands with adhesives.

16. Ply

Plywood is an engineered wood made from thin sheets of veneer peeled from debarked wood. These thin layers are glued together in alternating right angles to create a cross-grain pattern.

Even more confused?

Phew, that was quite a list! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. For expert advice on outdoor timber products, consult with our knowledgeable team. We’re here to help you navigate the world of timber with ease.

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