Softwood - the most important types of wood in the overview

Coniferous trees are much less numerous than deciduous trees. In the list in this article you will find the most important coniferous trees along with their place of origin and important information about the special properties.

Overview table of softwood species

Speciesancestryparticularitiesany other names
Cedar-woodUnited States340 - 550 kg / m³, very light, very good heat insulating, well resistant to pestsWood of the Tree of Life (Thuja) is also called Red Cedar in the USA
Douglas firV. A. USA, also Europehigh strength, reasonably weather-resistant, partially resistant to pests
yewEuropecomparatively heavy, firm and very elastic, weather-resistant and resistant to pests
spruceEuropeMost common softwood used in Europe, very strong with low weight, not weatherproof
Hemlock woodNordmerikasimilar to native fir wood but resin-free, somewhat more stableAlpine Fir, Alaska Pine, Hembal
pinewoodEuropeslightly harder and firmer than spruce, often very resinous
larchEuroperelatively weatherproof, good resistance to pests, very durable, especially under water
Sequoia woodUnited Statesnot very hard, but durable, only in small quantities in the marketSequoia, Redwood, also Vavona
pine woodMediterraneansoft, heavy, very rich in resin
Redwood forestUnited Statesnot very hard, but durable, good dimensional stabilitySequoia, redwood, also sequoia wood
Spruce woodUnited StatesAmerican relative of the native spruce with similar characteristicsSitka Spruce
firEuropea bit heavier than spruce wood, consistently good bearing capacity, not suitable for outdoor use
cedarAlgeria, Morocco, Asia Minor, Himalayas, Turkey, Pakistanless hard, less sustainable, becomes harder in the water and more durable, not suitable for outdoor useThe "Spanish cedar" belongs to a different tree species and therefore has different characteristics
cypress woodespecially USAmedium hardness, good machinability, hardly used today, but important in ancient times, oils contained can be harmful to health

Softwood outdoors?

Very few softwoods are completely weatherproof, durable and resistant to fungi and insect pests. Larch wood, especially the wood of alpine trees, has a certain natural weather resistance and durability. The American cedar wood and the native yew are also weatherproof, but only in small quantities in the trade and relatively expensive. Douglas fir wood is often overrated for its outdoor durability - it needs to be protected from pests, and it is also much less resilient than some tropical wood species because it is very soft.

Softwood for heating?

Many have a natural reluctance to use softwood for heating. Basically, this is not a problem if it is a closed oven without a glass window (resin splashes and sparks are always possible). In addition, softwood should always be burned as hot as possible (sufficient air supply) and never smolder.

Calorific value and prices

Softwoods as firewood are usually much cheaper than hardwood, but also provide less calorific value, in most cases around a quarter less per cubic meter than beech wood. In many cases, however, the ratio of price to calorific value may well be worthwhile, in particular for heating in the transitional period or for heating the (closed) furnace. Even soft hardwood species, such as poplar wood are usually cheap for the same reason, and also have similar calorific values ​​as softwood species.

Here you will find all types of wood at a glance

Tips & Tricks

Most softwood species are not only lighter than average hardwoods, but usually also softer. This should be considered in all constructions when it comes to load capacity and stability.

Video Board: How to Identify Hardwoods and Softwoods