Updated: Jan 30
Wood is an indispensable construction material used for supporting material, in roof construction, interior doors and their frames as well as exterior cladding. Nearly all homes are made out of it or lumber, as we call it in North America.
Housing in many parts of the world were solely made from timber-framed construction until late in the 1960's. Engineered wood products, also called mass timber, are now used as structural and aesthetic materials. They are stack of wood layers that are glued together like plywood and milled into strips. With consumers today, they account for 30 percent of all the wood flooring sold in North America. Mass timber has been shown to have structural properties competitive with steel and concrete. It's a safe and viable alternative that performs well for residential, commercial and industrial building.
Since 2020 Canada’s National Building Code permits 12 stories of mass timber construction, considering its strength and fire resistance ratings. Timber is used more widely for residential and low-rise structures. It is rarely used as the main material for high-rises.
Wood constitutes the skeletal structure of our homes right down to the finishing touches of it's interior. Wood in Canada grows in about 140 species with unique qualities as it ages well, is durable, and serves as an acoustical and insulating barrier.
Beech, birch, cherry, maple, red oak, pine and spruce are used for cabinetry, doors, furniture, millwork, paneling, floors and moldings. Exotic wood bring something else to an interior decor with its rich colors, grain patterns and tones. For outdoor applications like fences or decks, cedar is preferred because it's light weight and stable where pergolas, patio decks, jacuzzies and saunas create an unmatched atmosphere of solace.
Looks and styles
Biophilic design incorporates natural elements into the construction of buildings and their interiors. Wood is one of the few natural resources that reduces carbon emission, increases the life cycle of a building, improves the well-being of the occupants and improves organizational benefits from having safer and visually appealing work environments.
It's a design solution that brings a warm atmosphere in space, creates a sense of comfort, harmony and relaxes the senses.
Common layout styles with wood are antique, rustic, vintage and zen. Some carpentry finishes are reclaimed and distressed. A notable modern look for a home is Scandinavian. With its unobstructed flow throughout a living space, minimalist design, airy feel, furniture characterized by straight lines, fenestration that lets natural light inside and the omnipresence of wood that contrasts with a neutral color scheme.
Wooden flooring is essentially a design feature that's full of character and timeless versatility. In a home you can find it installed in every room and hallways. Wood block, mosaics and parquetry
for an old vintage aesthetic look while planks add to a space something more sleek and modern. If cared for correctly, it offers lasting durability and value you won’t find with alternative forms of flooring.
Wood unsuitable for construction in its native form may be broken down mechanically to be turned for instance into chipboard, hardboard, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and alternative floor options like engineered and laminate.
Solid hardwood floors were originally used for structural support, being installed perpendicular to the wooden support beams of a building (the joists or bearers). Today in a home you can even find them on sports floors.
Think coffee tables or shelving units, among others. The grain and tone of furniture pieces bring warmth and character to any space. Many people have early memories of their family home with heirloom wooden furniture.
The distressed look of shabby chic furniture continues to grow in popularity. It can withstand years even the most unruly of environments, while the finish can be maintained and restored, natural or stained.
Epoxy dining or executive tables are all the rave. It's resin fused together with wood that form one breathtaking product. Other known application for epoxy are garage floors or interior floors, but for now dining tables and countertops are trending.
Wood in the kitchen feels incredibly homely and stimulate the senses. Usually found in kitchen cabinets and worktops, it adds a genuine vibe to the modern kitchen.
It can compliment other materials such as tile, cabinet colors, lighting furniture and appliances. All in all, if we combine the resounding visual qualities of wood in the kitchen with its strong durability and it’s easy to see why its use is so popular.
Quirky features such as bare wood and exposed beams create a rustic look that’s charming, easy on the eye and cozy. Wooden accent walls also have become a popular addition to the modern home and window casings. Other exquisite wood detailing are wainscoting, paneling, shiplap, cladding, staircases, moldings, baseboards, fireplace mantle, beams, shelving, that can create architectural interest.
Stylish and practical, window seats offer a lot of flexibility, both from a positional and a design sense. Consider them as conversation starters when the time comes to entertain guests.
'' Wood is like wine, it gets better with age. ''
Wood will absorb surrounding condensable vapors and will lose moisture to air. Therefore deterioration, shrinkage and expanding are the main disadvantages. Agents in nature causing the destruction of wood are bacteria, insects, the sun, wind, water, certain chemicals and fire.
One of the strongest advantages of wood is the resistance to electrical currents, making it an optimal material for electrical insulation. Tensile strength makes timber a good choice for heavy-duty building support materials such as structural beams. Wood is much lighter by volume than both concrete and steel, which make it a favorite to work with and very adaptable on-site.
Volatile Organic Compounds are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include : paints, lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as printers, correction fluids and craft materials including glues, adhesives or permanent markers. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors, up to ten times than outdoors.
Eco-friendly, wood products within a room have been shown to improve indoor air quality by moderating humidity. The design build industry can continue learning and taking steps to minimize exposure to indoor toxins by choosing and developing healthier, more sustainable products and building materials.