Technical Hub


Timber is a versatile building product with thousands of different uses. Learn below about the incredible properties of timber as a material.

Timber performance

The correct choice of product, good design and the help of technology mean that almost any end-use can benefit from a wood-based solution. Timber is a versatile material with predicable characteristics and attributes that perform well in a wide variety of end-uses. For any timber product it is important to distinguish what you want the end-use to be.  Strength, performance and appearance are all critical factors to consider. For each timber product there will be a set of manufacturing parameters determining its suitability for particular end-uses. The quality of manufacturing will always be important and it is vital to determine the level of assurance necessary. For some uses this may be simply buying a known grade from a trusted supplier or through specifying the use of national and international standards.


There is an intrinsic relationship between moisture content and the performance of timber. As wood is a naturally hydroscopic material it will gain or lose moisture in sympathy with its surroundings. If dried to a moisture content close to that which it will reach in service it will not swell or shrink significantly. Strength increases as timber dries and dry wood is not susceptible to any form of fungi attack.  Kiln drying allows faster drying under controlled conditions to minimise potential degrade of the timber.

Standards and Guides

We know it can be difficult to know exactly which British and European standards to apply to your products. That’s why we created a series of timber standards guides for the main three commodity types.


These guides include background information explaining exactly what the standards are, why they were created, what harmonised European standards & CE marking are and how they are relevant.


Check them out in the link below ‘Our Resources’. TTF members can download them for easy access in future and to print out.

The relationship between species and products

In the world of timber, species and products are closely linked. The species of a timber product and where it is sourced from will affects it’s density, strength, moisture content, movement and resistance to rot.  This means that different timber is more suitable to be used in different products, depending upon the environmental conditions they may face, the desired performance, and the availability of a timber species.


Softwoods by volume and value form the largest part of the timber market in the UK, with millions of cubic meters of Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) imported every year. These kinds of softwood species are used throughout construction in the sector, thanks largely to the speed in which they grow in plantations across Europe, sustainability, and the quality and consistency of the timber produced.


Hardwoods by comparison are available in hundreds of different species. They can be found in both temperate and tropical zones, such as Oaks in Europe or Cumaru from Africa. Often tend to be more expensive than softwoods. However, due to their beauty, strength and durability, they are an important part of the market and popular choice for use in flooring or windows.

Innovation in the world of timber

Despite being one of the oldest material known to man, we continue to find new uses for timber as a source of innovation and inspiration in the natural world. Modern engineering techniques mean timber can with stand more extreme conditions, or be used to make ‘timber towers’ – with hundreds made of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) already rising up around the world.


Timber Trade Topics seeks to give you a brief run down on all the need to know information about timber, from installing roof battens and cladding through to treatment, species and sourcing sustainable timber.

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