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Types of Common Wood in Framing: Distinctive Characteristics, Advantages, and Disadvantages

In the United States, it is common to find low and medium-rise buildings constructed with wooden structures, making it important to choose the type of wood carefully, whether you are building a home from scratch or modifying interior spaces in your residential or commercial property.

We understand that you may hire a construction company for this job, but it's important that, before negotiating, you are familiar with the types of available wood, their characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. If, on the other hand, you are a contractor, it's not a bad idea to know this information, as it will enable you to explain to your clients the different options available and choose the most suitable for the type of project you are undertaking.

The wood used to build a property's structure is known as structural wood or framing wood, and there are some types classified as "softwood" or "hardwood," widely used in Iowa and throughout the United States for residential and multifamily building construction.

Below, the framing team at Parceros Construction LLC has taken the task of specifying four types of wood used in constructions in Iowa.

1. Pine:

Pine is classified as a good or common type of wood and is easy to work with.

Pine wood, also known as Western pine, yellow pine, or construction pine due to its extensive use in residential structure construction, is classified as a good or common type of wood and is easy to work with.

Pine, being a softwood, is less expensive than oak but tends to deteriorate, cracking as it dries, giving it a rustic and weathered appearance. This type of wood does not twist or warp when treated properly.

Distinctive Characteristics and Advantages:

  • Widely available in construction stores.

  • Flexibility and adaptability, allowing for use in a wide range of structures.

  • Pine wood is a renewable resource as it is often harvested in regulated plantations to ensure minimal environmental impact.

  • Compared to other woods, pine wood is much lighter and easier to handle, cut, stain, and carve.

  • Pine has natural patterns and grains in the wood that give it great appeal.

  • It is the most economical wood because it is grown in large quantities, and pine trees grow faster than any other tree.


  • Less durability: This type of wood is less resistant to moisture and rot compared to the quality of other woods.

2. Fir:

Fir is classified as good or common wood, and the highest quality ones have few knots and clear wood between the knots.

This type of wood is primarily used in the construction of single-family homes and in the cladding of multifamily buildings. It is classified as excellent or good wood, easy to work with, and widely available in construction material stores. It generally tends to deform, so it is not recommended for flooring work.

Common fir, also known as Douglas fir, has excellent weather resistance qualities and is often used on the exterior of houses. It is classified as good or common wood, and the highest quality ones have few knots and clear wood between the knots. In any case, it is easy to work with and readily available for exterior use.

Distinctive Characteristics and Advantages:

  • Greater resistance to bending and twisting compared to pine.

  • Greater structural stability and less tendency to deform or twist.

  • Better weight-strength ratio.

  • Aesthetics: Douglas fir offers intense colors and unique veins. Its natural wood color palette, ranging from light reddish-brown to orange, has a warm and ambient appeal.


  • Higher cost: It tends to be more expensive than pine.

  • Variable availability: It may be scarcer depending on the region.

3. Cedar:

Cedar wood has different properties that make it suitable for construction and carpentry.

Cedar wood is the highest quality wood for building structures, as the cedar oil naturally found inside makes it resistant to rot, fungi, and insects. In the United States, this type of wood is extensively used to build homes.

Cedar wood has different properties that make it suitable for construction and carpentry. The most relevant ones are as follows:

Distinctive Characteristics and Advantages:

  • Has natural resistance to rot.

  • Less likely to warp, chip, or shrink.

  • The sapwood color ranges from light pink to yellow, while the heartwood ranges from yellow to reddish-brown.

  • Has a characteristic aroma, thanks to the resin that emanates from the inside.

  • Its use for cladding buildings acts as an excellent noise insulator.

  • Despite its strength, it is lightweight with a medium density of 500 kg/m3 and 12% moisture.


  • Higher cost: Tends to be more expensive than pine and fir.

  • Higher weight: It is heavier compared to other framing woods.

4. Oak:

Oak is known for its exceptional durability.

Oak stands out in the construction of structures for buildings in Iowa because it possesses unique characteristics that make it highly appreciated in the fields of engineering and architecture. We will detail some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with the use of oak wood in construction.

Distinctive Characteristics and Advantages:

  • Oak is known for its exceptional durability. Its resistance to decay and pests makes it an ideal material for structures that must withstand adverse conditions.

  • Oak is notable for its high strength and hardness, making it suitable for supporting heavy loads, making it a robust choice for beams, columns, and other structural elements.

  • It is a versatile material that lends itself to various construction techniques. It can be carved and shaped in various ways.


  • Cost: Oak tends to be more expensive compared to other woods, which can affect the overall construction budget.

  • Weight: Oak wood is denser and heavier, making handling and transportation more complicated.

  • Although it is durable, oak may require sealers or protective treatments to maintain its integrity over time.

  • Depending on the region, the availability of oak wood may be limited.

Recommendations when Buying Wood for Framing:


  • Look for wood with few knots or visible defects.

  • Check the wood to ensure it has no cracks, which could compromise its integrity.

Treatments and Protection:

  • Some woods may require special treatments to improve their resistance to fungi, insects, or fire.

Standards and Regulations:

  • Make sure the wood complies with local construction standards.

Durability and Usage Environment:

  • Consider the wood's resistance to moisture and other destructive agents based on the environment in which it will be used.

Cost and Availability:

  • Evaluate the price and availability of each type of wood in your area.

Ensuring a sturdy and durable structure in the construction of low or medium-rise buildings in Iowa is crucial to guarantee the safety of the home or commercial property. Understanding the unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each type of framing wood is essential to choose the most suitable for your project. At Parceros Construction, we are framing experts and can advise you on building a solid and secure structure.

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