Timber: a sustainable and efficient solution

Timber has been used for centuries in the construction industry.

Its natural beauty, durability, and versatility make wood a popular choice for those seeking to enhance the aesthetics and functionality of their projects while taking advantage of the structural benefits of timber frame, a type of wood construction system.

In this article, we will tell you why wood is an ideal alternative for your project thanks to its many benefits and how you can use it and take advantage of the same.

Definition of Timber

The term timber can be defined as wood that has been prepared and is suitable for construction, carpentry, or other construction applications; it is processed (sawn and cut) and standardized into diverse sizes and shapes for specific purposes, making it suitable for commercial use.

Timber is used in a wide range of applications, including structural applications such as frames, beams, columns, and posts, as well as other applications for finishes such as furniture, flooring, doors, windows, etc.

In addition, it has many applications outside of residential construction (as we will see later).

This wood usually undergoes additional treatments and grading processes to ensure its strength and quality. It is a versatile and widely used material.

Generally speaking, it can be classified into two types: hardwood and softwood. Its main characteristics are:

  • Durability
  • Rigidity
  • Resistance
  • Permeability
  • Workability
  • Availability
Wood. Photo by Sarah Worth on Unsplash

Differences between Timber, Lumber, and Wood

In the case of the English language, the equivalence of the terms timber, lumber, and wood is often misunderstood. These are related terms in the English-speaking market, but have slightly different meanings depending on the context, something that doesn’t happen in the Spanish -speaking market because there isn’t a specific word to identify timber specially prepared for construction.

Wood refers to the substance that forms a tree. That is the strong, fibrous, structural tissue of the tree’s trunk, branches, and roots.

In general, when the term wood is used, it refers to a natural material that is used in a wide range of industries and contexts, not only in construction but also, for example, in the production of paper.

On the other hand, timber refers to prepared wood that’s suitable for construction.

However, the specific use of these terms may vary according to regional and industry practices. For example, in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in some other countries, timber generally refers to sawn and prepared timber products to be used in construction.

Whereas, in the United States and Canada, the term lumber is used to refer to specialty lumber-sawn timber products for construction. And, more generally, it encompasses all processed wood products used in construction, carpentry, and other similar applications.

Thus, in the British market, the term used among users and industry players such as architects, builders, and developers is timber, while in Canada it is lumber. However, there isn’t a distinction in the Spanish-speaking market.

Timber: What is it used for?

As we already mentioned, timber is used for a variety of purposes in different industries and applications. Its specific use will depend on factors such as the type of wood, its properties, and the requirements of the project or industry.

Some of the most common uses include:

  • Construction: it is widely used in construction for housing structures such as houses, commercial buildings, bridges, and even larger projects such as stadiums or buildings. It can be used in roofs, walls, and structural elements.
  • Furniture and cabinetry: it is a popular material for furniture and cabinetry because of its strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. It is used to create items such as tables, chairs, beds, cabinets, and shelves.
  • Flooring and panelling: it is often used for flooring because of its natural beauty and warmth. It can be used, for example, for solid wood flooring or as a veneer for laminate flooring. It is also used for wall panelling to add texture and elegance to interior spaces.
  • Doors and windows: It is also employed in the manufacture of doors and windows. Its insulating properties, strength, and ability to improve the visual appeal of a building’s exterior make it ideal for this type of application.


What is Timber Frame in construction?

This construction method or technique uses timber posts, columns, and beams to create the structural frame of a building. It is commonly used in a variety of building types, including commercial buildings, residential homes, barns, and even modern, large-scale architectural designs.

It combines sustainability with the strength and beauty of wood. This positions it as a popular choice for those seeking a visually appealing and environmentally friendly construction method.

In this type of construction, the larger wooden elements are joined together using various types of joints to form a strong and durable structure.

Some key characteristics of this type of structure are:

  • Structural system: the foundation of this structural system is the strength and durability of the timber elements that support the building load. The timber frame consists of vertical posts, horizontal beams, and diagonal elements. All these elements work together to create a rigid and stable structure.
  • Aesthetics: This method of construction is known for its distinctive visual appeal. Beams and other wood elements add character and warmth. The frame can also be left exposed on the exterior, showcasing the beauty of natural wood.
  • Open interior spaces: this system allows for open floor plans and large uninterrupted interior spaces. The timber frame structural design minimizes the need for interior load-bearing walls.
  • Energy efficiency: timber frame structures can have excellent thermal performance, promoting sustainability in construction. Wood has natural insulating properties, and wood frames can accommodate insulation materials within wall cavities facilitating energy-efficient construction.
  • Durability and longevity: These properly designed and maintained structures can be very durable. The use of hardwoods or treated woods and proper protection against moisture and pests can help ensure their longevity.
Timber in construction. Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

What are C16 Timber and C24 Timber and what are their differences?

The terms C16 and C24 refer to the strength of a piece of timber prepared for construction. This applies especially to the UK construction industry where 12 different timber strength ratings can be found within the British Standard in BS5268.

Let’s see the particularities and characteristics of C16 and C24, and what are their differences.

What is C16 Timber?

C16 is a specific grade of structural timber commonly used in construction. So, the designation “C16” refers to the characteristics of strength and quality of the wood.

It is worth mentioning that specific grading standards may vary between countries or regions. It is therefore essential to consult local building codes and standards for accurate information on specific grading standards in a particular area.

The main features of the C16 standard are:

  • Strength: suitable for structural applications where there are moderate strength requirements, such as roof and floor joists and other framing elements.
  • Grading: Grading is done based on mechanical properties and visual appearance, usually by visual inspection, where defects such as knots, splits, and deformation are evaluated.
  • Dimensions: available in several dimensions that vary according to regional standards and local building codes.
  • Moisture content: will based on its intended use. Moisture content has a direct effect on the dimensional stability of the wood.
  • Treatment: may or may not be treated, depending on project requirements.

What is C24 Timber?

C24 is another structural timber grade commonly used in construction. Like C16, the C24 designation refers to the characteristics of strength and quality of the wood.

Some of its key features and specifications are:

  • Strength: C24 offers higher strength properties compared to C16, therefore, it is preferred for use in applications where higher structural strength is required or for the construction of larger or more complex structures.
  • Qualification: it is qualified by visual inspection and according to its mechanical properties. The qualification process ensures that it meets specific strength and quality standards.
  • Dimensions: usually available in several dimensions and sizes, which may vary according to regional standards and building codes.
  • Moisture content: will based on its intended use. For structural purposes, it is generally advisable to use kiln-dried timber.
  • Treatment: may or may not be treated.


What are the differences between C16 and C24?

The following are the main differences between C16 and C24:

  • Quality: Although both C16 and C24 are strong, durable, and widely used throughout the construction industry, C24 generally offers premium quality.
  • Appearance: C16 wood may have some defects that affect the overall appearance. Wood graded C24, on the other hand, has fewer visible defects and a more uniform appearance, being more suitable for projects where it will be visible.
  • Strength: as we saw, C16 and C24 are strong enough to handle the demands of construction applications. However, C24 is stronger, making it the material of choice for larger projects and/or those where this aspect is important.
  • Cost: the cost of C16 is usually cheaper.

What is tanalised timber or treated wood?

Treated or tanalised wood is wood that has undergone a treatment process to improve its durability and resistance to decay, insects, and fungal attack.

The treatment involves impregnating the wood with preservatives using a high-pressure process. These preservatives penetrate deep into the wood fibres, providing long-lasting protection.

The treatment consists of placing the wood inside a vacuum chamber, which removes air and moisture from the wood cells. The preservatives are then forced into the wood under pressure, ensuring deep penetration and effective preservation.

Treated or tanalised wood is ideal for outdoor and ground contact applications. It is more resistant to moisture and exposure to the elements for extended periods without significant decay or deterioration.

Tanalised or treated wood is available in different levels of treatment. According to the expected exposure and intended use, the builder will choose the appropriate level for the project. For example, Class 3 use is suitable for above-ground applications, while Class 4 use is designed, among other things, for freshwater immersion.

When working with tanalised wood, it is important to take safety precautions, using personal protective equipment. It is also important to respect and follow local guidelines and regulations regarding waste disposal.

This wood is commonly used in a variety of outdoor applications, including decks, garden structures, utility poles, agricultural and landscaping projects, and many other outdoor construction projects where durability and decay resistance are important factors.


What is CLS Timber?

CLS lumber or CLS timber refers to a specific type of wood commonly used in construction. CLS stands for Canadian Lumber Standard and is a grading system.

Generally, it refers to softwood lumber that has been engineered and finished to specific dimensions that may vary slightly depending on regional and local standards.

This type of wood is associated with a specific grade, such as C16 or C24. These grades indicate, as we saw earlier, the strength and quality characteristics of the wood.

It is commonly used in construction applications, particularly in the UK and parts of Europe.

It is suitable for mounting roof structures, walls, and other structural elements and components.

It is kiln/oven dried to reduce moisture content and improve dimensional stability. Kiln drying helps minimize the risk of wood deformity, shrinkage, or twisting, ensuring better performance and accuracy in construction applications.

It is a versatile material that can be easily cut and joined, making it suitable for residential and commercial applications.


What is carcassing timber?

When we speak of carcassing timber or structural or framed timber, we refer to timber that is used primarily for structural purposes in construction.

It is generally used as the frame or skeleton of a building, providing support, stability, and load-bearing capacity.

The wood used for this purpose is chosen based on its strength and durability, as it needs to resist the structural loads placed on it.

Generally, softwood species such as pine or spruce, which offer good strength-to-weight ratios, are used.

This wood comes in diverse sizes and dimensions, which may vary according to regional standards and building codes.

It is used in a wide range of structural applications in construction, including wall framing, roof frames, floor joists, beams, and other load-bearing elements.

Depending on the intended conditions of use and exposure, it may be treated with preservatives to improve its resistance to decay, insect infestation, and fungal growth.

This wood provides the essential structural framework upon which the rest of the building is built. Its strength, durability, and versatility make it an all-encompassing component in a variety of construction projects, from residential housing to commercial buildings.

What is PSE Timber?

The term PSE timber (or Planed Square Edge timber) refers to timber that has been flattened on all four sides to create smooth, square edges, resulting in a uniform, consistent size and shape.

It is commonly used in construction, carpentry, and do-it-yourself projects where a clean, finished appearance is desired.

Some of its characteristics are:

  • Square edges: it is characterized by its square edges, which means that all four sides have been flattened to form straight, perpendicular edges. This allows for a precise fit when joining pieces together.
  • Standardized dimensions: generally available in standard dimensions, such as 2×4 (38 mm x 89 mm), 2×6 (38 mm x 140 mm), or other commonly used sizes.
  • Versatility: it is a versatile material that can be used for a variety of applications, including cladding, flooring, furniture making, shelving, and general joinery. Its smooth finish and uniform dimensions make it suitable for both structural and decorative purposes.
  • Treatment and finish: can be left untreated or can be treated with preservatives or finishes, depending on the intended use and the desired level of protection.

It offers a convenient option for builders, carpenters, and do-it-yourself enthusiasts who require ready-to-use lumber with smooth surfaces and square edges. Its consistent dimensions and appearance make it easy to work with and ensure a professional finish on a variety of construction and carpentry projects.

Wood certified. Photo by Radek Grzybowski on Unsplash

Timber certified by FSC

FSC-certified wood refers to wood products that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international non-profit organization that advocates and promotes responsible forest management and stewardship.

This certification provides the following benefits to builders and developers as well as to the community and the environment:

  • Sustainable forest management: FSC-certified wood comes from forests that have been responsibly managed under FSC’s strict standards. These standards cover several aspects of forest management, including biodiversity conservation, protection of indigenous peoples’ rights, community participation, and prohibition of illegal logging.
  • Chain of custody certification: FSC operates a chain of custody certification system that tracks the flow of wood and wood-based products from the forest to the final consumer. This system ensures that controls have been respected at every stage.
  • Environmental benefits: This certification promotes environmentally sound forest management practices. It encourages forest conservation, protection of wildlife habitats, and sustainable harvesting methods that minimize ecological impact. All of this benefits the protection of the long-term health and productivity of the ecosystem.
  • Social and economic benefits: also addresses the economic and social aspects of forest management. It promotes fair labour practices, respect for workers’ rights, and the involvement of local communities in the decision-making process.
  • Labelling and verification: FSC-certified wood products carry the FSC logo or label. This indicates that they have met the organization’s rigorous standards.

For all these reasons, by choosing FSC-certified wood, consumers, companies, and construction professionals contribute to the conservation of forests, biodiversity, and the well-being of local communities.

It ensures that the wood they are using is sourced from sustainably managed and socially responsible forests.

That is why at Hydrodiseño we use FSC-certified wood to manufacture our modular wood bathrooms and kitchens; providing multiple benefits for the client, the community, and the environment, which is one of the reasons why modular construction is a good choice.

Benefits of prefabricated modular wood bathrooms and kitchens

Let’s take a look at some of the many advantages of opting for modular bathrooms and kitchens built in wood:

  • Durability and longevity: one of the most significant benefits of bathrooms and kitchens built in wood is their longevity. This material stands up very well to the wear and tear associated with daily use. With proper maintenance and care, wood fixtures/accessories can last for years.
  • Natural beauty: wood exudes a natural beauty that enhances and improves the aesthetics of any space. It can complement any interior design style.
  • Versatility: provides unmatched versatility in terms of customization and design options. It can be easily shaped, carved, and stained to suit specific preferences. Modular bathrooms and kitchens built in wood offer endless possibilities.
  • Environmental sustainability: choosing wood is an environmentally friendly decision. It is a renewable resource, which makes it an ecological alternative to other materials for modular construction.
  • Insulation and soundproofing: wood is a natural insulator, making it an ideal choice for bathrooms and kitchens where temperature control is crucial. It helps maintain a comfortable indoor environment by keeping warmth in during the colder months and preventing excessive heat from entering during the warmer months. In addition, it offers acoustic insulation qualities, reducing noise levels inside the home.
  • Create a warm and inviting atmosphere: wood is known for having this characteristic. Incorporating wood into your bathroom and/or kitchen can instantly transform these spaces into cozy environments. The natural aesthetic of wood promotes relaxation and peace.

Conclusion: Timber or specially treated lumber is a great choice for your next project.

As you have seen, wood is an ideal material for numerous uses and applications in construction, offering several advantages and benefits.

That’s why our modular bathroom solutions and prefabricated kitchens built in wood provide benefits that go beyond their aesthetic appeal.

From durability and longevity to environmental sustainability and easy maintenance, this material proves to be a versatile and reliable choice.

So, whether you aspire to create a modern or traditional space, consider incorporating wood into your projects to enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

If you have any questions, you can consult with our experts without any obligation. We will be glad to assist you in taking your project to the next level.


Building Materials Nationwide Ltd. (December 7, 2022). What is C16 Timber? Popular Uses and Types Available. Link: https://www.buildingmaterials.co.uk/info-hub/timber-joinery/c16-timber-guide

Carolina Timberworks. (January 27, 2022). What is Timber Framing? Link: https://www.carolinatimberworks.com/what-is-a-timber-frame/

CivilLead.com. (September 8, 2022). Difference Between Wood And Timber | What is Lumber? Link: https://www.civillead.com/difference-between-wood-and-timber-what-is-lumber/

Civiltoday.com. (2019). What is Timber? Definition & Types of Timber & Lumber. Link: https://civiltoday.com/civil-engineering-materials/timber/224-timber-lumber-definition-types

Designing Buildings Ltd. (November 11, 2021). Timber vs wood. Link: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Timber_vs_wood

Elliott Brothers Ltd. (2020). C16 vs C24 Timber. Link: https://elliotts.uk/ideas-and-advice/c16-vs-c24-timber

National Timber Buildings. (June 30, 2022). What is tanalised timber? Your questions answered. Link: https://www.nationalstables.co.uk/blog/what-is-tanalised-timber

Thomas Publishing Company. (2021). What is Timber and What is it Used For? Link: https://www.thomasnet.com/articles/other/what-is-timber/