It’s no secret that we Indians have a never-ending love affair with wood. We love using wood in our homes – be it for furniture, doors, windows, interior wall panelling and such. Entertainment and leisure areas in wood spell taste, warmth and elegance.
However, questions about what kind of wood to use and how to fit it into your budget might leave you feeling lost. With the market being flooded with non-standard wood, there is no reliable method available to correctly understand the product you are purchasing. Thankfully, there are easier options available.
Of late, imported wood from British Columbia (B.C.), Canada is gaining a lot of popularity among builders, architects, contractors and consumers alike. The wood is certified (PEFC/FSC) and comes in standard grades and sizes, guaranteeing consistent quality every single time. It’s beautiful, durable, high quality and above all, environment-friendly.
Canada is the world leader in sustainable forest management and British Columbia (B.C.) in Canada is the largest producer of certified wood. British Columbias’ stringent forest management practices and multiple third party certifications assure customers that the wood they buy is high quality and has been sourced legally and responsibly.
These pointers shall help you understand how to choose the right wood to suit your budget and end-use.
Step 1 – Choose the right wood variety for your purpose
Five most popular Canadian Wood species are now easily available in India. Each species has different characteristics that make it suitable for a set of applications. Let’s take a quick look at these wood species from British Columbia (B.C.), Canada and their recommended end-uses:
- Douglas fir
- Western hemlock
- Yellow cedar
- Western red cedar
- Spruce-pine-fir (SPF)
- Structural applications, doors & windows, furniture
- Solid wooden doors, furniture, panelling
- Luxe doors and door jambs (chaukhats)
- pergolas, gazebos, decks, outdoor furniture and specialty interior applications
- Structural applications, doors and pre-fabricated homes
You can get a complete lowdown on these species and their applications by reading our previous blog post here.
Based on the end-use that you have identified, select the wood type accordingly.
Step 2 – Budgeting with Canadian wood
Canadian wood comes in standardized grades and sizes that are based on criteria laid down by the National lumber grades authority (www.nlga.org). Understanding lumber grades is no mean feat and can make anyone feel bewildered. To know which quality or grade of lumber to choose, let’s understand some key aspects first. Grading is done based on how and where the wood will be used. This leads to two main categories- appearance and structural. Appearance grades mainly pertain to clear, knot-free lumber but natural knotty wood is also seen by some consumers as appealing. Structural grade on the other hand is not considered for its appearance, but simply for its performance in load bearing applications. Appearance and structural are however not mutually exclusive. For example, you may wish to use a ‘structural’ post or rafter on your pergola giving a more rustic, knotty look. Suffice to say that clear wood can also be ‘structural’ grade but clearer the wood, higher the grade and price. You can read more about lumber grades and sizes here.
If your budget permits the use of top clear grade wood, you can move right ahead. However, if you are working on a smaller budget, based on the end-use you can economize on the wood using the following tips:
1. Identify how important clear wood is to you –Structural lumber is graded for its strength rather than appearance. Knots add their own special character to a piece of wood. Knotty wood looks great in certain applications and settings. Choosing more knots over clear wood helps reduce the cost of wood.
Knotty SPF 4 feet length were finger jointed to achieve extra strength and stability in this 16 feet long table
2. Smart saving with shop lumber – Our wood experts can help you choose a grade of wood that can be joined to achieve a clear surface. Shop lumber contains knots at different intervals within a piece, allowing carpenters or manufacturers to remove the knots and get short, clear pieces. Joining the short clear pieces can achieve a clear, knot-free look at a fraction of the cost of clear lumber.
Finger joint SPF lumber
3. Keep in mind the finish -If you plan to paint the wood or use a premium finish like distressed wood, structural lumber grades that are high on knots will suit your purpose just fine and help you keep costs under control.
Other non-price factors to consider
Apart from considering the budget, it is important to note that wood provides long term, valuable advantages like:
a) Wood is durable -Anything that you build and take good care of will last you decades (continue to watch this space – we have an exclusive blog coming up for maintenance of wood furniture).
b) Wood helps reduce energy costs -Wood is a natural insulator, which means you will be spending less energy for heating/cooling your space.
c) Wood can be easily repaired or changed -As compared to other materials, it is fairly simple to make any kind of renovation or repair to a wooden structure or piece.
d) Wood is a natural air purifier and humidity regulator.
e) Wood brings a sense of calm and wellbeing to a space.
In case you need more help, explore our resources for décor ideas, inspirational projects and a wealth of information to help you get started.
FII India, funded by the government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada represents Canadian wood in India for all its five species viz. Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF). FII works closely with architects, manufacturers, importers and real estate developers to provide technical and procurement assistance for their requirements free of any cost.