Timber and Wood Types for Projects

There are many timber and wood varieties to choose from when undertaking a project. Some of the more common types are listed below:

Decorative wood veneers

Decorative wood veneers are used to highlight the natural beauty of timber. Produced by either slicing or peeling a much larger piece of timber log into veneers or thin slices, the finish gives the illusion that it is one solid piece of wood, as per the species of the face veneer.

Laminated Veneer Lumber

Laminated Veneer Lumber, abbreviated as LVL, is a high-strength engineered wood product used mainly for structural applications. It is manufactured by bonding together rotary peeled or sliced thin wood veneers under heat and pressure and is comparable in strength to solid timber, concrete, and steel. Laminated Veneer Lumber is used for permanent structural applications including beams, lintels, purlins, truss chords and formwork, and can be used wherever sawn timber is used. The main advantage is that it can be manufactured to almost any length.


Glued laminated timber, also known as Glulam, is an engineered wood product that is manufactured by gluing together pieces of timber laminates. The process produces larger sizes and longer lengths. These can be curved or straight. Glued laminated timber is stronger than solid timber due to the fewer natural defects and wider distribution and, while being much lighter, is also comparable to steel in strength.


I-Beams are long-span, high-strength structural beams of timber that are used for both commercial and residential applications. I-Beam is made from a combination of timber products and offers exceptional straightness, uniform depth and dimensional stability. However I-Beams are not suitable for weather-exposed applications, although short term exposure is considered acceptable during construction.


Medium Density Fibreboard or MDF, is a popular reconstituted wood panel product. Manufactured from wood fibres, it is a dry-processed fibreboard and is denser than plywood and particleboard. MDF has an even density throughout and is smooth on both sides and is reconstituted into wood sheets in a variety of widths and lengths. MDF is used mainly for internal applications, as it has poor moisture resistance. Medium Density Fibreboard is available with decorative overlay such as wood veneer, melamine paper or vinyl, and in raw form with a fine sanded surface.

Oriented Strand Board

Oriented Strand Board, known as OSB, is a structural panel product produced by bonding together thin wood strands with adhesive. Having similar properties to plywood, it is generally more cost-effective to produce and stronger than particleboard. Oriented Strand Board can be used for both internal and external applications.


Particleboard, as the name suggests, is a reconstituted wood panel product manufactured from wood particles. It can also be manufactured using wood flakes or strands. Particleboard is used for different internal applications including furniture, cupboards, and veneer substrates.


Plywood is an assemblage of wood veneers bonded together to produce a flat sheet. The typical product consists of at least 3 plies, with the grain in the alternate plies running at right angles, though it can be tailored to suit an extensive range of applications.


Roundwood is any timber product supplied in log form; such as poles, piles, girders and posts. Mainly used for structural applications, Roundwood’s main benefit is that it requires very little processing and retains its density and strength, unlike sawn timber. Roundwood is both practical and simple to use with the only processing likely to be preservative treatment and removal of any possible sapwood.

Sawn timber

Sawn timber is timber that is cut from logs into different shapes and sizes, mainly into varying rectangular widths and lengths, but may also may be wedge shaped. Sawn timber products include solid timber beams and rectangular timber sections. Sawn timber will either be available as unseasoned or seasoned with seasoned timber having a reduced weight, improved strength and a cross sectional dimension that remains almost constant. It is more stable than unseasoned timber and is much less prone to warping and splitting.

Cross Laminated Timber

Cross Laminated Timber also known as CLT, is a type of engineered wood. Glued together are layers of timber, known as lamellas, with the grain alternating at 90 degree angles on each layer. The exterior layers’ grains give optimum strength by running lengthways. This product is not currently manufactured or available in Australia and at present it is only available from select European and Canadian producers.