What is the difference between timber, lumber and wood?
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What is the difference between timber, lumber and wood?

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The world of wood is an exciting but daunting one, with questions and queries around every corner.

Lumber vs timber vs wood: What’s the difference?

The answer? The distinctions between lumber, timber and wood largely depend on where you are in the world.

In the UK, New Zealand and Australia, timber refers to sawn wood as well as processed wood products used for purposes such as home construction, cladding, decking and furniture making. It’s available in a range of softwoods and hardwood species, each with their own aesthetic and technical properties. The word timber is also commonly used to describe timber-frame construction — the use of wooden beams and posts to create buildings.

Lumber is used to describe felled trees. It’s something much more crude than timber; usually, lumber will still have its bark. An easy way to understand the broad difference between timber and lumber is that lumber is less processed than timber.

Wood, on the other hand, is used to describe the fibrous substance that makes up a tree; the very thing that supports it when it’s in the ground, allowing growth and stability. Wood is easily understood as the structure that makes up a tree. Also, people often use the word wood loosely to refer to both lumber and timber; or even more generally to refer to things like ‘wood flooring’, ‘wood cladding’.


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