If you're looking for timber supplies for a home project, either to construct an outdoor deck from scratch or to add a retainer wall outside, you'll need to ensure you get the right type of timber for the job. Wood pieces may look alike to you, but they can vary in quality and durability, as well as price, and they will come from many different sources. Note a few differences in various types of timber supplies you might purchase for any home project so you know what to look for and which might work for your project.
1. Railway sleepers
Railway sleepers are the wooden pieces that go between railroad tracks, to keep them in place. When old tracks are removed, these sleepers are often reclaimed to be reused. They are very durable for retainer walls outside, as they've already been weathered and shouldn't expand or shrink any more than they already have. They're also thick and made from dense wood, in order to be strong enough to hold railroad tracks together. However, because they're so weathered, they may be a bit warped and curved, so they're not good for framing or flooring or for any type of outdoor deck.
2. Sustainable wood
This type of wood comes from a forest that is especially grown for its use; some forests will be set aside for trees that are harvested to make paper, and others will be harvested for furniture, flooring, and even firewood. Sustainable wood is then an eco-friendly choice, and may also mean safer wood that has been grown under controlled conditions. For example, sustainable firewood may emit fewer pollutants when burned as it may be grown without added chemicals and artificial fertilizers and feed. Many forms of sustainable wood will also have colouring added to them as they grow, so you don't need to worry about painting or staining them and the fumes and pollutants that are released with these coatings.
3. Engineered wood
Engineered wood refers to wood pieces or parts that are glued together; this may include several layers of wood that are glued together, or it may include a combination of wood and plastic that is mixed together to strengthen the wood and increase its waterproof qualities. Engineered wood is good for outdoor decking as it's often stronger than natural wood, but note that you may need special, strong saw blades to cut through it without causing damage or cracking to the ends of the pieces and damage to your saw blades as well.