Is Redwood a Hardwood Or Softwood? (Ultimate Guide!)

Ever marveled at the robust beauty of redwood? Ever questioned, “Is Redwood a hardwood?” Dive in, let’s debunk this common misconception together!

is redwood a hardwood

Redwood is a premium wood that is popularized because of its weather resistance and beauty.

It is generally used for fences, panels, furniture, and many other indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.

When I was a beginner, I was curious about the hardness of Redwood especially when it’s come to heavy-duty projects.

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    So, I did some research with the help of experts.

    Now with years of experience, here’s what I know about, Is Redwood a hardwood?

    No, redwood is not a hardwood. It is classified as a softwood because it comes from the Sequoia tree, a coniferous species. Despite its classification, redwood is remarkably durable and resistant to warping, making it ideal for many construction projects.

    But that’s just a quick snapshot and there’s a lot more to know about Redwood than just that!

    In this article, I’ll explore whether is Redwood a hardwood and how hard is Redwood by taking its characteristic qualities with pros and cons.

    Also, I’ll talk about how strong Redwood is with its uses.

    Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.

    So, let’s jump in!

    redwood furniture
    redwood furniture

    First of all, let’s get a brief knowledge about redwood.

    What is Redwood Wood?

    Redwood is an exquisite type of lumber that is highly prized for its unique characteristics.

    Originating from the towering redwood trees, predominantly found along the North Coast of California and Southern Oregon, this type of wood is renowned for its vibrant red color.

    This striking hue is not merely an aesthetic attribute, but a testament to the natural tannins that equip the wood with resistance against insects and decay.

    Redwood’s Resilient Properties

    One of the defining features of redwood is its strength and resilience.

    Despite being classified as a softwood – a term referring to its botanical grouping rather than physical hardness – redwood possesses formidable resistance against warping and splitting.

    This structural robustness is combined with an unexpected lightness, making it easy to manipulate with standard woodworking tools.

    Furthermore, redwood’s naturally occurring tannins lend it an impressive durability, making it perfect for outdoor use.

    These tannins not only grant the wood its characteristic red color but also offer resistance against pests, decay, and even fire.

    Yes, you read that right, redwood has a natural resistance to fire!

    Now let’s head back to our key area which is the hardness factor of redwood.

    redwoods are the tallest tree on earth
    redwoods are the tallest tree on earth

    How Hard Is Redwood?

    Redwood is a very soft wood compared to many hardwoods and most softwoods as well.

    It comes from a gymnosperm tree like other softwoods that have needles and cones.

    There’re no visible pores structures in Redwood because of tracheids

    The hardness of Redwood is tested by a standard method called the Janka hardness test.

    Janka hardness test is calculated by considering the resistance against wear and dent of a particular wood. if any wood has high resistance against dent and wear, that means its Janka hardness rating is high.

    According to the Janka hardness test values, Redwood has a hardness rating of 420 lbf (1,868 N) which is significantly less than most hardwoods and softwoods.

    Even though Redwood is considered a softwood, it is harder than some angiosperm woods like Aspen and Basswood.

    Plus, Redwood has excellent against warping and splitting. Therefore, the durability of Redwood is high.

    Usually, we don’t see much of using softwood for outdoor woodworking projects.

    But because of having good weather resistance and decay resistance, Redwood is commonly used for exterior use.

    The less hardness and density make the wood easy to work with.

    musical instruments made out of Redwood
    musical instruments made out of Redwood

    So, let’s have a look at the hardness of Redwood compared to other wood types.

    Hardness Of Redwood Compared To Other Woods

    As we all know the Janka hardness rating of Redwood is 420 lbf (1,868 N) and let’s see how harder or softer Redwood is compared to other popular wood types.

    Wood SpeciesHardness value
    Brazilian Walnut3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
    Red Mahogany, Turpentine2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
    Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
    Golden Teak2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
    Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
    Hard Maple, Sugar Maple1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
    White Oak1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
    Ash (White)1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
    American Beech1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
    Red Oak (Northern)1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
    Yellow Birch / Baltic birch1,260 lbf (5,600 N)
    Teak1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
    Black Walnut, North American Walnut1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
    Cherry995 lbf (4,430 N)
    Black Cherry, Imbuia950 lbf (4,200 N)
    Red Maple950 lbf (4,200 N)
    Douglas Fir710 lbf (3,158 N)
    Silver Maple700 lbf (3,100 N)
    Hemlock540 lbf (2,402 N)
    Black Spruce520 lbf (2,313 N)
    Cypress510 lbf (2,269 N)
    Redwood420 lbf (1,868 N)
    Basswood410 lbf (1,823 N)
    Engelmann Spruce390 lbf (1,735 N)
    Sugar Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
    White Pine380 lbf (1,690 N)
    Aspen350 lbf (1,557 N)
    White Cedar320 lbf (1,423 N)

    As you can see the hardness of Redwood is significantly less than many other wood types that we use in our day-to-day lives.

    But Redwood is harder than White Pine, Aspen, and White Cedar.

    The specialty of Redwood is, that it is a type of softwood that we can use for both interior and exterior purposes without any hesitations due to its natural resistance to the environmental elements.

    unique properties of redwood
    unique properties of redwood

    Redwood Characteristics

    Redwood is a softwood that has a color range of light pinkish-brown to deep reddish-brown. It is a beautiful wood that adds a unique appearance to your house.

    Usually, Redwood has a straight grain structure, but some have irregular or wavy grain patterns. Because of having a straight grain, Redwood has some excellent wood finishing properties.

    Staining and painting Redwood is easy.

    Redwood is considered one of the strongest softwood types in the world despite being extremely soft.

    It has good resistance against warping and splitting.

    The workability of Redwood is high. Therefore, working with Redwood is easy even for a beginner in woodworking.

    Cutting, drilling, sawing, and carving Redwood is easy with normal woodworking tools.

    If you’re a beginner and looking for wood to make outdoor woodwork, Redwood is highly recommended due to its excellent user-friendliness.

    Plus, Redwood has natural tannins that repel bugs and insects to make the wood protected. Therefore, Redwood furniture or woodworks has good resistance against insect attacks, rotting and decaying.

    Redwood is resistant to fire. Therefore, it can be kept in any area without any hesitation.

    It’s a clean, sustainable, versatile, and recyclable wood with some exceptional qualities compared to other softwood types.

    Here’re the most significant qualities of Redwood,

    • Softwood
    • High workability
    • High resistance against insect attacks
    • Weather resistance
    • Decay and rot-resistant
    • Less density
    • Distinct odor
    • Straight grain pattern
    how redwood resist to decay
    how redwood resist to decay

    Properties Of Redwood

    Here are the main characteristic features of Redwood,

    Density0.35 kg/m3
    Hardness420 lbf (1,868 N)
    Stiffness1.10 Mpsi
    Wood TypeNorth American Softwood
    ApplicationsPosts, Decks, Musical instruments, Boxes, Furniture
    patio furniture made with Redwood
    patio furniture made with Redwood

    So, let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages of Redwood in terms of its hardness.

    Pros and Cons of Redwood

    SoftwoodNeed high maintenance
    LightweightProne to dents and scratches
    Repel insects and bugsExpensive
    Decay resistant 
    High durability 
    High workability 

    As you can see Redwood is a wood that is filled with lots of advantages.

    Most of the disadvantages of Redwood can be skipped with proper maintenance and good finishing techniques.

    redwood decking
    redwood decking

    So, let’s have a look at the applications of Redwood because of being a softwood.

    What Is Redwood Used For?

    Redwood can be used pretty much for any indoor and outdoor woodworking project because of its excellent workability and natural weather resistance.

    Here’re some applications of Redwood,

    • Posts
    • Benches
    • Decking
    • Flooring
    • Patio Furniture
    • Gates
    • Pergolas
    • Paneling
    pros and cons of Redwood
    pros and cons of Redwood

    How Strong Is Redwood?

    Redwood is a fairly weak wood compared to most hardwoods and softwoods. Because of having poor strength, Redwood furniture and woodworks need high maintenance and proper finishing.

    Otherwise, wood tends to crack and is prone due to environmental elements.

    The compressive strength and bending strength of Redwood are as follows,

    • The compressive strength of Redwood is 5,220 psi
    • The bending strength of Redwood is 7,900 psi

    As you can see the strengths of Redwood are significantly weak. Therefore, Redwood cannot be used for applications that work against high stress.

    It can only use for regular woodworking applications.

    redwood pathways
    redwood pathways

    Is Redwood Good For Flooring?

    When it comes to deciding on the best type of wood for flooring, one cannot simply overlook the remarkable properties of redwood.

    As we delve into its suitability for flooring, let’s examine redwood’s characteristics that make it a formidable candidate for this particular use.

    Strength and Durability

    Redwood is one of nature’s most robust materials, well-known for its ability to resist warping and splitting.

    Its high resilience makes it an ideal candidate for areas with heavy foot traffic.

    As an added bonus, redwood’s natural resistance to insects and decay is a crucial advantage when it comes to flooring applications.

    Aesthetically Pleasing

    The rich, warm red color of redwood flooring can bring a touch of elegance and charm to any room.

    The unique hue of redwood flooring enhances the aesthetics of any space, adding value and style to your home.

    Plus, the vibrant color isn’t just for show; it’s a testament to the tannins present in redwood, offering natural resistance to pests and decay.

    Easy to Work With

    Redwood is relatively lightweight and can be easily cut, sawed, and drilled with regular woodworking tools.

    This makes the installation process relatively straightforward and less labor-intensive compared to harder woods.

    Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a professional installer, working with redwood can be a delight.

    Suitable for Outdoor Use

    Owing to its natural resistance to elements, redwood is an excellent choice for outdoor flooring options like decks.

    Unlike some other wood types, it stays comfortable for bare feet even on the hottest, sunniest days, making it a popular choice for poolside decks or patio floors.

    Environmentally Friendly

    Redwood is a sustainable, renewable, and recyclable material, which is a clear winner for those who are eco-conscious.

    The production process of redwood is much cleaner compared to many of its engineered counterparts.

    Affordable Option

    While not the cheapest option, redwood offers great value for money.

    Its robustness, aesthetic appeal, and versatility make it a worthy investment for your flooring needs.

    That’s it, folks! Now you have a clear idea about, Is Redwood a hardwood with its pros and cons.

    So, let’s compare the hardness of redwood with the woods that we use most.

    why Redwood has natural resistant to water and moisture
    why Redwood has natural resistant to water and moisture

    Is Redwood Harder Than Pine?

    Redwood is harder than sugar Pine and Yellow Pine, but softer than yellow Pine. Both Pine and Redwood belong to the softwood family.

    But when it comes to the woodworking world, Redwood is a more versatile wood than Pine because of its excellent qualities that are applicable in both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects.

    According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Redwood and Pine is as follows,

    Wood TypeHardness
    Redwood420 lbf
    White Pine380 lbf
    Sugar Pine380 lbf
    Yellow Pine870 lbf

    Is Redwood Harder Than Cedar?

    Redwood is harder than Cedar. Even though Redwood is significantly softer than most of the other woods, it is harder and denser than both western red Cedar and white Cedar.

    According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Redwood and Cedar is as follows,

    Wood TypeHardness
    Redwood420 lbf
    Western Red Cedar350 lbf
    White Cedar320 lbf

    Therefore, Redwood can be considered one of the best alternatives for Cedar in terms of its hardness and toughness.

    Is Redwood Harder Than Oak?

    Redwood is softer than Oak. Oak is significantly harder and denser than Redwood. Oak comes from hardwood trees with lots of exceptional qualities such as high durability, high strength, and high versatility than Redwood.

    According to the Janka hardness ratings, the hardness of Redwood and Oak is as follows,

    Wood TypeHardness
    Redwood420 lbf
    Red Oak1,290 lbf
    White Oak1,360 lbf

    As you can see the hardness of both Red Oak and White Oak are so bigger than the hardness of Redwood.

    quick tips of staining Redwood
    quick tips of staining Redwood

    So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.


    Does redwood’s classification as a softwood affect its durability?

    Despite being classified as a softwood, redwood is highly durable and resistant to warping and splitting. Its durability makes it a preferred choice for various outdoor and indoor construction projects.

    Is redwood good for furniture-making?

    Absolutely, redwood is an excellent choice for furniture, particularly outdoor furniture. Its natural durability, resistance to insects, and appealing aesthetics make it a favorite among furniture makers.

    Can redwood be used for flooring?

    Yes, redwood can be a good choice for flooring due to its strength, aesthetic appeal, and ease of installation. It is also comfortable underfoot, even on hot sunny days, making it a popular option for decking.

    How does redwood compare to other woods in terms of cost?

    While redwood isn’t the cheapest option, it offers a reasonable price compared to its pricier counterparts, considering the benefits it brings such as durability, resistance to pests and decay, and aesthetic appeal.

    Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Is Redwood A Hardwood?

    In this article, I have deeply explored, is Redwood a hardwood, and how hard Redwood is by taking its characteristic qualities with pros and cons.

    Redwood is not a hardwood. Redwood is a softwood with a hardness rating of 420 lbf (1,868 N) which is relatively lower than most softwoods. Redwood comes from a deciduous coniferous tree like other softwoods that doesn’t lose leaves in fall.

    If you’re a beginner in woodworking and looking for a softwood to practice with for both indoor and outdoor woodworking projects, Redwood is the best wood you should go with.

    Furthermore, I have discussed the strength of Redwood and answered some frequently asked questions as well.

    Hope you have gained good knowledge about Redwood a hardwood with its uses.

    So, let’s try to focus on your next woodworking project with Redwood. Keep practicing!

    Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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