Is Redwood a Hardwood or Softwood?

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Most woodworkers prefer using redwood over other wood species in building outdoor wood projects. But is redwood hardwood or just substantial softwood? How can you rely on its durability and settle with it? 

With our wood experts, let’s comprehensively compare why you should opt for redwood and what you will gain from using it. Keep reading to know more!

The Hardness of Redwood + Is it a Hardwood or Softwood?

Redwood has a Janka hardness of 450 lbf (2,000 N), making it an excellent choice for exterior and interior beams and wood supports.  

Although it has a lower hardness than other woods, it is durable and highly resistant to softwood. Redwood is considered a softwood, but it is stronger than white cedar, pine, and aspen. 

To give you a comparison of its strength as a softwood, we listed it here along with other wood types’ hardness values. 

Type of Wood Janka Hardness Value
American Beech 1,300 lbf (5,800 N)
Ash (White) 1,320 lbf (5,900 N)
Aspen 350 lbf (1,557 N)
Basswood 410 lbf (1,823 N)
Black Cherry, Imbuia 950 lbf (4,200 N)
Black Walnut, North American Walnut 1,010 lbf (4,500 N)
Black Spruce 520 lbf (2,313 N)
Brazilian Cherry, Jatoba 2,350 lbf (10,500 N)
Brazilian Walnut 3,684 lbf (16,390 N)
Cherry 995 lbf (4,430 N)
Cypress 510 lbf (2,269 N)
Douglas Fir 710 lbf (3,158 N)
Engelmann Spruce 390 lbf (1,735 N)
Golden Teak 2,330 lbf (10,400 N)
Hard Maple, Sugar Maple 1,450 lbf (6,400 N)
Hemlock 540 lbf (2,402 N)
Hickory, Pecan, Satinwood 1,820 lbf (8,100 N)
Red Mahogany, Turpentine 2,697 lbf (12,000 N)
Red Maple 950 lbf (4,200 N)
Red Oak (Northern) 1,290 lbf (5,700 N)
Redwood 420 lbf (1,868 N)
Silver Maple 700 lbf (3,100 N)
Sugar Pine 380 lbf (1,690 N)
Teak 1,155 lbf (5,140 N)
White Cedar 320 lbf (1,423 N)
White Oak 1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
White Pine 1,360 lbf (6,000 N)
Yellow Birch / Baltic birch 1,360 lbf (6,000 N)

Characteristics of Redwood

From its hardness, the following are the unique characteristics of redwood:

milling Redwood
ColorLight brown to reddish brown
Density21.48 lbs/ft3
Hardness450 lbf (2,000 N)
Stiffness1.11 Mpsi
Wood typeSoftwood
ApplicationsDecks, furniture, plywood, musical instruments, posts

Pros and Cons of Redwood



Where to Use Redwood

Using redwood is a huge plus when it comes to woodworking. Its lightweight and durability make it ideal for the following wood projects. 

Redwood grain pattern


As a premium wood, redwood can be used as plywood, a strong and durable veneer sheet but less expensive than solid redwood.

Outdoor use (Posts and Decks)

Our woodworkers prefer using redwood in making posts and decks because of its stability and straight wood grain. It can also withstand extreme weather conditions and direct exposure to sunlight and rain. 

Moreover, it is highly resistant to termites and insects without chemical treatment [1].

Wood carving and trim

Who would say no to redwood carvings and trim? This wood is ideal for this use because it needs almost no maintenance.

Musical instruments

Making pianos, guitars, and other musical instruments need a lightweight wood material that’s also durable. So, redwood is a good choice for this wood project adding its great tonewood.

violin made of Redwood


Redwood is ideal for structural beams because it doesn’t shrink or warp like other softwoods. You can have it as porch enclosures, interior support columns, and open beam ceilings.

Redwood’s Strength

Redwood is not hardwood, so this wood needs proper and high maintenance. As mentioned earlier, redwood is a durable softwood but cannot be considered a hardwood. 

So, we recommend using redwood as a regular wood material for less stressful construction because its compressive strength is 5,220 Psi with 7,900 psi bending strength.

Without proper finishing and maintenance, redwood will start to crack and split. Although it does not shrink, redwood cannot take the stress from environmental elements.

Is Redwood Ideal for Flooring?

A certain type of redwood, Brazilian redwood known as Massaranduba, can be used as decking or flooring. It is known to be a tough hardwood, although it belongs to the redwood wood species. 

sandblasting Redwood deck

This redwood specie is exceptionally durable and has a longer lifespan, making it reliable for decking and flooring materials in North America and Europe. Redwood as a deck or flooring offers a warm tone lasting over a decade.

Pros and Cons of Redwood Floors



Despite the disadvantage of using redwood as decks or floorings, our experts have proven that redwood as decks and floorings can last for almost 30 years with proper wood finishing. 

So our woodworkers suggested that you never disregard periodic maintenance, sealing, and refinishing of your redwood decks and floorings. Skipping these will reduce the lifespan of your redwood.

Redwood vs Pine: Which Wood is Harder?

Now, if you choose which wood is harder, redwood and pine, here is our comparison. 

Pine lumber

When it comes to hardness, redwood is considered harder than Sugar and White pine, but redwood is softer than Yellow and Ponderosa pine. 

Below is the Janka hardness comparison of redwood and pine wood, and we have also included the bending strength of each wood type.

Type of WoodJanka Hardness
Sugar Pine380 lbf
White Pine380 lbf
Redwood420 lbf
Ponderosa460 lbf
Yellow Pine870 lbf

Redwood vs Cedar Wood: Which is Harder?

When it comes to cedar and redwood, the latter is 23% stronger than cedar. Redwood is denser and harder than White and Red cedar. 

Here is our Janka hardness comparison with bending strength.

Cedar wood grain pattern
Type of Wood Janka Hardness
White Cedar 320 lbf
Western Red Cedar 350 lbf
Redwood 420 lbf
Eastern or Aromatic Red Cedar 900 lbf

Is Redwood or Oak Harder?

quarter sawn Red Oak

Oak is a hardwood, while redwood is a softwood. Therefore, oak is harder than redwood, and with many qualities of oak, it can offer higher durability, strength, and versatility than redwood.

Here is the comparison of oak and redwood’s Janka hardness and bending strength.

Type of Wood Janka Hardness
White Oak 1,360 lbf
Red Oak 1, 290 lbf
Redwood 420 lbf


Is Redwood Prone to Dents?

Redwood is softwood with higher Janka hardness, but still, it is prone to dents and scratches, as mentioned earlier. Therefore, we strongly recommend redwood should have periodic maintenance.

Related Topics


Using the comprehensive information we have here, you can now decide if redwood is suitable for your furniture, tables, chairs, and other wood accessories at your home. 

Regardless if redwood is hardwood or softwood, the key to extending its lifespan is proper finishing and periodic wood maintenance regardless of the hardness of the wood.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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