Is Wood Porous or Non Porous? Common Questions About Wood are Answered

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Wood is a natural material that has been used for centuries to make everything from buildings, furniture, and even musical instruments. With so many uses, it is no wonder that wood comes with a lot of questions. Is wood porous? Is wood a non porous surface? What is the most porous wood? Is wood veneer porous? These are just some of the most common questions about this versatile material. This article will answer these and other commonly asked questions about porous wood and non porous wood and discuss different wood types.

Is Wood Porous or Non Porous?

We cannot answer this question with yes or no, because wood can be porous and non porous. Tons of wood exists in our world. Some of them are porous, and some of them are non porous. In maximum cases, hardwoods are porous wood, and softwoods are non porous wood. If you want to know why then keep reading this whole article.

What is Porous Surface?

porous vs non porous wood

A porous surface is a material that has tiny holes(pores) in it. These pores let the fluid pass through them and absorb them. Like in our case, it is wood. Wood has pores in it that absorb the fluid and let them pass through these tiny holes. Wood, rock, and stone are materials that have porous surfaces that you can see with your naked eyes.

What is Non Porous Surface?

Non porous surfaces are the ones that don’t have pores. They can be polished or sanded to attain a non-porous surface. These materials will not absorb anything and let them pass through it only, like glass water, for example. Some non porous surfaces are glass, metal, wood, etc.

Is Wood a Porous or Non Porous Surface?

We can’t simply give this answer with yes or no. Some Wood surface contains pores where others don’t. Some woods have pores in them, and there is no need for polishing or sanding to remove the pore surface. Some examples of this kind of wood are maple, oak, mahogany, etc. On the other hand, you can also find non porous wood that doesn’t contain any pores, so you don’t need to polish or sand them. Some examples of non porous wood are cedar, pine, and spruce, etc.

Is Wood a Porous or Non Porous material?

Wood is a natural material that changes its form as it gets old. It can be porous and non-porous depending on the excellent quality of wood you are using.

Types of Porous Wood

ring porous vs diffuse porous

There are two types of porous wood. Ring porous and diffuse-porous. In ring-porous wood, the pores are small and scattered throughout it. These types of woods have a lot of strength as well as good durability against water.
In diffuse-porous, on the other hand, these pores are large and less dense in structure. So they absorb more water than ring-porous wood, which causes them to warp easily. They are also less resistant to water than ring-porous wood because of their larger pores, which tend to absorb more liquids and expand quickly when exposed.

What is the Most Porous Wood?

The most porous wood is the diffuse-porous one. It is the least dense wood among all. An example of diffuse-porous timber is Cedar.

Is Plywood a Porous Surface?

Yes, plywood is porous too because it consists of many layers which are glued together to make the final product. These layers contain pores where they can let fluids go through them and penetrate each layer individually. You will find this type of wood in most of the furniture that you use.
Is Lumber Porous?
Lumber is also a porous surface as it contains pores and these pores let liquids pass through them easily. That’s why lumber absorbs water quickly and swells up fast when exposed to water or any other liquid for long periods, making your house vulnerable to damages.

Know More: Plywood Materials Explained

Is Painted Wood Porous?

Painted wood is not a porous surface as it doesn’t contain pores. The paint on the wood will let liquids go through it, but they are trapped underneath them, so no harm can be caused to any of your wooden items if you use painted woods for furniture or decoration purposes.

Is Rough Cut Wood More Porous?

Rough-cut wood is not more porous than smooth-cut one. But it’s a common misconception that rough-cut wood is more porous than smooth cut. The pores or the holes in both of these woods are not visible to our naked eyes, but they exist nonetheless. Rough-cut wood has just been sanded and smoothened, so there will be no big gaps between them where water can pass through, which means they absorb less water.

Is Untreated Wood Porous?

Yes, untreated wood is porous, too, as both of them contain pores. But the difference between treated and untreated woods is that you will find small spaces or gaps in untreated wood that actually help them absorb more water than they should. These gaps can let liquids penetrate easily through each layer until it gets soaked up completely by the entire piece of lumber. So you need to treat these woods first before using them for any purpose.

Is Treated Wood Porous?

Treated woods are not porous because they have been treated with chemicals that seal the gaps in between each layer of wood so no liquid can penetrate through them. They may look smooth, but they aren’t completely sealed yet, just enough to let liquids go through without causing any damage or harm to their structure.

Is Bamboo Wood Porous?

As bamboo wood is a type of grass, it contains pores just like any other plant. These pores are not visible to the naked eye, but they exist between each layer or strand of this material, making them absorb water without letting their structure gets damaged.

Is Wood Laminate Porous?

Wood laminate is not a porous surface because it doesn’t have any pores or gaps. You will find many layers in wood laminates that are filled with glue and pressed together to make the final product, making them waterproof too.

Is Poplar Wood Porous?

Yes, poplar wood is porous because it contains pores all over its surface, allowing liquids to pass through them. Poplar wood is a type of ring-porous wood which means those pores are very big and allow liquids to pass through them easily.

Is Mahogany Wood Porous?

Yes, mahogany is also porous as it contains tiny gaps between each layer. These gaps make mahogany a ring-porous wood too.

Is Pine Wood Porous?

Yes, pinewood is porous, too, as it contains tiny pores in between each layer. These pores are not visible to the human eye, but they exist and let liquids pass through them easily.

Is Basswood Wood Porous?

Basswood also has similar features to other types of ring-porous woods because it consists of many layers which are separated by these pores. But the difference is that basswood doesn’t have very big gaps between each layer, making it less porous than other types of wood with bigger pore spaces, but still a bit more porous than any other type of ring-porous wood out there available in the market today.

Is Teak Wood Porous?

Yes, teak wood is a bit more porous than other types of ring-porous woods because it has tiny pores all over its surface. But these pores are not very big and let liquids go through them without damaging or harming the structure.

Is Cherry Wood Porous?

Cherry wood isn’t as porous as basswood, but it is still more porous than some other types of non-porous surfaces such as glass. But these pores are not big and let liquids go through them easily without causing any damage or harm to the structure.

Is Brazilian Cherry Wood Porous?

Yes, Brazilian cherry wood has many layers separated by tiny pores, making it a bit more porous than other types of hardwood floors.

Is Maple Wood Porous?

Maple Is a diffuse-porous wood which means it contains small, evenly distributed pores. These pores are not visible to the naked eye, but they exist in maple wood. You will find small, evenly distributed holes between each layer of this material, making them a diffuse-porous type of wood.

Is Birch Wood Porous?

Birch is a ring-porous kind of wood as it contains bigger gaps or pores between its layers. These pores are not visible to the naked eye, but they exist in Birchwood, making them more absorbent than other nonporous surfaces.

How Porous is Hevea Wood?

Hevea wood is a type of ring-porous wood with bigger pores or gaps between each layer. These spaces make hevea more absorbent than other types of non porous materials such as glass and plastic, but not as much as birch because wenge is another kind of ring-porous material with even bigger pores.

List of Some Woods With Wood Types

Wood NameWood Type
IpeRing Porous
SassafrasRing Porous
OakDiffuse Porous
Red MapleDiffuse Porous
WedgeRing Porous
AshRing Porous
ZebraRing Porous
ChestnutRing Porous
WalnutDiffuse Porous
PearwoodRing Porous
WengeRing Porous

Is ash wood more porous than walnut?

Walnut is a diffuse-porous type of wood which means it doesn’t have evenly distributed gaps or pores between each layer, while Ash has ring-porous gaps or pores. This means ash is more porous than walnut wood because it has bigger spaces between each layer while diffuse-porous materials do not have any.

Is there a wood as porous as terracotta?

Terracotta is a porous material which means it contains bigger and visible pores. This makes other types of non-porous materials like glass and plastic less porous than terracotta and other types of porous materials like walnut, ash, sassafras wood which are all ring-porous materials.

Is wood more porous with 80 or 220 grit?

It depends on the type of wood and sanding grit you are using. Some types of wood like sassafras can be more porous with 80 grits, while other types of wood like ash can be more porous with 220. The type of material and sanding technique you are using affect how much the wood is porous.

Is wood from Brazil more porous than American wood?

Brazilian wood comes from South America, while American wood is grown in North America. Brazilian trees have bigger pores or gaps between each layer, making the wood more absorbent than American wood.


Hopefully, this article answered some of the common questions about wood. If you have any other questions about wood, feel free to leave a comment below.

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