Why You Should Consider Eastern White Pine vs Douglas Fir
One of the reasons lumber prices are rising has to do with the availability of certain types of lumber. In particular, contractors prefer white pine for building log homes, but it’s unavailable in many regions.
Fortunately, you can turn to Douglas Fir for a type of lumber that shares many of the same traits. The following guide compares eastern white pine vs Douglas Fir lumber.
Why Free of Heart Center Lumber Is Best?
When buying lumber for your log home or for any project, it’s beneficial to choose free of heart center lumber. This wood is lumber that’s cut from timber outside of the heart or the center rings of the tree. As a tree grows, the stress of support primarily affects these center rings. This stress means they will become weaker over time.
Free of heart center or FOHC lumber is stronger and more durable since it makes use of the outer layers of wood. You can tell when lumber has included the heart of the tree by observing season checks or deep cracks that extend outward from the inner rings.
Douglas Fir FHOC scores much better than eastern white pine. When comparing eastern white pine vs. Douglas fir, the cut of the lumber is an important factor to consider. In fact, Douglas Fir FHOC is the highest scoring for strength and durability among all types of lumber used for constructing log homes.
How Are Eastern White Pine and Douglas Fir Similar?
If you’re looking for lumber that’s more readily available than eastern white pine yet shares some of its traits, Douglas Fir is the best choice. That’s because both types of trees are softwood and can be commonly found in many parts of North America.
Since they both contain high resin levels and fewer knots, they each have the strength and tenacity needed to build homes and other structures. This strength is why builders and contractors prefer both types of lumber.
The Differences Between Eastern White Pine vs Douglas Fir
It may be more important to compare the differences between these two types of wood. As you look at eastern white pine vs. Douglas Fir, finding the differences can help you determine whether Douglas Fir really will be a suitable replacement.
As this comparison shows, there are some ways in which Douglas Fir may actually be more appealing than eastern white pine:
Appearance of the Grain
Douglas Fir has a more natural appearance with a slight amber hue, while eastern white pine has a duller appearance. In Douglas Fir lumber, you will also find less warping since the wood between the grain lines doesn’t have the same tendency to absorb moisture and expand.
Measuring hardness is necessary to determine the amount of pressure the wood can withstand over time. The Janka scale determines hardness by measuring the amount of force needed to embed a steel orb into the wood.
For eastern white pine, hardness is equal to a force of 420 pounds per foot (lb-ft). Douglas Fir has a higher Janka rating of 660 lb-ft, making it a harder wood.
Knowing how each type of wood reacts to moisture will help you determine which one is best for building your log home. As previously mentioned, eastern white pine will soak up moisture and expand. The swelling of the wood is permanent, and that leads to unwanted warping.
Douglas Fir will also absorb moisture, but this absorption is temporary. The wood will return to its natural shape and form once it dries. The ability of this wood to retain its shape is beneficial for builders and homeowners since it helps maintain the integrity of the structure.