When it comes to building a fence, there are many different types of wood you can use. But which is the best type of wood to use? In this blog post, we will compare pine and premium Douglas fir and help you decide the best type for your fence.
Let’s dig in!
What is the difference between Pine and Douglas Fir?
Pine and Douglas Fir are both softwoods, but there are a few key differences between the two:
Douglas fir is often more visually appealing than yellow pine because of its nicer grain. The fir tree has a tight grain that doesn’t usually twist or warp like pine grain. Yellow pine grain is typically loose and can sometimes swell or shrink, causing warping if it isn’t handled carefully.
The Douglas fir tree’s lovely even grain is highly coveted for flooring because of its uniformity. This same uniform color also allows the wood to take finishes very well. You can put almost any finish on a Douglas fir board, and it will likely look good since this type of wood typically yields a more upscale and elegant appearance than yellow pine.
While both may have a yellowish hue, premium Douglas fir has a reddish or pinkish tinge to its heartwood, whereas pine typically doesn’t.
Pine is usually only used in construction when a project allows for a knotty look since the grain is so loose. It’s also common for pine boards to have large knots that can fall out over time, which isn’t ideal for something like a fence that needs to be durable and long-lasting.
These woods are both softwoods, but Douglas Fir is actually harder than pine. This means it will be more resistant to wear and tear and won’t dent as easily.
Let’s geek out for a second…
Wood’s hardness is one of its most important qualities. Hardness is measured using the Janka scale, which uses pounds per foot (lb-ft or lbf). The test measures how much force it takes to embed a steel ball into the wood; these steel balls have a diameter of .444 inches and are driven into the wood until half its diameter is immersed. The required force to accomplish that feat gives us the rating for that specific type of wood on the Janka Scale.
On the Janka Scale, white pine rates at 420 lb-ft, southern yellow pine (shortleaf and Loblolly) has a rating of 690, and southern longleaf rate has a rating of 870. Douglas fir lies in the middle between these types of pines, with its own rating of 660 on the Janka scale. Though not as hard as either shortleaf varieties or Southern longleaf pine, it is much harder than white pine.
It’s worth noting that just because a wood is termed a “softwood” rather than a “hardwood” doesn’t necessarily indicate its Janka hardness rating. Softwoods with a higher hardness value exist in several species of trees. Even though pine is divided into wide varieties, there may be significant variation in the Janka hardness rating for particular cultivars of that species.
So what does that mean to a homeowner wanting to build a fence?
It means that Douglas fir is better than pine if you’re looking for a fence that will last a long time and resist wear and tear.
Douglas fir is the clear winner when it comes to dealing with inclement weather and moisture. Fir, like any other wood, will react to humidity and its fibers may contract or expand. However, it usually returns to its original form when it dries out. This is a significant benefit for architects and furniture craftsmen (and fence owners!)
Pine, on the other hand, is very sensitive to dampness and weather. When the softwood between its grain lines expands or shrinks, it becomes permanent. Any warping or swelling that occurs as a result of this change is then permanent. That’s why it’s critical to properly and thoroughly treat any pine furniture or components with sealer and varnish to prevent moisture from entering the wood.
The dependability of fir, even under extreme conditions like weather and humidity, makes it far more appealing for most projects, especially when we’re discussing cabinets, fencing, decking, or the structural components of a home.
Pine is less expensive than Douglas Fir, making it a more budget-friendly option. Pine is a good choice if you’re looking for the most affordable wood for your fence.
On the other hand, Douglas Fir is more expensive, but it’s also more durable and longer lasting. Douglas Fir is the better option if you’re willing to spend a bit more upfront.
So the question is, do you invest more money up-front for a longer-lasting fence made of Douglas Fir, or do you choose the less expensive pine fence that will need to be replaced more often? It’s up to you!
At the end of the day, pine and Douglas Fir both make excellent fence materials. It comes down to personal preference and budget.
Don’t let your financial situation keep you from having the fence you want. We offer easy financing to help! Use our calculator to see your options.
Which type is better for fences, Pine or Douglas Fir?
Now that you know the key differences between pine and Douglas Fir, it’s time to decide which is the best type of wood for your fence.
Pine is better for fences if…
Pine is an excellent choice if you’re looking for affordable wood for your fence.
Pine is also a good option if you plan to paint your fence since it takes paint well.
Douglas Fir is better for fences if…
Douglas Fir is better for fences if you want a wood that’s strong and resistant to decay. It also has a nice, smooth finish that looks good.
What are the benefits of pine?
Pine is a popular type of wood for construction because it’s strong, lightweight, and inexpensive.
What are the benefits of Douglas Fir?
Douglas Fir is a more expensive wood that is also popular for construction because it’s strong, lightweight, and has a longer lifespan than pine.
How long do pine fences last?
Pine fences last around 20 years, depending on your climate and how well the fence is maintained.
How long do Douglas Fir fences last?
Douglas Fir fences can last up to 40 years with proper maintenance.
Which type of wood is more affordable?
Again, pine is less expensive than Douglas Fir, making it a more budget-friendly option. However, Douglas Fir is the way to go if you factor in having to replace your fence twice as often.
At the end of the day, the type of fence board that you choose depends on your personal preferences and budget. Pine is a good choice if you want an affordable wood that is easy to paint.
Douglas Fir is more expensive, but it’s also more durable and looks nicer. Douglas Fir is the better option for your fence if you’re willing to spend a bit more upfront. Whichever type of wood you choose, make sure to factor in your area’s climate and maintenance needs to help your fence last as long as possible.
Are you looking for an affordable, durable fence? Look no further than Primescape Construction!
We offer pine and Douglas Fir fences in various styles to suit your needs. Plus, you can get an instant quote on your fence using our online tool.
So design away and get the perfect fence for your home! And if you have any questions, our friendly team is always here to help. Visit our wood fence services page or give us a call today at (985) 377-4798.