SELECT GRADE Douglas Fir
DC Structures is located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, where the reputation for premium quality heavy timbers is second to none. Our proximity to some of the world’s tallest and most valuable evergreens allows us to source the finest mill-direct lumber for every project, including Western red cedar, coastal redwood, and red and white oak. Of the species we typically offer as optional framing elements, one stands above the rest in terms of its structural stability, strength, and beauty as a building material. That species is Douglas fir—one of the best wood types for residential and commercial construction in North America.
WHAT IS Douglas Fir?
Douglas fir is a genus of coniferous evergreen trees that are native to western North America and eastern Asia. Otherwise known by its scientific name Pseudotsuga, meaning “false hemlock,” Douglas fir exists in a genus of its own due to the fact that it cannot be classified as a true fir, pine, spruce, or hemlock. Although there are six different species that exist within the Douglas fir family, only one is native to the Pacific Northwest—Pseudotsuga menziesii. This species is recognized as one of the most valuable timber trees in the country and is widely used in construction due to its unparalleled strength, versatility, and beauty.
WHY WE USE DOUGLAS FIR For Framing
At DC Structures, we often use Douglas fir as the primary framing material for our heavy timber structures for a number of reasons—chief among them being that Douglas fir is one of the strongest wood types you can use for building. As a framing material, Douglas fir consistently outperforms other American softwoods in measures of strength and stability and is commonly used as the standard of comparison for other wood framing materials. Because of its naturally durable properties, Douglas fir can also withstand greater amounts of pressure and weight. This makes it the perfect structural material for high-performance buildings in areas susceptible to high winds, storms, and earthquakes.
Douglas fir is also considered to be one of the most attractive American softwoods available. Douglas fir lumber features a straight, sometimes slightly wavy grain, tight knots, and distinct rosy tint. The sapwood is often light in color, ranging from white to pale yellow, with the heartwood producing a yellowish to reddish-brown color. These characteristics make it ideal for timber frame and post and beam structures, allowing clients to enjoy beautiful, exposed heavy timbers in their living space.
Lastly, Douglas fir grows in abundance here in the coastal areas of Oregon, as well as in Washington and Northern California. This makes it possible for our team to source top-quality Douglas fir lumber at competitive prices for our clients, so you can build your structure with the best framing lumber available and all at a reasonable cost to you.
OUR FOHC Douglas Fir Lumber
Our company sources premium quality Douglas fir lumber from our mill-direct suppliers here in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to being processed into lumber, our timbers are sewn to exclude the soft pith in the middle, otherwise known as the heart center of the tree. This is where our timber elements receive the classification of FOHC, as every piece of exposed timber comes “free of heart center” to create incredibly strong, stable, and beautiful framing components that resist cracking or twisting over time. Our lumber is also pre-surfaced on all four sides (S4S) and subject to the highest standards for kiln drying to achieve its desired moisture content and bolster structural integrity.
DOUGLAS FIR VS. Southern Yellow Pine
Some of our peers offer Southern yellow pine as the standard framing material for their prefabricated building kits. Although there are benefits to using Southern yellow pine, this wood type isn’t nearly as attractive as Douglas fir, nor as strong as a wood framing material. For example, Southern yellow pine features a pale yellowish tint whereas our premium quality Douglas fir timbers take on a slight rosy cast. This makes all the difference in one’s space, as Douglas fir looks and feels more high-end as both an interior and exterior element. Similarly, Southern yellow pine and Douglas fir offer naturally durable properties that make either wood type acceptable for construction. However, Douglas fir has much more capacity to remain exceptionally strong and stable over time and provide superior protection from the elements.
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