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The Difference Between Cedar and Douglas Fir

Cedar and Douglas Fir differences
Selecting the right type of wood to build with can be a challenge. Yet, with the right information and expertise from Longhouse professionals, you’ll be sure to make the best decision for your next construction project.   Understandably, there are both benefits and drawbacks to using either Cedar or Douglas Fir. Though they are both softwoods, they are not identical. Weighing the pros and cons of each species of wood helps in the decision-making process. Hence, let’s compare the difference between Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir.   WESTERN RED CEDAR (Thuja Plicata)  
  • Source: Western Red Cedar is available FSC certified from the coastal rain forests of Vancouver Island.
  • Strength and Stiffness: 54 and 8200 respectively.
  • Ability to hold screws and nails: Moderate.
  • Appearance: Straight grain with few knots, Western Red Cedar siding boasts a soft red-brown colour.
  • Design: Cedar affords a timeless, natural beauty to modern home builds. Clear grade cedar siding may be used to clad an entire building or as installed as tasteful accents. Western Red Cedar is also available in a knotty version that provides a rustic aesthetic. Cedar wood also grants exterior durability due to its inherent resistance to rot and insect infestations.
  • Lightweight Cedar shingles are highly insulating and provide additional heat retention to homes. Longhouse offers Western Red Cedar shingles in two grades: No 1. (Blue label) and No. 2 (Red label).
  • Stain: May be ordered pre-stained in any colour you select. Alternately, may be left untreated to weather naturally.
  • Typical Applications: Siding, decking, accents, outdoor furniture, shingle roofing.
  DOUGLAS FIR (Pseudotsuga Menziesii)  
  • Source: Sustainably sourced from old-growth forests on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
  • Strength and Stiffness: 85 and 13,440 respectively. Maintains a high weight-to-strength ratio.
  • Ability to hold screws and nails: Very good.
  • Appearance: Unique straight grain, generally orange or monochromatic blonde in colour, Douglas Fir wood is naturally lustrous.
  • Design: One of the finest timbers for heavy construction, Douglas Fir is often the choice for large commercial buildings and log homes. It is also used to manufacture beautifully designed doors, sashes, and windows. The softwood is also an excellent choice for stunning flooring, cabinets, and general millwork.
  • Stain: Numerous finishes available, Douglas Fir may be fire treated with non-toxic retardant.
  • Typical Applications: Heavy-duty construction functions, such as timbers and beams. Often found in large West Coast heritage buildings. Excellent for both industrial and residential builds due to its load-bearing capabilities. Also ideal for wide plank flooring in high traffic areas.
  Truly, each wood species offers distinct characteristics for construction. Knowing the innate qualities of both wood materials makes it easier to determine the suitability for a variety of applications. A good tip is when it comes to structural weight-bearing capabilities, Douglas Fir comes out ahead for sizeable builds. Fortunately, Longhouse has the quality softwood lumber you need, whether Western Red Cedar or Douglas Fir. These two popular woods are both superb options for modern builds. Give us a call at 250-248-5887 to get your next project started today.