Redwood vs. Douglas Fir for Fencing

Redwoods are the world’s largest trees, but Douglas fir are almost as big, inhabit the very same forests and are frequently mistaken for redwoods. Despite the similarity of appearance, however, the two species are comparable, and produce wood with different features. Both redwood and Douglas fir are important metals in the construction trades, but if it comes to constructing an outdoor project such as a fence, redwood lasts longer and is the better choice.

Features of Redwood Lumber

Having a height that can exceed 350 feet and a trunk broad enough to push through, every redwood tree creates a great deal of lumber. The wood has an attractive orange/brown hue, dries well and is much more secure than a number of other species when it is dry. Furthermore, it includes oils that repel insects and prevents decay. It’s a softwood and can be comparatively easy to saw, shape and nail. These attributes make it perfect for outdoor applications. When you depart redwood exposed to sunlight without a finish, it turns out gray inside a few months. Removing a thin surface layer by sanding or power washing restores the natural color.

Features of Douglas Fir Lumber

Such as redwood, Douglas fir is a coniferous tree, and the wood is soft but structurally secure. It has a yellowish-white hue that darkens to orange as you approach the heartwood. It consumes some of the pest-resistant oils located in redwood or cedar and has a briefer outdoor lifespan than either of those species. Its Janka Hardness rating of 660 makes it harder than most other domestic softwoods, including redwood. Builders use Douglas fir as dimensional lumber for framing and as interior trim and cabinet stuff. It’s also a main part of construction-grade plywood.

Comparison as Fencing Material

Redwood is a much better choice for fencing fabric than Douglas fir for at least three reasons. Perhaps the most important reason is that the oils in redwood provide it natural weather resistance, plus it lasts just two or three times as long as Douglas fir outside. Another important reason, especially when you’re constructing a high privacy fence, is that redwood is more lighter. Ultimately, redwood shrinks less than Douglas fir, so the fence boards are more likely to resist warping, cracking or splitting. An extra advantage of utilizing redwood is the fact that it’s more porous than Douglas fir and stains more evenly.

Practical Considerations

In localities in which redwood is available, it’s more often milled to the apartment planks required for fence coverings than Douglas fir. The 2-by-4 and 4-by-4 lumber required for posts and rails, however, is equally accessible redwood and Douglas fir, and Douglas fir is typically less expensive. Since raw Douglas fir quickly rots underground, most builders utilize pressure-treated Douglas fir posts, which are still less expensive than redwood. If you decide to build a fence using Douglas fir to save money, protect the wood by painting it every few years using a high-pigment paint featuring anti-rot agents.

See related