Pine Timber — The Complete Guide

Pine Timber — The Complete Guide

It works well with hand tools and finishes nicely, and it machines easily, Also, it can help create an atmosphere that is pleasant on your ears, eyes, and nose. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about pine in general, and you can use this guide to decide if it’s the correct medium for your next project.

What is pine timber?

Pine is a versatile timber and a widely used building material for economic, fine construction projects and a full range of structural and decorative applications.

This wood’s properties make it a very popular material because of its widespread availability and the easy cultivation process. Pine wood is commonly used to build cabinetry, furniture, panelling, window frames, roofing, and floors. It is also used for framing, glue laminated beams, veneer, plywood and lining.

Knotty pine was very popular in the 1960s with home decors, and it’s common to use the same orangish-red finished wood on modern cabinetry to create a nostalgic look.

Is pine a good timber?

Generally speaking, yes, pine is good timber because it’s very strong.

When you use it, you’ll notice that you get a very stiff softwood that comes with a decently high compressive strength, bending strength and density than you get with most other softwoods. This makes pine durable and strong enough to use for panelling, furniture making, roofing, window frames, and a variety of other applications.

Although it is weaker than hardwoods, it’s strong enough to use in most common woodworking projects. It’s also very lightweight and has a high workability factor, which makes it easier to mould to your desired ends.

Is pine timber durable?

Pine is a softwood, and this means that the seeds don’t have a coating. However, pine is stiff, and this makes it both strong and durable. Hardwoods will be stronger, but they both offer decent workability. You can break pine down into two broad categories based on your intended use, including white or soft pine and red or yellow hard pine. White pine is the most common option, as it offers low density, a fine texture, and a knotty, even grain. Western white pine will be denser than eastern white pine. Both types of pine come with a  high resistance to shock. In turn, this makes it very suitable for furniture-making applications.

Where does pine timber come from?

Pine is classified as a coniferous wood that you can find in many different locations scattered throughout the Northern Hemisphere. In Australia, the majority of pine is grown in large plantations in NSW. You can also find pine trees in Central and Eastern Europe, Mexico, North America and southern and mid Canada.

A lot of these regions have native pine tree species, and some species may only grow in a certain area. For example, you’ll have to cross the equator to find Sumatran pine, but Canadian pine is around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia and around the Mackenzie River. They feature one of the biggest distributions on any conifer family cultivar. Pine trees act like the dominant plants in a lot of boreal and cool-temperate forests.

Pine is one of the most popular wood types used in carpentry and manufacturing industries, and you can find it used in many homes around the world as furniture, flooring, or windows. Currently, there are more than 126 classified pine species that fall under the Pinus genus.

Pine Timber Guide

Does pine get harder with age?

Generally, pine tends to harden as it ages, especially yellow pine when you compare it to freshly cut timber. It will get slightly stronger as it loses moisture content, but it won’t harden a huge amount. This can take several months or even years, depending on the climate, exposure to the elements and whether or not you stain or paint it to seal it.

Is pine cheap wood?

Pine is usually on the lower end of the cost range when it comes to any type of wood due to how widely available it is, making pine an affordable material. This is partially what makes it so popular for building applications, as you can get a decent amount of it without blowing your budget, and it’s very workable.

What can pine timber be used for?

Pine can be used in a wide range of applications, including structural timber, flooring, furniture, toys, poles, sleepers, posts, landscaping, mining timbers, lining and more.

One of the nice things about pine timber is that it has several uses in the construction and decoration industries. For example, it’s a very popular medium to use to build furniture, and it looks very nice used as panelling in rooms of varying sizes. Pine also makes a nice building material for window frames or roofing projects. It’s also very popular in the paper production industry, and pine is a great source of rosin, turpentine, oils, and wood tars. Edible pine seeds get sold commercially, as pine nuts come from several pine species too.

What is pine wood mostly used for?

Pine wood is mostly used in the construction and paper industries. Due to its lightweight nature, wide accessibility, low price point, and flexibility, you can utilise it in a range of applications, such as domestic and commercial structural timber, flooring, furniture, sleepers, landscaping and more.

For the construction industry, pine furniture is very popular. It’s also a standard material to use in creating cabinets or for roofing foundations. The paper industry uses pine pulp to create sheets of paper. Also, the resin some species of pine produces is a very important source of turpentine.

<Pine Timber Complete Guide

Why is pine the cheapest wood?

One of the biggest reasons pine is so cheap compared to other types of wood is its availability. You can find it growing all over the world, and this reduces sourcing costs.

Also, you have to consider how quickly pine trees grow in comparison to other types of trees. This rapid growth rate means you can grow new trees quickly, harvest it much quicker and replace the pine as it gets used instead of having to sit and wait for another supply to come in. It’s also easier to grow pine than the more expensive options like oak, and this leads to lower costs.

Is pine the strongest wood?

No. Pine is a softwood, and this means that it won’t be nearly as strong as some hardwoods you can get, like maple, cherry, or walnut. Yellow pine is slightly stronger than white pine, but they both have slightly lower densities than hardwood, and this density is what makes them prone to scuffs or scratches.

However, pine is a very stiff type of wood which still makes it durable enough to use in residential and commercial spaces for furniture, panelling, cabinetry and more.

Is pine wood more expensive?

When it comes to wood prices, pine is usually very low on the spectrum, and this is partially why it’s so popular in the construction industry. The faster growth rate of pine makes it a cheaper option than oak as it’s easier to grow new trees quickly. Pines take between 1.5 and 3 years to mature over the 20 years a hardwood like oak takes to mature, so this lends to the lower cost.

However, you also have to keep in mind that this lower cost means that you won’t get a product that is as durable in some applications as hardwood either.

How long does pine timber last?

How long your pine timber lasts will depend on whether it’s indoors or outdoors, treated or untreated, and the application you want to use it for. In above ground settings, pine is expected to last more than 40 years and has a life expectancy of more than 25 years when used in in-ground applications.

<Pine Timber - The Complete Guide

Does pine rot easily?

White pines, fir and other soft woods commonly used in modern construction give little protection against termites and rot.

However, pine wood has a much higher moisture resistance than many other types of wood, and this helps it resist rotting and decay. If you leave it untreated and expose it to the elements, especially water or wet conditions, it can start to rot in as little as six months to a year. If you seal it and maintain it, pine can last for 10 to 15 years without any significant issues. Pressure-treated pine is very resistant to decay or rotting, and this is what a lot of people choose to use for outdoor applications.

Why is pine not a hardwood?

Hardwood comes from flowering plants or angiosperms like maple, oak, or walnut trees that aren’t monocots. Softwood like pine, spruce, or evergreen conifers comes from gymnosperm trees. This tree type has seeds that do not have any covering and usually just fall to the ground.

Hardwood is much denser than softwood, so it tends to weigh a decent amount in comparison to softwood. Pine isn’t dense, and this lower density is why you can scratch or scuff it easily if you were to use it as flooring. The density also stops it from being a hardwood, as does the fact that it’s classified as a gymnosperm tree — a tree that has no flowers but produces seeds.

What are the 3 types of softwood?

Although there are many more than three types of softwood available, some are much more popular and accessible than others. These three types of softwood are:

  • Cedar. Cedar is considered to be a premium softwood that has a high durability factor due to being tougher and denser than other softwoods. This is why people like to use it for decking, outdoor furniture, and exterior projects. Since it has good resistance to decay, moisture damage, and insects, it’s popular to use for roofing and flooring applications too. The attractive scent and fine look make it popular for indoor furniture builds.
  • Douglas fir. This is a reddish-brown softwood timber that gets used in buildings. It offers a very straight and tight wood grain with few knots, and it’s very popular for use in joinery applications like cladding, flooring, and facades. You can use Douglas firs as Christmas trees too. The pulp that is left from processing these trees is used for plywood, and it’s harder than a lot of softwoods.
  • Pine. Pine is the most popular and versatile type of softwood, and it’s easy to adapt it to a range of projects. It’s also the most available wood in the world, and this makes it more cost-effective. It bends easily, and this allows you to use it to create turned projects like furniture. It stains and carves well, and you find it used for framing and roofing a lot.

Is pine better than hardwood?

It depends on your application, but pine usually isn’t better than hardwood. The denser the wood, the harder, stronger and more durable it is.

But, pine is a great option over hardwood if you're on a budget or you're pressed for time, as it's widely available. Pine is also much more flexible and lightweight than a lot of hardwood options, and this allows you to utilise it in more household applications. On the other hand, hardwood is usually more durable and will last longer, and this can help justify the higher cost. Hardwood is much denser than pine, and this lends to the durability factor.

How Long Does Pine Timber Last Untreated

How long does pine last untreated?

It is possible to use untreated pine in your construction projects, but this will impact how long it lasts, especially if you use it outside. Generally speaking, untreated pine that is exposed to the elements will last roughly 5 to 10 years. On the other hand, treated pine can last 10 to 15+ years with proper maintenance.

Does pine wood crack easily?

Pine wood can crack easily under certain conditions, such as your pine getting wet then drying out.

This is especially true if you repeatedly expose it to moisture or humidity. This is because the ends tend to dry faster than the middle, and they can split as they dry. Pine has a lower moisture content, and the spaces tend to fill with air. This is exactly what makes it so lightweight and flexible, but it's also what can cause cracking. The lower density rating makes it easier to split, and this allows you to work with it better than you would some hardwood species.