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Douglas Fir Timber Guide

Not sure on what timber to choose for what applications?

If you’ve got Douglas Fir on your mind, and are not sure whether it’s right for your upcoming project, we’ve pieced together a complete guide that should be able to help and answer your questions.

Find out about the beneficial properties of Douglas Fir and some of the key uses of this fantastic homegrown timber.

What is Douglas Fir?

fir trees

Douglas Fir timber is derived from, you guessed it, the Douglas Fir tree.

This conifer tree species is notorious for growing quickly and to significant heights, reaching up to 85 metres. That’s why greater lengths of this cut timber are often available.

Douglas fir is a redwood timber that grows in North America and eastern Asia, as well as the UK.

What does a Douglas Fir tree look like?

douglas fir pine cones

You may well have seen a Douglas Fir tree in its natural forestry habitat. And if not, why not look out for this woodland giant on your next walk?

Soft needles with a long, flat spiral arrangement, pointed buds and distinctive cones with 3 prolonged bracts sticking out from the surface are the distinguishing features that point to a Douglas fir. The bark is smooth and grey-brown in tone.

Douglas Fir properties

cut timber douglas fir trees


Despite being a softwood, Douglas Fir is tough and strong, lending itself to being particularly versatile and favourable for a range of applications.


As a softwood, it’s much lighter than hardwood alternatives. However, this softwood is particularly densely packed, typically reaching a density of 530 kg/m3.


This timber is also renowned for its durability. It’s a hard-wearing species that is pretty resilient to fungal decay. What’s more, its high resin content means that it will stay strong, over time, even without treatment.

Environmentally friendly

As a timber that is grown and produced in the UK, it has a lower carbon footprint, compared to those that are grown and shipped in from overseas.


All of the above factors combined make this show-stopping timber a highly favourable choice for a huge range of applications. Not only does it physically hit the mark, but it’s also a real crowd-pleaser aesthetically.

What does Douglas fir look like when cut?

cut douglas fir timber

When first cut, this stunning timber boasts beautiful red-brown, pink and cream colours. It’s a pretty timber, that over time will weather to a silvery grey colour if left untreated.

With Douglas fir timber, you should expect to see knots and grain patterns that provide each cut with its own characteristics and unique look.

What is douglas fir used for?

We know this is a popular timber choice, with a tonne of great properties, but what can Douglas Fir be used for?


douglas fir cladding

One of the most popular interior and exterior cladding timbers chosen here in the UK is Douglas fir.

As a timber that can be used outdoors, and is particularly resistant to fungal decay, Douglas fir is a superb cladding choice for garages, outbuildings, summer houses, garden bars, sheds and even homes.

It’s a pretty timber, and many are attracted to the reddy tones that Douglas Fir displays.

If you’re looking to brighten your outside space, this is a great choice, guaranteed to bring an essence of warmth and luxury to your garden.

Many choose to treat Douglas Fir cladding with stains or preservers, which will help to maintain the striking colours and enhance the enriched textures in the long run.

However, if you want to take the fuss-free approach, and would rather allow the timber to age naturally, this timber cladding brings something different and unique to the table as it ages untreated, too.

Douglas fir cladding is available in a choice of profiles.

For a more modern look, feather edge provides a neat and uniform finish, compared to waney edge Douglas fir cladding which is the perfect pick if you’re all about bringing the rustic, country barn-style vibes to your garden.

Building and construction

douglas fir timber

We know this is a strong and durable timber with high resistance to abrasion, so you may not be surprised to know that Douglas Fir is a popular construction timber.

It’s often used to construct windows and doors as well as for flooring, furniture making, on boats, marine pilings, glulam beams and roof trusses.

It’s also known for being easy to work with, simply because the wood dries quickly with small dimensional movement.

Douglas Fir also has moderate nail and good screw-holding abilities and is easy to machine, with shapes and planes being easy to achieve and sand down to a smooth finish.

As we previously mentioned, Douglas Fir trees grow to great heights, meaning that longer pieces of timber are often available.

Explore a range of Douglas Fir timber here.


Softwood Decking

The visual appearance and hard-wearing durability of the timber also makes Douglas Fir a popular decking choice.

It’s also got a superb strength-to-weight ratio, whilst being flexible and weather resistant, which is all the good things you need and would expect of a deck.

Its stability also means it absorbs less water, so it’s going to be less susceptible to rotting. Further treatment will give your Douglas Fir deck that bit more protection against this natural ageing process.

The visual grain also gives your deck that bit more character, whilst still providing a neat and uniform finish.

Although it’s a softwood timber, it doesn’t require excessive amounts of maintenance. But, when you do maintain the deck with stains, it’s very easy to make the deck look new again!

Shop from our range of decking here.

Douglas Fir FAQS

Should you treat / stain Douglas Fir?

When it comes to Douglas Fir timber, the decision to stain or treat the wood is really up to personal preference.

Douglas Fir is often used for both interior and exterior projects due to its beautiful grain and affordability.

While it is a durable wood without any further treatment, many appreciate the look of Douglas Fir timber that has been stained as it brings out a warm, golden hue in its tones.

Treating can be a great way to protect the timber from harsh weather and increase its lifespan – all while adding some extra character to your project!

Left, Douglas Fir will turn a silvery-grey colour.

Whether you choose to keep your Douglas Fir natural or add a little bit of colour, you’re sure to admire the finished product either way.

Is Douglas Fir as strong as Oak?

The short answer is no. However, Douglas Fir is still strong enough to be used in the same way as Oak, for example for structural framing.

Douglas Fir has a lower moisture content, and it loses moisture quickly than hardwoods such as Oak. It is also typically cheaper than Oak, and because it’s a softer timber, it’s easier to shape and work with.

Is Douglas Fir good for outdoor use?

Yes, most definitely. It can be used for a range of outdoor applications including decking, cladding and structural framing.

Shop online from our range of Douglas Fir timber products

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