Douglas Fir - Features, Durability, Pricing and Care
- Beautiful all-rounder with good-natured properties
- Advantages and disadvantages
- Cultivate Douglas fir wood
- Prices for Douglas fir wood
The Douglas fir is an evergreen conifer that is native to the US and Canada. It is characterized by a particularly high growth and very good properties of timber. The Douglas fir is not a spruce, fir or pine, but belongs to the conifers . In Europe, it was only settled about 100 years ago, although fossil evidence shows that the Douglas fir wood was once home here.
The Douglas fir is characterized by its versatility. This is made possible by numerous positive features that make them superior to many native woods. The Douglas fir is firmer, harder and less susceptible to pests than, for example, the spruce. In addition, it is particularly popular due to its characteristic reddish-brown color and its interesting texture. This makes them an increasingly popular wood for almost every application in the home and garden. The Douglas fir is perfectly suited for hardwoods such as balcony railings, terraces or fences, as well as for construction timber such as roof trusses or for carports. Even the furniture industry has long since discovered the Douglas fir.
Disadvantages are few. On the one hand, the Douglas fir has not been cultivated in Europe for long enough to meet all needs. This keeps available stocks low and prices relatively high. Although the Douglas fir is growing fast, its good technical properties only become available after a few decades of undisturbed growth.
Beautiful all-rounder with good-natured properties
To meet the high demand of this increasingly popular wood, most of the raw wood needs to be imported from the USA and Canada. In terms of price and eco-balance, the Douglas fir is therefore somewhat inferior to the native wood species. To make things even worse, there is still little emphasis on sustainable management in their countries of origin. Rather, so-called "clear cuts" are used to clear entire forests and leave desolate landscapes behind.
Here in Germany at least one new one is planted for each felled Douglas fir. It is therefore already expected that the Douglas fir will displace the spruce as timber supplier in the future. Add to this the fact that the Douglas fir deals better with climate change. It is less dependent on wet and damp weather than the spruce. The fast growth of Douglas fir is advantageous for its rapid spread in Europe. However, the strength of the wood, as it is known from the import woods from North America, only comes from an age of about 15-20 years.
Since one can not look at the age of the wood of the finished beam, at least as a layman, precautions during processing are recommended. This includes above all the pre-drilling when boards, slats and beams are to be screwed from Douglas fir wood. With a suitable pilot hole cracks are reliably prevented. The ideal measure for pre-drilling in wood is always the core diameter of the screw. This ensures that only the thread cuts laterally into the wood, but that the core of the screw is not split into the wood like a wedge. In addition, it is achieved with a pilot hole, that the screw always straight and easily enters the wood. Your hold is not affected by the pilot hole.
The wood of Douglas fir has long fibers. This gives the finished sawed beams and planks an extraordinary strength. The Douglas fir is therefore ideal for load-bearing beams, such as carports or roof trusses, and also permits extraordinary constructions. This is also supported by their technical data:
- Density of raw wood: approx. 0.5 kg / dm³
- Tensile strength: approx. 100 N / mm²
- Bending strength: 70-90 N / mm²
- Compressive strength: 43-68 N / mm²
- Hardness: approx. 18-20 N / mm² (Brinell)
Advantages and disadvantages
Since the wood from Douglas fir has a high resin , it can come in closed areas such as roof trusses, to an intensive smell of turpentine. Before a fresh attic made of Douglas fir wood can be expanded to a full-fledged living space, it should therefore be left to air for some time. However, the strong turpentine smell says nothing about the immunity of Douglas fir wood against insect pests. Umbrellas made of Douglas fir beams can be attacked by pest insects as well as wood trestles, just like all other softwoods. A certain natural protection against insect infestation is only offered by woods from deciduous trees.
The high resin is also the advantage of the Douglas fir, which makes their woods particularly suitable for outdoor use. The natural protection against mold and decay ensures that furniture, terraces or fences made of Douglas fir are durable. However, after a few years, untreated Douglas fir wood loses the characteristic reddish color and changes to a silvery gray. There are now many users who like this optical weathering effect. For everyone else, there are ways to get the nice color of Douglas fir. With a suitable wood preservative, the Douglas fir can also be sealed well outdoors. This is best done in two steps:
Cultivate Douglas fir wood
First, the wood is treated with wood oil. All it takes is a single coat of paint. A liter of wood oil for Douglas fir costs between 6.50 euros and 14.60 euros . The choice of special wood oil for Douglas fir ensures the preservation of the color. It is advisable to pay attention to brand quality, this does not necessarily have to be more expensive than a DIY brand of a DIY store. With a wood oil the following is achieved for the materials of Douglas fir wood:
- Paint does not flake off and is easy to apply
- Balance between porosity and water repellency
- perfect protection against weather and ultraviolet radiation
- Surfaces become dirt-repellent and crack-resistant
- Preservation of breathability
- Protection against dehydration and cracking
In very humid areas, it is advisable to protect the beams and boards made of Douglas fir wood with wax in addition to painting with wood oil. This natural material makes the woods particularly resistant to penetrating moisture and thus prevents mold and rot for years. The wax sold as "beeswax balm" for wood-based materials costs about 20 euros per liter. For the repair of damaged areas, the use of hard wax rods has been proven. These costs about 3 euros per 40g rod and are applied with a smelter.
A limitation exists when processing Douglas fir wood: The high resin makes it very poorly suited for the painting of oil-based paints . The color does not find an optimal hold and peels off relatively quickly. To change the hue, therefore, only the described open-pored oils and wax should be used.
Prices for Douglas fir wood
Douglas fir wood is usually offered fully processed. Fence elements, terrace tiles, carport sets or garden furniture can therefore already be purchased in a large selection in the DIY stores. The price of Douglas fir wood products depends on its thickness and width. A finished planed and chamfered Douglas fir decking has the following standard market prices:
- Thickness x width:
- 21 mm x 124 mm: 21 euros per meter
- 26 mm x 138 mm: 25 euros per meter
- 44 mm x 140 mm: 38 euros per meter
A finished Douglas fir fence of 180 x 180 cm² can be calculated with about 100-150 euros.
Since Douglas fir wood does not demand a lot of its workmanship, it is very well suited for do-it-yourselfers to create their own works. Grinding, sawing, planing and drilling are no bigger challenge on Douglas fir wood than on any other wood material. However, the tip should be noted, always pre-drill screw connections. Since Douglas fir is one of the higher priced woods, there should be plenty of practice, experience, and appropriate tools before venturing into Douglas fir wood processing.
The following prices per meter are customary for untreated Douglas fir wood:
- 9.5 × 2 cm² thick: 2.25 euros
- 13.5 × 2 cm² thick: 3 euros
- 19.5 × 2.5 cm² thick: 5.40 euros
- 19.5 × 9.5 cm² thick: 19, 30 Euro
- 14.0 × 14.0 cm² thick: 28 euros
The prices can vary greatly depending on the purity, grain and density. Older raw wood is usually more expensive than Jungholz.