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Is Douglas Fir A Hardwood?

If you want to know if Douglas Fir wood is hardwood or softwood and if it’s ideal for your project, this post is for you. It’s essential to identify if a wood is softwood or hardwood and other features of the wood before using it on a project. Using the wrong wood for a project will be an effort in futility.

This post will explain what makes wood a hardwood or softwood. Also, you will get to know if Douglas Fir is hardwood or softwood, the pros, and cons of Douglas Fir hardwood, and other details on Douglas Fir wood.

What is Douglas Fir Wood?

Douglas Fir wood is also known as Pseudotsuga Menziesii. It is from the Pinaceae pine family. Douglas Fir is unique for its towering size, and iconic shape. The tree grows as high as 85 meters and can live for several hundred years. It comes in handy for most construction and building projects due to its strength.

The first Douglas Fir species was discovered by David Douglas. Douglas Fir wood is oftentimes not considered a true fir because it is not a member of the Abies genus. The wood is used in the construction of doors, windows, sashes, flooring, cabinets, furniture, ship, transmission poles and similar wood projects.

  • Douglas Fir wood comes in three types which include
  • Mexican Douglas Fir (P. Menziesii var. Lindleyana)
  • Coast Douglas Fir (P. Menziesii var. Menziesii)
  • Rocky Mountain Douglas Fir (P. Menziesii var. Glauca)

HardWood Vs Softwood

Before discussing if aspen is hardwood or softwood, you need to understand what makes a wood hardwood or softwood. Most people think that a wood is considered a hardwood if it’s hard and softwood if it’s soft. That’s not true. There are certain qualities a wood or tree needs to have to be considered hardwood or softwood.


Hardwood is obtained from deciduous trees. The trees are known to lose their leaves in autumn and are generally considered angiosperms. Hardwood trees are generally more expensive and are known to grow at a slower pace. Examples of hardwood are Teak, Oak, Hickory, Maple, Beech, Balsa, Alder, and Mahogany.


Softwood is obtained from conifer trees. The trees are known for their needle-shaped leaves and are considered gymnosperms. They grow at a faster rate and are generally cheaper than hardwood. Examples of softwood are Pine, Fir, redwood, yew, juniper, and Spruce.

Hardwood Vs Softwood

Hardwood and softwood have different features that make each unique. It is from these features that you can determine if a wood is hardwood or softwood. These are some of the features that differentiate hardwood from softwood.

Color: Hardwood normally has dark colors unlike softwood that has light colors.

Weather Resistance: Hardwoods are resistant to natural elements like water. That is why they are the best choice for outside wood work like fencing and decking. Softwood has low resistance but treating the wood can make it resistant to natural elements.

Durability: Hardwood is highly durable, while softwood is less durable.

Weight: Hardwood is heavy and hard, while softwood is lightweight and soft. Note that there are some hardwoods that are soft.

Branching: Hardwood trees have fewer branches than softwood with more branches.

Workability: Hardwood is difficult to carve, while it is easier to carve softwood.

Uses: Hardwood is used for furniture making, flooring and paper making. Softwood is used for furniture, cabins, paper pulp and solid wood products.

Is Douglas Fir Hardwood?

No. Douglas Fir wood is a softwood because it falls in the gymnosperm plants category. Despite having a low score in the Janka hardness rating, Douglas Fir wood is strong, durable and suitable for major building projects. The wood is relatively easy to work on and can glue easily.  

Pros of Douglas Fir Wood?

We mentioned earlier that Douglas Fir wood has a low Janka hardness rating. But the wood has other cool advantages that make it suitable for high-capacity construction projects.

a. LongBoard Lengths

Boards for wood floors need to be long and broad enough to cover the required space. Douglas Fir trees grow to an impressive 85 meters height and the wood comes in longboards length. This makes it a suitable option for flooring. It gives the floor a uniform, smooth and soft appearance.

b. It Is Water-Resistant

If you intend to use wood for an outdoor project, you have to check how the wood reacts to water. Douglas Fir wood is water-resistant. This means that it can withstand exposure to water for an extended time. When the wood gets wet, it warps and swells, but it goes back to its normal shape after it dries.

c. Add To Visual Aesthetics

Douglas Fir wood has a tight uniform grain pattern with golden tones that adds to the visual aesthetics of a home. The natural beauty of the Douglas Fir wood can only be compared with other high-quality wood like maple and oak.

d. Easy To Maintain

Douglas Fir wood is easy to maintain. Also, it’s easy to refinish which makes it a good choice for high-traffic areas prone to discoloration. You don’t have to shave down the floorboards when refinishing, and you can easily bleach the wood floor.

e. It is Durable

This wood is known to be durable and can last for over 50 years after installation. Little wonder most old barns in Western Rocky Mountains were built with this wood.

Cons of Douglas Fir Wood?

a. Scratch Easily

Being a softwood, Douglas Fir wood scratches, and dents easily. It happens when grime, grit, and dust build-up and act as an abrasive against the floor surface. One way to prevent this is to make sure you sweep and clean the floor regularly.