Douglas Fir vs. Fraser Fir: Choosing the Best Wood Plank

If you’re looking to add rustic charm to a living space without breaking the bank, wood planks from the pine family are a great choice. And when it comes to choosing between Douglas fir and Fraser fir for your home improvement projects, there are several factors to consider.

Douglas fir and Fraser fir are evergreen trees with unique qualities, making them suitable for various applications. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the origins and features of both trees, providing you with valuable insights to make an informed decision.

You’ll learn about their uses in interior and exterior settings as well as the pros and cons of each. We’ll examine the look, durability, cost, and accessibility of these two types of wood to help you pick the best one for your needs.

To wrap things up, we’ll look at the advantages of using Douglas fir and Fraser fir – as well as the maintenance requirements of each. Our expert tips on budgetary constraints and project requirements will help guide you through the process while ensuring your home remains cozy yet functional throughout its lifetime.

Douglas Fir Overview

If you’re looking to add a touch of natural beauty to your home, Douglas fir trees are an excellent choice for various interior and exterior applications. In this section, we’ll explore the origin and characteristics of Douglas firs and their uses and applications.

Origin and Characteristics

Douglas firs, native to North America’s west coast, are one of the most popular evergreen tree species in the United States. Douglas firs can reach impressive heights of up to 250 feet, with diameters between 3-6 feet. They have soft needles that vary in color from dark green to blue-green.

Did you know? Douglas fir is one of the most multi-purposed woods used today. What other species can be decorated as a Christmas tree and used as a railroad tie?

Uses and Applications

Douglas fir wood is highly versatile due to its strength, stability, durability, and beautiful appearance. It’s commonly used throughout the world for things like:
  • Framing lumber in residential construction projects
  • Flooring materials like planks or engineered hardwoods
  • Cabinetry work for kitchens and bathrooms
  • Wood planks installed on walls or ceilings
  • Exterior siding such as shingles or clapboards

Wherever it’s installed, you can be confident Douglas fir will add warmth and character throughout your home or office space.

Fraser Fir Overview

In this section, we’ll explore the origin and characteristics of Fraser fir, as well as some common uses and applications.

Origin and Characteristics

The Fraser fir (Abies Fraseri) is a tree species natively found in the Appalachian Mountains of southeastern United States. Known for its attractive appearance, it has been a popular choice for Christmas trees in homes across the country. Strong branches, a pleasant fragrance, and excellent needle retention leave no wonder as to why it’s such a staple in homes. The wood from Fraser firs is light in color with fine grain patterns that give it an elegant look when used for interior design projects.

Uses and Applications

Apart from being a popular choice for Christmas trees, Fraser fir wood can be utilized in various woodworking projects. Some examples include furniture making, flooring installations, wall paneling and ceiling accents using products like Stikwood’s wood planks.

Here are some common areas where Fraser fir really stands out:

  • Furniture making: chairs, tables, cabinets etc.
  • Flooring installations: hardwood floors with character
  • Ceiling accents: adding warmth and charm to your living space
  • Wall paneling: creating feature walls or wainscoting designs
Key Takeaway: Douglas fir and Fraser fir planks make a great choice for both interior and exterior applications, including furniture, flooring, wall paneling, and Christmas trees.

Comparison of Douglas Fir vs Fraser Fir

In this comparison, we'll examine the look, strength, price-point, accessibility and potential uses of both Douglas fir and Fraser fir to help you make an educated decision for your home project.

Appearance & Durability

Douglas fir is known for its straight grain pattern and warm reddish-brown color. Its texture is medium to coarse with tight knots that add character to the wood. This makes it a popular choice for rustic or traditional interior designs. In terms of durability, Douglas fir has a high bending strength and stiffness, especially when compared to other softwoods – so it works for structural applications, too.

Fraser fir, on the other hand, has a more uniform light brown color with subtle hints of red. It features a fine texture with small knots giving it a smoother appearance compared to Douglas fir. While not quite as strong as its pine cousin in terms of bending strength, Fraser fir still offers good stability. Those qualities make it a good choice for homeowners with contemporary or minimalist design styles.

Cost & Availability

The cost difference between these two types of wood can vary depending on factors such as location and grade quality. Generally speaking though, Douglas fir planks tend to be slightly less expensive than Fraser firs due to their wider distribution range across North America.

When it comes to availability, here are a couple factors to keep in mind:

Douglas Fir: Widely available throughout North America; often found at local lumber yards or specialty retailers.

Fraser Fir: More limited in distribution but can still be sourced from select suppliers, particularly in the eastern United States.

Interior & Exterior Applications

Douglas fir and Fraser fir planks can be used in numerous applications, both interior and exterior. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs in terms of appearance, durability, budget, and availability.

Some common interior applications for Douglas fir and Fraser fir are:

  • Flooring
  • Cabinetry
  • Molding and trim work
  • Wall paneling and accent walls using Stikwood planks
  • Furniture construction including tables, chairs, and bookshelves

In terms of exterior use, try applications such as:

  • Fencing
  • Siding
  • Shingles

When using Douglas fir or Fraser fir in an exterior setting, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind. While they can be utilized for outdoor projects like decking or fencing with proper treatment and maintenance, other species such as cedar or redwood may offer better resistance to decay and insects.

Overall, Douglas fir and Fraser fir are both excellent choices for home projects due to their strength, stability, and visual appeal. It is essential, though, to take into account the expense and accessibility of both woods before settling on a choice. Moving along, let’s delve into the advantages (and a few disadvantages) of using either Douglas fir or Fraser fir for your home or office.

Key Takeaway: Differences exist in the appearance, durability, cost, availability, and applications of Douglas fir vs Fraser fir. Douglas fir is known for its warm, reddish-brown color with tight knots suitable for structural applications. Fraser fir, on the other hand, has a more uniform light brown color and fine texture – giving it a smoother appearance.

Advantages of Using Douglas Fir or Fraser Fir for Home Projects

Douglas Fir Advantages

Douglas fir has a number of attractive qualities that make it a top choice for home improvement projects. Some key advantages include its:

As one of the strongest softwoods available today, Douglas fir trees are ideal for load-bearing applications like framing and flooring. Its dense grain structure provides excellent dimensional stability, which means less warping or twisting over time.

Douglas firs have a low shrinkage rate compared to other softwoods like eastern white pine or scotch pine. Its dense grain structure provides excellent dimensional stability, which means less warping or twisting over time.

The beautiful grain patterns and warm color tones of Douglas fir wood can add an inviting, warm touch to any space. The rich tones create a cozy atmosphere in living rooms or add character to kitchen cabinets. Additionally, clear finishes enhance the natural beauty of this wood, making it a popular choice for exposed beams and ceilings.

Douglas fir is an excellent choice for wood planks, as it offers a variety of uses and applications. Its versatility makes it a popular option among homeowners looking to transform the look of their walls or ceilings. In addition, its strength, durability, and beautiful appearance mean Douglas fir planks are ideal for load-bearing applications as well.

Fraser Fir Advantages

When you’re looking for something durable without being too rustic, Fraser fir is a great option. Some of Fraser fir’s biggest advantages are its:

Strength & Stability:
Fraser fir boasts a high strength-to-weight ratio but with slightly lower density than Douglas fir. These qualities make it more lightweight while still providing adequate support for various construction purposes like furniture-building and cabinetry work.

Versatility & Aesthetics:
Like Douglas fir, Fraser fir is highly adaptable when it comes to design aesthetics. It takes stain well, allowing you to customize the color according to your preferences or match existing decor elements within your space.

Fraser fir features a more subtle grain pattern when compared to Douglas fir, offering lighter coloration ranging from pale yellows to light browns. This makes it an excellent option for those seeking a more neutral or minimalist vibe in their home projects. Its fine texture also allows for intricate detailing work in furniture pieces or cabinetry.

Overall, the advantages of using Douglas fir or Fraser fir wood planks lie in their strength, stability, and versatility – especially when it pertains to design aesthetics. Whether you’re looking to create a warm ambiance with rich hues or prefer a more understated look with lighter tones, these two species offer plenty of options that cater to numerous projects.

That being said, no wood is perfect. Here are a few drawbacks to keep in mind when deciding whether to invest in Douglas fir.

Key Takeaway: Douglas fir and Fraser fir planks are highly versatile due to their strength, stability, durability and visual appeal. They’re ideal for a number of home improvements projects including exposed beams, wall paneling, and furniture-making. Either choice is sure to add warmth and character to your home or office space.

Disadvantages of Using Douglas Fir or Fraser Fir for Home Projects

Douglas Fir Disadvantages

Though highly sought after and widely used throughout the United States, Douglas fir takes some work to maintain its beauty. Some disadvantages include:

Maintenance requirements:
While not as high-maintenance as some hardwoods like oak or maple, Douglas fir does require regular sealing and staining to maintain its appearance and protect it from damage caused by moisture. It’s essential to apply a protective finish, such as polyurethane or varnish, to prolong the life of the wood. 

Pro-tip: If rough patches form due to regular wear and tear, smooth them out by carefully sanding your planks. 

Susceptibility to Insects & Decay:
Although it’s more resistant to insects than other softwoods, Douglas fir can still be vulnerable to infestation and decay if not properly treated with preservatives. Common pests include termites, carpenter ants, and powderpost beetles which can cause significant structural damage if left unchecked. To minimize this risk, make sure you purchase kiln-dried lumber treated with a borate-based preservative.

Fraser Fir Disadvantages

As you’ve seen, Fraser fir comes packed with unique characteristics that make it perfect for many different applications. That being said though, it’s important to be aware of the potential disadvantages before choosing Fraser fir planks for your project. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

Maintenance requirements:
Though generally less than Douglas fir, Fraser fir still requires some upkeep. It benefits from an occasional application of a protective sealant like deck sealer. This helps maintain its natural beauty while protecting against potential damage caused by exposure to harsh weather conditions.

Susceptibility to insects & decay:
Fraser fir is less prone to insects and decay. This is because of its naturally occurring oils that make it more resistant to infestations. However, it can still be affected by wood-boring insects if not adequately protected. To ensure your Fraser fir wood remains in good condition for years to come, consider applying a suitable outdoor finish that includes an insecticide.

While both Douglas fir and Fraser fir offer unique advantages for home projects, they also have a few disadvantages when it comes to maintenance requirements and susceptibility to insects & decay. By considering these factors carefully before choosing which type of plank is right for your project, you can make an informed decision that’ll result in a beautiful–and long lasting–addition to your home.

With that in mind, let’s explore some tips on how to choose the right type of wood for your project.

Key Takeaway: When choosing Douglas fir or Fraser fir for your project, regular sealing and staining are required for maintenance purposes. Insects and decay can pose a real threat to either wood when they aren’t properly treated with preservatives. Take care of your wood planks, though, and you’ll have a beautiful living space for years.

Tips for Choosing the Right Wood Plank for Your Project

When selecting a wood plank for your project, it’s important to consider both budget, and your specific needs. By taking these things into consideration, you can make a choice you’ll be happy with. Here are some tips to help you decide whether Douglas fir or Fraser fir planks are right for you:

Consider Your Budget

Costs of wood planks may differ significantly depending on the type, availability, and grade. Before diving into your project, take time to research pricing options and determine which one fits within your budget. Douglas fir is usually more economical compared to Fraser fir, due in large part to its wider availability. Fraser fir is often considered a more premium option, but both have their place in certain situations. Be sure to compare prices from different suppliers before committing to either wood.

Pro-tip: Remember! While some types of wood may be more expensive upfront, higher durability and low maintenance could save you money down the road.

Consider Your Needs

Strength & Stability:
If your project requires strong and stable wood planks that can withstand heavy loads or structural demands, Douglas fir may be a better choice as it has superior strength properties compared to Fraser fir.

Versatility & Aesthetics:
Both types of woods offer unique appearances suitable for various interior applications such as flooring, paneling or furniture making. However, if you're looking for something with distinct grain patterns and color variations that will stand out in any room setting - then Fraser Fir might be just what you need.

Maintenance Requirements:
While both types of woods require regular maintenance like sealing and staining every few years – especially when used outdoors – they differ in their susceptibility towards insects & decay which could affect how much time (and money) you'll need to invest in upkeep. Fraser fir is more resistant to decay, while Douglas fir may require additional treatments to protect it from pests and rot.

Environmental Impact:
When selecting wood planks for your project, consider the environmental impact of each option. Douglas and Fraser firs are both sustainably sourced, but they show a marked difference in growth rate – Douglas being quicker to mature than its counterpart. This could affect the overall sustainability of your choice.

Weighing the pros and cons of both species will aid in making a well-informed selection between Douglas Fir or Fraser Fir for your project. Remember that both types have their unique advantages and disadvantages – so carefully weigh them against each other before making a final decision.

Opting for the correct timber board for your venture is an essential choice, and with these tips you can ensure that it fulfills both your budget plan and requirements. 

Key Takeaway: To make the right choice of wood for your project, consider factors such as budget, maintenance requirements, and environmental impact. Douglas fir is more affordable, readily available, and stronger than Fraser fir but requires more upkeep. It’s important to look at the trade-offs of each option before deciding which is best for you.

Douglas Fir vs Fraser Fir FAQs

Douglas fir and Fraser fir are widely spread woods with unique characteristics. But what are some commonly asked questions in relation to each?

Which is better, Douglas fir vs Fraser fir?

Both Douglas and Fraser firs have their advantages. Douglas firs are stronger, more versatile, and less expensive, making them ideal for construction projects – especially those with tighter budgets. Fraser firs have a more distinct appearance and softer needles, so you can’t go wrong using one as a Christmas tree. Ultimately though, the choice depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Which lasts longer, Douglas fir or Fraser fir?

Fraser firs generally last longer due to their higher strength and resistance to decay compared to Douglas firs. However, both species can provide long-lasting results if properly maintained and protected from insects or moisture damage.

Which fir makes the best Christmas tree?

When it comes to choosing a species for your Christmas tree, Fraser firs are some of the best. Sturdy branches hold ornaments well, soft needles make decorating a lot less painful, and higher-than-average needle retention helps maintain freshness. Plus, the welcoming aroma of a Fraser fir adds holiday spirit to any home.

Is there a difference between fir and Douglas fir?

Yes. The term “fir” refers to an entire genus of evergreen coniferous trees called Abies within the Pinaceae family. There are about 50 different species of true firs worldwide including balsam fir, noble fir etc., whereas "Douglas fir" specifically refers to only one species - Pseudotsuga menziesii - which belongs to a separate genus, Pseudotsuga, and is not a true Fir. That doesn’t make it any less popular though!


Douglas fir and Fraser fir wood planks are beautiful choices if you’re remodeling or building a home. Depending on your specific needs though, one may be better suited than the other. If you’re looking for a more durable option that can withstand moisture or extreme temperatures, Douglas fir might be best. On the other hand, if you need something with a lighter weight but still strong enough to hold up against wear and tear? Go with Fraser fir.

Whatever you decide, it’s essential to consider all the merits and drawbacks of both in order to make a knowledgeable decision for your home improvement project.

For an easier – and no less beautiful – way to transform your home, check out Stikwood’s Douglas fir planks. Upgrade the look of any wall or ceiling quickly, easily, and affordably!