Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir: Which is Best for Your Home Improvement Project?

Starting a home improvement project? Looking to transform your living space? 

Comparing the cost, durability, appearance, and maintenance requirements are important factors to consider when investing in wood planks. This is particularly true when researching two of the nation’s most popular woods: noble fir and Douglas fir. 

Does Douglas fir’s availability and longevity make it the better choice? Or do you prefer wood planks with a lower impact on the environment? In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences in pricing, durability, appearance, maintenance requirements and environmental impact of noble fir vs Douglas fir. With all these factors taken into account – from initial cost to long-term sustainability – you’ll be able to make an informed choice about which wood is best suited for your needs. Let’s dive into our analysis of noble fir vs douglas fir.


Noble fir and Douglas fir are popular woods due to their strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. These trees have a lot in common but there are some differences to keep in mind when deciding between the two as well.

Noble Fir Characteristics

The noble fir is an impressive evergreen conifer, reaching heights of up to 200 feet and living for centuries. The noble fir’s bark has a distinctive orange-brown color with deep furrows running down the length of the trunk. Its needles are soft and bluish-green in color. 

Noble fir has a light yellowish-white sapwood with a white to reddish-brown heartwood that darkens slightly over time when exposed to sunlight. Noble fir is acclaimed for its remarkable robustness, stability, and rigidity in comparison to other coniferous woods like hemlock. In addition, it resists decay well – making it ideal for outdoor use where exposure to moisture may be an issue. Its fine grain patterns make it highly sought after by furniture makers and artisans, while its ability to hold nails makes it suitable for construction projects like framing houses or building decks and fences.

Additionally, noble fir is an excellent choice for flooring in high traffic areas that see a lot of wear and tear. Fine grain patterns give artisans the perfect canvas to create beautiful pieces of furniture. Furthermore, this wood species takes finishes very nicely, giving any project an elegant look without sacrificing performance or longevity. This is why it’s often used in cabinetry work in high traffic areas like kitchens or bathrooms where water is present.

Due to its popularity among builders and homeowners alike – coupled with limited availability from managed forests within North America – lumber from noble fir isn’t always easy to find. Although it can be challenging to source, there are several vendors that offer both air-dried and kiln-dried noble fir lumber at affordable rates. If you know where to look, you shouldn’t have much of a problem getting the materials you need.

Noble fir is a great option for those looking to add an elegant touch of nature to their home or office. Its distinctive qualities make it the ideal choice for many different projects and provides plenty of options for customizing your living space.

Douglas fir offers similar features, with a few distinct differences that may make it more suitable depending on your needs. We’ll examine in detail in the following section.

Key Takeaway: Noble fir is an ideal choice for projects like furniture and flooring, due to its superior strength and durability when compared to other softwoods. It takes finishes nicely and has moderate resistance to decay, making it perfect for outdoor use. Supplies can be limited, however, so make sure you shop around if you want the best deal.

Douglas Fir Characteristics

The Douglas fir is a coniferous species native to the Pacific Northwest that boasts outstanding strength and longevity, making it the ideal choice for construction projects like framing, flooring, paneling and furniture-making. Its wood features unique grain patterns with varying colors from light yellowish brown to dark, reddish brown. Douglas fir also has strong knots that add character and texture to any project.

When it comes to characteristics, Douglas fir is one of the strongest softwoods available today. It has a high bending strength rating which makes it perfect for use in structural applications such as beams or joists. It also has excellent dimensional stability due to its low shrinkage rate when exposed to moisture or humidity changes in the environment. Additionally, Douglas fir resists decay better than other softwoods thanks to its natural oils. It is moderately susceptible to infestations by insects, though. This makes proper sealing and maintenance especially important when installed in areas where infestation is more likely.

Douglas fir planks can be utilized both indoors and outdoors, thanks to their natural resistance to water damage and rot. Inside the home, this wood is a popular choice for framing walls and ceilings, installing hardwood floors, and millwork like baseboards, crown moldings and door casings as well as window sills. It’s also often used in furniture-making such as tables, chairs, beds, and dressers. Outdoors, it has countless uses – from fencing, decking, and siding to playground equipment, flagpoles, greenhouses and sandboxes.

Noble fir and Douglas fir woods each have unique characteristics that make them suitable for a number of applications both indoors and outdoors. But which one provides the best value for its price? What wood will stand the test of time?

Key Takeaway: Douglas fir is known for its robustness and stability, making it suitable for constructing walls, ceilings, joists, beams, and furniture. It has moderate resistance to decay so it’s also a nice option for outdoor projects like fencing and patios.

Durability Comparison of Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir

Considering the longevity of noble fir and Douglas fir requires thinking about a few different elements. Moisture and bug-resistance are significant components when selecting the optimal wood for a job. Both types of wood have good resistance to moisture, but insect infestations can pose an issue if precautions aren’t taken. Additionally, both types of wood are highly fire-resistant because they contain resins that help protect against heat.

In terms of resistance to moisture, noble fir comes out slightly ahead due to its high density. Noble fir also has a tighter grain pattern which makes it more resistant to splitting or cracking from changes in temperature or humidity levels. It’s also naturally rot-resistant so it can stand up well against exposure from rain or snowfall over time without deteriorating. That being said, both woods do fine when used in outdoor applications like fencing and decking. 

Douglas fir doesn’t quite match the moisture protection that noble fir offers, but it still stands up to most projects where heavy exposure isn’t expected on a regular basis – like interior walls or ceilings in dry climates. Its grain pattern and density lends Douglas fir more sturdiness than other softwoods, while its light weight makes installation easy for applications like flooring, decking, fencing, siding, and trim work around windows and doors.

Comparing the durability of noble fir and Douglas fir highlights the differences in resistance to moisture and insects, as well as fire. Moving on, let’s explore the distinct appearances of these two wood species for a better understanding of their color variations and grain patterns.

Key Takeaway: Noble fir and Douglas fir are both resistant to moisture, but can be susceptible to insect infestations if not properly cared for. Tight grain patterns provide excellent protection against splitting or cracking occurring from changes in temperature or humidity levels, while their light weight makes installation a breeze.

Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir - Differences in Appearance

When comparing the appearance of noble fir and Douglas fir, it’s important to consider variations in color and grain patterns, as well as the likelihood of knots and blemishes. Noble fir displays a pale yellow-brown hue with tinges of red that deepen as it matures. The wood has an even grain pattern which gives it an attractive, elegant look when finished. It also contains small knots that add character without compromising its strength or versatility. 

Douglas fir has greater variation in its range of colors, from creamy white to light browns with streaks of red and yellow throughout. Its grain pattern is slightly coarser than noble fir but still provides a beautiful finish when stained or sealed. It contains larger knots than noble fir but they aren’t considered structural defects due to their size and shape.

Due to its base coloration, noble fir readily absorbs darker tones when stained, whereas Douglas fir tends to remain much brighter despite staining efforts, since its natural hues are already quite vibrant. To put it another way, noble fir’s coloring is more muted than that of Douglas fir and therefore it takes on a richer hue when treated. Furthermore, the difference between these two types of wood can be seen in how easily they take on stain – while noble fir has a tendency to darken easily due to its paler complexion, Douglas remains relatively unchanged.

Noble fir and Douglas fir planks are both visually appealing types of wood, however there are some subtle differences between the two that should be taken into account when making a decision. When choosing between noble fir and Douglas fir, it’s essential to think about the upkeep demands for each wood in order to guarantee long-term contentment with your selection.

Douglas fir and noble fir planks make a great choice for any home or office, but it’s important to consider the cost comparison between each before investing in either wood.

Key Takeaway: Noble fir offers a more subtle look with its pale yellow-brown hue that deepens over time, while douglas fir is brighter and remains vibrant when stained. Noble fir absorbs darker tones readily due to its lighter base coloration, whereas douglas fir resists stain as it has naturally vivid hues.

Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir - Comparing the Costs

When comparing the cost of noble fir and Douglas fir, there are a few factors to consider. The price per square foot of wood can differ based on type, quality, and availability. In general, noble fir lumber is harder to source and comes with a higher price tag. This doesn’t make it a bad choice but advanced planning may be needed, especially if you’re working with a more limited budget or timeframe.

Installation costs should also be taken into account when budgeting for your project. Prices will depend largely on the complexity of the job, as well as the experience of your chosen contractor. All in all, it’s important to do your research before making any final decisions about which type of wood will best suit your needs – both financially and aesthetically.

When it comes to cost, noble fir and Douglas fir are relatively comparable – though noble fir is usually a bit more expensive. Installation expenses will differ depending on the difficulty and size of your project. But how can you keep your noble fir or Douglas fir planks looking their best? Let’s look further at the maintenance requirements of each.

Maintaining Douglas Fir and Noble Fir Planks

To keep noble fir and Douglas fir planks looking their best throughout their lifetime, some regular upkeep is necessary. This is especially important when they’re used in exterior applications where moisture and exposure to severe weather conditions is more likely.

Cleaning and Sealing

When used as flooring, both types of wood should be swept or vacuumed regularly to remove buildup of dirt and dust. If exposed to moisture, wiping with a dry cloth may be necessary. Additionally, both woods require sealing at least once every few years in order to protect them from water damage and rot. Sealants also help preserve the color of noble fir and Douglas fir planks by preventing fading from sunlight exposure.

To clean noble fir and Douglas fir planks, use a mix of a mild detergent and warm water. Wipe down your planks and allow time to dry. Doing this on a regular basis ensures your walls will stay beautiful for decades to come.

Repairing Damaged Boards

Over time, boards made from noble fir and Douglas fir can become damaged due to wear and tear or accidental impacts such as dropping heavy objects on them. When this happens, it’s important that you repair the board as soon as possible to prevent further damage from occurring. This usually involves sanding down rough spots or filling in cracks with wood filler before applying a new sealant over the entire surface area. Doing so will maintain protection against moisture and UV rays and refreshes the appearance of your planks.

Refinishing is an option for those who want a fresh look without replacing their existing planks entirely. Refinishing gives homeowners a lot of options depending on the desired outcome – whether that means staining floorboards darker for more contrast or giving them a light wash of paint for added texture. There are plenty of ways you can customize your space while still maintaining its natural charm!

Maintaining noble fir and Douglas fir planks requires regular cleaning, sealing, and repairing to ensure the longevity of your investment. Another factor to consider when selecting wood planks for a building project is their environmental impact. Let’s examine how these two varieties of lumber fare in terms of sustainability and availability. 

Refinishing is an option for those who want a fresh look without replacing their existing planks entirely. With refinishing comes various options depending on your desired outcome; whether it's staining your floorboards darker for more contrast or giving them a light wash of paint for added texture - there are plenty of ways you can customize your space while still maintaining its natural charm.

Environmental Impact of Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir

When it comes to the environmental impact of noble fir and Douglas fir, there are a few key considerations. Sustainable harvesting practices, carbon footprint, and recyclability all play a role in determining which wood is the right choice for your home or office project.

Sustainable Harvesting Practices

Both noble fir and Douglas fir are harvested from managed forests that use responsible forestry techniques. Logging operations are conducted with care to ensure that trees aren’t excessively cut down or harmed. Additionally, replanting efforts help maintain healthy forests for future generations. That being said, noble fir can be more difficult to source and may come with a higher price tag.

Carbon Footprint

Noble fir has a lower carbon footprint than Douglas fir due to its slower growth rate and longer harvest cycle time. This means less energy is required to produce boards made with noble fir compared to those made with lumber from Douglas fir.


Both types of wood can be recycled if they become damaged or worn out over time; however, because of its higher density, Douglas fir may need more energy to recycle than noble fir. Additionally, both woods can be used as mulch or compost when properly shredded into small pieces before being disposed of. 

Note: When disposing of shredded noble fir and Douglas fir planks, be sure to do so responsibly in designated areas far away from waterways and wildlife habitats.

Key Takeaway: When it comes to wood planks for home or office projects, noble fir and Douglas fir both have responsible harvesting practices, but noble fir has a lower carbon footprint due to its slower growth rate. Both woods can also be recycled when needed.

Noble Fir vs Douglas Fir FAQs

How do you tell a noble fir from a Douglas fir?

Noble fir and Douglas fir are both species of coniferous trees in the genus Abies. Noble fir is known for its tall, straight trunk with sparse branches that extend outward horizontally from the top. Its needles are bluish-green and 1 to 2 inches long. Douglas fir has shorter needles which range between ½ to ¾ of an inch long. It has reddish-brown bark with ridges running along the surface, whereas noble fir features smoother bark without ridges of furrows. Additionally, Douglas fir cones are more rounded and have a scaly texture compared to the waxy texture of noble firs.

Is noble fir the best Christmas tree?

No, noble fir isn’t the best Christmas tree – though it can work as one. While it has a beautiful shape and can last for weeks when properly cared for, its needles are quite sharp which makes it more difficult to handle. Noble fir also doesn’t hold decorations well due to its waxy texture and fragility of the branches. Other types of trees such as fraser firs have softer needles that make ornaments easier to hang, while still lasting through the holiday season without shedding needles excessively.

What fir makes the best Christmas tree?

The best type of Christmas tree is the fraser fir. It has strong, long-lasting needles and good needle retention, making it ideal for those who want to keep their trees looking great throughout the holiday season. The fraser fir also has an inviting aroma that will fill your home or office with festive cheer. Additionally, its branches are well suited for hanging decorations and lights without bending or drooping. For a truly beautiful and festive Christmas tree, the fraser fir is an excellent choice.

What is the difference between fir and Douglas fir?

Noble fir and Douglas firs are both coniferous trees, but they do have some noticeable differences. Noble fir has a straight grain with small knots, while Douglas fir has larger knots and an interlocked or wavy grain pattern. Additionally, noble fir is lighter in color than Douglas fir which tends to be darker brown. In terms of strength and durability, Douglas fir is generally considered superior due to its higher density.


Noble fir and Douglas fir both make great options for home improvement projects, indoors and outdoors. When it comes to cost, durability, appearance and maintenance requirements, the decision can be difficult. Ultimately though, considering these factors – along with the environmental impact of each – will help you decide between the two. 

For a DIY method of transforming your home or office while staying naturally beautiful, offers easy to install, peel-and-stick solutions. Take a look at our noble fir and Douglas fir wood planks today!