The Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) group consists of four main species — shortleaf, longleaf, loblolly, and slash. Recognized for its strength and density, lumber design values for SYP are the highest of all softwood species commonly used in structural applications. SYP has long been the preferred species for pressure treatment because of its unique cellular structure that permits deep, uniform penetration of preservatives. Southern Pine offers a distinct grain pattern and an appealing golden colour. Because of this natural beauty, exposed Southern Yellow Pine provides architectural appeal.
During the age of sail, tall white pines with high quality wood were known as mast pines. In colonial times, they were marked for ship building by agents of the Crown with the “broad arrow” and reserved for the British Royal Navy. The sapwood of Eastern White Pine is nearly white to pale yellowish white. The heartwood is cream coloured to light brown or reddish brown, turning much darker on exposure. Due to its ease of working, stability and ability to hold paint, Eastern White Pine is an appropriate choice for furniture, siding, flooring, panelling, and other mill work.
Douglas Fir is North America’s most plentiful softwood species, accounting for one fifth of the continent’s total softwood reserves. Because Douglas Fir and Larch share nearly identical structural characteristics and physical working properties, the two are interchangeable in dimension lumber but are often kept separate in appearance grade lumber. The Douglas Fir-Larch species group is dimensionally stable and universally recognized for its superior strength-to-weight ratio.
The Hem-Fir species combination is one of the most important in the Western region, second only to the Douglas Fir-Larch species group in terms of abundance, production volumes, strength, and versatility in end use. Hem-Fir is a species combination of Western Hemlock and five of the True Firs: California Red Fir, Grand Fir, Noble Fir, Pacific Silver Fir, and White Fir. While Western Hemlock and the True Firs are sometimes marketed separately in products graded for appearance, they share similar design values making lumber graded for structural applications interchangeable.
Ponderosa Pine is one of the Western pine species that includes Idaho White Pine, Sugar Pine and Lodgepole Pine. Ponderosa Pine has a minimal amount of reddish-brown heartwood and exceptionally wide sapwood which is honey-toned or straw-like in colour. It has a straight, uniform grain which machines to a clear, smooth surface. Ponderosa Pine is often specified when appearance rather than strength is of primary importance.
This species combination, classed as moderately strong, is cross-continental in origin. Because of similar design values, the combination includes Engelmann and Sitka spruces and Lodgepole Pine from the West, along with Balsam Fir, Jack Pine, Red Pine and several species of spruce from the U.S. Northeast. Spruce-Pine-Fir (South) design values make it appropriate for general framing applications. In the higher, structural light framing grades, dimension products are appropriate for light trusses and other engineered applications.
Western Red, Incense, Port Orford and Alaskan Yellow cedars are grouped together for similar performance properties. The heartwood of these species is naturally durable against the harsh effects of exposure to the elements. They are favourites for decks, cladding, planters, fences, and other outdoor amenities such as screened porches, greenhouses, pool-side structures, arbours, and trellises. The sapwood of these species also pressure treats well with preservatives for added durability.