douglas fir flooring

Is Douglas Fir Flooring Right for Your Home? Pros and Cons

When it comes to wood flooring, they can never go wrong in making any space or room more compelling. Wood floors are more flexible and versatile compared to floors made of other materials.

From classic to modern homes, urban to country style homes, Douglas fir flooring is one of the extraordinary types of wood flooring. However, few know its benefits for floorings because of its soft characteristic.

It is a soft, light, and sustainable wood. And most importantly, they make beautiful wood floorings that will enhance the appearance of any interior.

douglas fir flooring

Characteristics of Douglas Fir Wood Flooring

In general, Douglas fir is a species of softwood with the highest rating. It is considered one of the most widely used wood species, especially for decking, home interiors and construction. So, what are the characteristics of Douglas fir flooring?

  • No matter the cuts, each Douglas fir floors plank you receive will look the same as the others.
  • The color of this type of flooring is a mix of orange and brown, with long and straight grains throughout the wood. Hence, the natural appearance and color of this wood flooring help give your home a more comfortable and country feeling.
  • A Douglas fir wood can regularly grow to a considerable height. You can most likely get the same length of boards for your flooring if you desire.
  • Unfortunately, softwood flooring can be easily damaged without proper care and when maintenance is not carried out regularly.
  • Douglas fir is an average-priced type of wood flooring.
douglas fir wood

Douglas Fir Wood Properties

Douglas fir, also known as Oregon pine or yellow pine, is a widely used wood in construction due to its strength-to-weight ratio and ease of workability.

This tree can grow up to 75 meters tall, making it one of the largest conifers in the world. Despite its common name, Douglas fir is not a fir tree but rather a member of the pine family.

It is native to western North America but has also been widely planted in Europe for reforestation.

In terms of its characteristics, Douglas fir wood has pale yellow sapwood and yellowish brown heartwood.

The color of the wood can change with age, with a clear difference between sapwood and heartwood.

The grain is medium to coarse, and the wood is semi-heavy with a density of about 540 kg/m3 at 12% humidity.

It is semi-hard with a hardness of 3.2 on the Monnin test and is moderately durable against fungi but susceptible to insect attack.

The wood also has moderate dimensional stability, with a volumetric contraction coefficient of 0.46% and strong mechanical properties, including a compressive strength of 525 kg/cm2, a static bending resistance of 860 kg/cm2, and a modulus of elasticity of 128,000 kg/cm2.

The heartwood is not impregnable, but the sapwood is medium to little impregnable.


Working with Douglas fir wood is generally easy.

It can be easily sawn, dried with little risk of cracking or resin exudations, and glued without any problems. Nailing and screwing are also not a problem.

However, when brushing the wood, small problems may arise due to the appearance of resin deposits.

To achieve a uniform look, applying a primer before finishing is recommended. The price of Douglas fir is considered moderate.

Douglas fir wood Uses

Douglas fir wood is versatile and can be used in various ways. It is commonly used to make indoor and outdoor furniture and for assembly carpentry.

Additionally, it is often used in interior and exterior carpentry projects such as doors, windows, and friezes.

It can also be used to make sheets and plywood boards, as well as in paper manufacturing.

Douglas fir is also a good source of firewood and is suitable for use as barrel staves, posts, and even in naval building.

doug fir flooring

Douglas Fir wood Flooring Pros and Cons

Due to the wear and tear of Douglas fir floor boards, many homeowners prefer this softer wood material, and some don’t. So, what are the pros and cons of using Douglas fir flooring?


  • It is relatively light but maintains good strength.
  • It has a high quality to adapt to all weather and conditions.
  • It is resistant to decay and is ideal for building in areas subject to high winds or prone to earthquakes.
  • Longer storage life, or in other words, it is durable. 
  • It is easy to refinish and also easy to maintain.
  • It is considered a sustainable type of wood floor.


  • Cost more than other softwood floorings. 
  • It is susceptible to insect attack.
  • It has a moderate blackout effect on cutters.
  • Since it is a very soft type of wood, it can scratch and dent easily.

Different types of fir floors include Spruce and Douglas fir

Douglas fir is considered stronger than other fir trees and is good for hardwood floors.

It is important to choose wood resistant to dents when selecting hardwood floors. Douglas firs meet this requirement, while other types of fir may not be as durable.

Fir floors made from Douglas fir are medium in hardness, light in weight and strong. They are versatile and fit well with different interior decoration styles, from classic country to modern. They are resistant to wear and tear.

Douglas firs, native to the high-altitude forests of the Rocky Mountains, are often used for commercial purposes.

They grow rapidly and have light and dark layers, creating a unique vertical grain pattern for flooring. The light layers are smooth, while the dark layers are stronger.

The appearance of fir floors made from Douglas fir can vary depending on how they are cut and treated.

Decorative techniques like wire brushing, re-sawing, and circular sawing can create different looks that can complement different decor styles. For example, heavy cut resawn fir gives a rougher, more rustic appearance.

Manufacturers may add saw marks to dry Douglas fir boards for flooring to prevent cupping and warping. Spruce floors can be used for rustic look and change color over time if exposed to direct sunlight.

The grain is mostly straight with some waves or spirals, and is vertical. Fir floors, like other hardwood, can last many years with proper maintenance.

Douglas Fir Flooring Alternatives

Douglas fir wood can be used for various needs. This type of wood can be used for the flooring, furniture, and home construction industries. The high strength and density of Douglas fir make it an attractive choice. However, there are other alternatives to Douglas fir flooring, such as:

Ash Wood Flooring

Thanks to its hardness and durability, Ash flooring is ideal for high-strength applications. The strong contrast between its dark heartwood and young sapwood often results in vibrant patterns with rich tone colors.

Ash flooring is relatively hard and acquires a warm golden color over time.

Oak Wood Flooring

Oak wood is often used as durable parquet flooring. This oak wood floor has a distinctive appearance and feels natural, close enough to resemble Douglas fir flooring.

Finishing an oak wood floor is easy and capable of producing a beautiful and warm impression.

douglas fir wood flooring

How to Install Douglas Fir Flooring

Light-colored Douglas fir flooring comes in strips and is installed like any other solid wood flooring.

However, it is considered a softwood and requires a different finishing process. Even those with little to no experience can easily install Douglas fir flooring in one or two days, depending on the project’s size and scope.

Use a hammer to drive in subfloor nails. Secure the loose plywood subfloor with 3-inch screws to prevent movement after installing Douglas fir.

Clean the plywood by sweeping it with a broom, then vacuum any remaining debris. Use a putty knife to remove trapped compounds in drywall or other materials.

Apply basic felt paper to plywood. Roll out the felt paper on a wall and staple it at 12-inch intervals along its length. Trim any excess paper on the wall with a razor. Overlap the paper 6 inches at the seams.

Snap a chalk line 3/4 inches away from the wall. Determine the direction of the floor joists by looking at the nails in the plywood. Align the line with the direction of the floor joists.

Align the first row with a chalk line. Assemble Douglas fir by fitting tongue and groove together, tongue facing wall side. Use a finishing nailer to lay the course, driving nails through the surface.

Install the next row by offsetting the end joints. Insert the groove of the new strip into the tab of the previous strip and tap it into place using the rubber hammer that came with the flooring nailer.

Place the flooring nailer on the ground, aligning the slot in the bottom with the floor groove. Once positioned, use a hammer to strike the top of the nails, driving them into the front of the flooring.

Install the remaining Douglas fir, staggering the strips. Cut the last strip on the opposite wall; if too large, cut the tongue, not the groove. Nail final strips through the face, as there will be room for flooring nailer.

douglas fir flooring

Best Finish for Douglas Fir Flooring

Softwood fibers, such as Douglas fir, usually have uneven grain patterns. The fiber pattern and also the knots of this type of wood will cause a different color effect after the stain is applied during the finishing process.

It is best to apply a darker stain to show the sharpness of the wood grain. Thus, softwood requires sand sealer or wood filler, so the stain infiltration will be more even.

Therefore, using the right stain, Douglas fir flooring can be more attractive in the right hands. A key factor is to open up the wood pores with sandpaper to allow stain penetration.

Meanwhile, there are two best finishing methods when it comes to Douglas fir flooring:

Gel-Based Stains

A gel-based stain is thicker or almost in the form of a paste than other stains. If you want to clean Douglas fir flooring, you have to use thinner. This gel-based stain is more difficult to apply. Hence, the finish will be very dirty if it’s not done properly.

Although difficult to apply, this gel-based stain will give the appearance of a smoother wood surface. Colors that usually appear on the wood floor will be sharper and avoid the problem of rising wood oil. 

Clear Coat Polyurethane

A clear coat polyurethane is a medium-based varnish. It has the advantage of giving a high gloss effect, provides resistance to UV rays and extreme weather changes, wood floor doesn’t turn yellow easily, and also has a very good drying speed.