Choosing the Right Timber: Douglas Fir, Western Larch, and Western Red Cedar

Characteristics, Benefits, and Best Uses for Each Species
April 26, 2023 by
Choosing the Right Timber: Douglas Fir, Western Larch, and Western Red Cedar
Gabriel I Mease
| No comments yet

Selecting the right timber species for your construction project is essential to ensure durability, aesthetics, and overall performance. At Montana Custom Beams, we specialize in providing high-quality Douglas Fir, Western Larch, and Western Red Cedar timbers to meet the diverse needs of contractors and timber framers. In this article, we will explore the characteristics, benefits, and best uses for each of these species to help you make an informed decision for your project.

Douglas Fir: Strength and Versatility

Douglas Fir is one of the most popular timber species in North America, known for its strength, stiffness, and durability. Its characteristics make it an ideal choice for a wide range of construction applications, including: Structural framing, Timber framing, Flooring, Roofing, and Siding

Douglas Fir offers both inland and coastal variants, with coastal Douglas Fir being slightly stronger and denser than its inland counterpart. The wood has a light reddish-brown color, with tight, straight grain patterns that are visually appealing and easy to work with.

Western Larch: Hardiness and Beauty

Western Larch is a lesser-known but equally impressive timber species. With its high density, stability, and decay resistance, Western Larch is an excellent choice for projects requiring strong, durable materials. Common uses for Western Larch include: Timber framing, Structural components, Siding, Decking, and Flooring.

Western Larch timber is characterized by its distinct golden-orange color, which deepens over time. The wood also features tight, straight grain patterns, making it attractive and easy to work with for a variety of applications.

Western Red Cedar: Lightweight and Natural Resistance

Western Red Cedar is renowned for its natural beauty and resistance to decay, making it a popular choice for outdoor construction projects. Its lightweight, easy-to-work-with nature, and natural resistance to insects, decay, and moisture make it ideal for applications such as: Siding, Decking, Fencing, Outdoor furniture, Gazebos and pergolas.

The wood's rich reddish-brown color, combined with its straight grain and subtle aromatic scent, adds a touch of warmth and elegance to any project. Western Red Cedar also boasts excellent insulation properties, making it a suitable choice for energy-efficient construction. Untreated, Western Red Cedar will develop a silver patina that shimmers in the sunlight and presents a timeless rustic appearance. 


Choosing the right timber species for your construction project is crucial to ensure optimal performance, durability, and aesthetics. By understanding the characteristics, benefits, and best uses of Douglas Fir, Western Larch, and Western Red Cedar, you can make an informed decision to suit your specific needs. Regardless of the species that you choose, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest quality timber products and expert guidance to ensure the success of their construction projects. Reach out to our team for personalized advice and support in selecting the perfect timber for your next project.

Share this post
Sign in to leave a comment