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Old 11-27-2007, 12:29 PM   #1
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


I picked up a fir stud at HD to use to install a baby gate on top of stairs. My old house had two stair posts that I used to secure the baby gate on, but my new house does not. So, I will secure the stud against the wall and secure the baby gate on top of that.

Does anyone know the difference between pine studs and fir studs? I picked the fir b/c it looked a bit more visually appealing.

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Old 11-27-2007, 01:18 PM   #2
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


What differences are you interested in?

Fir is generally less rot-resistant than pine, although there are different kinds of fir, and different kinds of pine, so that's not always true. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's much difference.

I usually don't get framing lumber at HD because it's equivalent to the 2nd Quality 2x4s at my lumber yard, and it's not much cheaper than the 1st quality stuff. Much less waste and aggravation with the good stuff, in my limited experience.

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Old 11-27-2007, 01:59 PM   #3
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


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What differences are you interested in?

Fir is generally less rot-resistant than pine, although there are different kinds of fir, and different kinds of pine, so that's not always true. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's much difference.

I usually don't get framing lumber at HD because it's equivalent to the 2nd Quality 2x4s at my lumber yard, and it's not much cheaper than the 1st quality stuff. Much less waste and aggravation with the good stuff, in my limited experience.

The stud will be used indoors, so my primary question was whether fir is a better quality and whether it's as strong as pine. I've never heard of anyone using fir for framing, so I was surprised to see fir studs.
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Old 11-27-2007, 02:07 PM   #4
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


I think spruce, pine, and fir are used interchangeably for framing lumber. Personally, I think of fir as the lowest quality of those three, but that might be due to the type of fir we have around here. White pine is a far superior wood. FWIW, I think the 2x4s at HD are always labeled Fir. Probably a safe guess then that fir is the cheapest wood available.
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:11 PM   #5
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


My observation is fir studs stay truer longer. I've bot standard grade 2x4s from HD that warped after a week while the fir stayed true.
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:14 PM   #6
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


I should add the caveat that my experience with wood is not as a framer, it's as a furniture maker. Fir and spruce are not furniture woods, by any means, so take my opinions on them with a grain of salt. White pine is more attractive, I think, and is more rot-resistant than the other two, although that's probably not a concern for your application. I consider pine to be fairly stable. Whether wood warps has a lot to do with how it was sawn, and how it is stored too.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:04 PM   #7
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


Framing lumber varies depending on availability and location. Occasionally a specific type of framing lumber is specified when a specific strength is required, such as for headers, trusses, or load bearing walls.

Generally, you find SPF lumber in most places. A combination of Spruce / Pine / Fir. This lumber is at the bottom of the strength scale as far as tensile strength is concerned. It's good for studs because all the weight bears down on the lumber. It is not as strong as other types of lumber when used in a header. Not sure, but I think spruce and fir are a little stronger than pine because they are slower-growth and therefore are a little more dense.

Other types of lumber from weakest to strongest are Hemlock, Hem-Fir, SYP (southern yellow pine), Douglas Fir, Doug-fir-larch.

For what you are working on, looks is probably the most important thing... I wouldn't worry about anything else for that project. If you are concerned about the holding power of your fasteners, screws and such will certainly pull out of SPF and other types of softwood lumber as well. As far as screws are concerned, they hold best in hardwoods like oak, cherry, hickory, etc.
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Old 11-27-2007, 07:47 PM   #8
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


Douglas Fir is the framing lumber of choice here in the Northeast. They seem to be much straighter than anything else you can get. You pay a little extra but its well worth it.
My brother had an attached garage built and he told the framer he got a lumber quote from Home Depot and the framer said he wouldnt even do the job if he bought Home Depot lumber. Food for thought....
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:29 PM   #9
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


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My brother had an attached garage built and he told the framer he got a lumber quote from Home Depot and the framer said he wouldnt even do the job if he bought Home Depot lumber. Food for thought....
I am in the process of building an attached garage. I made a material list of the framing lumber I needed and faxed a copy to HD, Lowes and a couple of local lumber yards requesting quotes. Lowes had the best price for the same lumber the other 3 quoted. HD and Lowes did not stock the lumber but could get it in a couple of days. The lumber, except for studs, was # 2 douglas fir.
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Old 11-28-2007, 05:05 AM   #10
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


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I am in the process of building an attached garage. I made a material list of the framing lumber I needed and faxed a copy to HD, Lowes and a couple of local lumber yards requesting quotes. Lowes had the best price for the same lumber the other 3 quoted. HD and Lowes did not stock the lumber but could get it in a couple of days. The lumber, except for studs, was # 2 douglas fir.
I guess you'd have to see it. Just because its Doug Fir doesnt mean its straight. It all depends on how and where its been stored before purchase. Was it wet and then stacked on an uneven surface? My experience with any of those places around here are pretty poor. That doesnt mean its not better at your stores in your area.
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Old 11-28-2007, 08:03 AM   #11
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Pine vs. Fir Studs


Was it wet and then stacked on an uneven surface?

The douglas fir was dry and straight. When setting the joists and rafters it tooks several sightings on some boards to decide which side had the crown. The only complaint I had with Lowes was delivery. They didn't realize until the day of delivery that the lumber was too long for their delivery truck.

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