15 Different Types of Pine Wood for Floors and Furniture

Pine trees have a flexible wood which is durable and comes in a wide range of colors. It's also less expensive than other wood. Discover all the different types of pine wood you can use for flooring, furniture and cabinetry.

Log cabin interior with pine wood flooring

Pine trees have a flexible wood which is durable and comes in a wide range of colors. That’s why they are a great choice for interior woodwork why you need to read all about it here.

Pine trees are the most ubiquitous evergreen trees found in the northern hemisphere. In fact, the United States once was home to over 100 million acres of pine trees. Their number has since dwindled because of logging, but they remain as one of the most abundant trees in North America.

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HistoryFour types of pine wood

Humans have been benefitting from pine wood for centuries. The pine trees were often used to make log cabins. The earliest record of pine logging started from the 18th century when pine trees were chopped down and transported to mills by horses and the rushing torrents of rivers. Once in the mills, they were cut into boards and blocks to make furniture.

Even today, the beautiful and varied wood of pine trees is used to make furniture and flooring.

Pine trees can be divided into two main categories: soft pines and hard pines. Soft pine trees comprise of white pines, while hard pine trees consist of yellow pines, red pines and pinyon pines (which is seldom harvested).

White Pine WoodWhite pine timber

This category is characterized by pine trees with low density, fine texture, small resin canals and even grain. The trees in this group are predominantly white soft wood pines, with heartwood of light brown color with a slight pinkish tint. Its sapwood is very pale yellow to almost white. The wood is very durable and is resistant to swelling, splitting or warping. It has four prominent species: sugar pine, western white pine, eastern white pine and limber pine.

Sugar Pine

Species: Pinus lambertiana

Native to: Mountains of the Pacific coast of North America, from Oregon through California to Baja California.

Tree Size: 130-200 ft tall, 3-5 ft trunk diameter

Sugar pine is the largest species of pine and can attain a height of over 200 meters. Botanists have called it the most majestic species of pine in the world. When sawn, sugar pine wood shows brown streaks from the resin canals in tree trunk. Out of the four prominent species, sugar pine has the coarsest texture and largest resin canals.

This valuable wood is used in fine millwork, including exterior and interior trim work, such as frames, moldings and sashes as well as making musical instruments like piano keys.Different types of pine wood

Western White Pine

Species: Pinus monticola

Native to: The Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Range, the Coast Range and the northern Rocky Mountains.

Tree Size: 100-150 ft (30-46 m) tall, 3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Also known as silver pine, western white pine has an even grain and medium to coarse texture. The Western white wood is used to make plywood, veneer, boxed, wooden matches, interior millwork and construction lumber. Because of its even grain, the wood is ideal for carving and is prized for pattern making and fine furniture.

Eastern White Pine

Species: Pinus strobus

Native to: Eastern North America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft, 2-4 ft trunk diameter

Eastern white pine has a finer texture and smaller resins than the Western white pine and sugar pine. It is most commonly used as timber for construction in northeast United States. It is used in interior millwork, construction lumber, carving and boat-making. In fact, its wood once started a war. The white wood was so prized in ship-making; the king of England would mark the biggest and best trees for his navy, resulting in the Pine Tree Riot of 1772, which also contributed to the Revolutionary War.

Limber Pine

Species: Pinus flexilis

Native to: Mountains of the Western United States, Mexico, and Canada

Tree Size: 40-50 ft tall, 2-3 ft trunk diameter

Rocky Mountain White Pine or limber pine has very limited commercial value and is not used for limber. It is mostly used in fuelwood or rough construction.

Southern Yellow Pine WoodSouthern yellow pine timber

Southern yellow pines are the embodiment of perfect hard pine trees. Unlike soft pines, hard pines have a higher density, resulting in harder wood, uneven grain and an abrupt earlywood to latewood transition. Average dried weights for hard pine range from 28 to 42 pounds per cubic feet.

The wood from Southern yellow pines is extremely hard with a dried weight of 36 to 42 pounds per cubic feet. Their heartwood is reddish brown and their sapwood is yellowish white. Its four major species are the shortleaf pine, longleaf pine, slash pine and loblolly pine. It has several other minor species as well.

Shortleaf Pine

Native to: Eastern United States

Tree Size: 65-100 ft tall, 2-3 ft trunk diameter

Shortleaf pine is used for lumber production. What’s great about this beautiful wood is that it is quite affordable. The timber is used as a source of wood pulp, plywood veneer and lumber for heavy constructions like bridges, railroad tracks, beams and pulp.

Longleaf Pine

Species: Pinus palustris

Native to: Southeastern United States

Tree Size: 100-115 ft tall, 2-3 ft trunk diameter

The longleaf pine is prized because of its clear and straight wood, with few defects. It is used for timber and ship building. It is also used in interior and exterior construction; for stringers, poles, roof trusses, joists, piles, subflooring and sheathing.A plank of Southern yellow pine wood texture with detail grains

Slash Pine

Species: Pinus elliottii

Native to: Southeastern United States

Tree Size: 60-100 ft tall, 2-3 ft trunk diameter

The timber yielded from the slash pine is used in heavy construction, like beams, poles, bridges and railroad ties. It is also used as a source of plywood, wood pulp and veneers.

Loblolly Pine

Species: Pinus taeda

Native to: Southeastern United States

Tree Size: 100-115 ft tall, 1.5-5 ft trunk diameter

The strange thing about loblolly pine is that it does not have the characteristic scent of pine. The loblolly pine, like the slash pine, is used in heavy construction work like roof trusses, beams, stringers, joists and piles. However, it is also used to make furniture, composite boards, pallets, boxes and plywood.

Western Yellow Pine WoodPonderosa pine wood

The wood of this group is not as hard as the Southern yellow pines but not as soft as white pines either. Although they have an abrupt earlywood to latewood transitions, their weight is considerably light (only 28 to 29 pounds per cubic feet of average dried weight) and they have a more even grain. Their two main species, Lodgepole pine and Ponderosa pine, are so similar, they are marketed interchangeably.

Lodgepole Pine

Species: Pinus contorta

Native to: Western North America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft tall, 1-2 ft trunk diameter; size varies widely depending upon subspecies

The lodgepole pine is named so because Native Americans used to use them to make tipis and lodges. This type of pine has at least three subspecies that vary from short stubby trees to tall and slender trees. The heartwood of this tree is light red-yellow brown and the sapwood is yellowish white. The heartwood color is not delineated from the sapwood color and when flat-sawn, the wood exhibits pronounced dimples. Lodgepole wood is used for plywood, veneer, subflooring, sheathing, cabinetry, interior trim, poles and construction lumber.

Ponderosa Pine

Species: Pinus ponderosa

Native to: Western United States and Canada

Tree Size: 100-165 ft tall, 2-4 ft trunk diameter

The heartwood of Ponderosa pine is light red-yellow brown and the sapwood is yellowish white but unlike the lodgepole pine, they are demarcated. Ponderosa pine also have similar, though less prominent, dimpling than lodgepole pine.

The clear wood of Ponderosa pine is used for building doors, sashes, blinds, moldings, cabinetry, sheathing and subflooring. It is used to make crates and boxes as well. Knotty Ponderosa pine is a popular choice for interior woodwork

Red Pine WoodRed pine timber

This group only has one species in the United States and is related to two species found in Europe; the Austrian Pine and Scots Pine.

Red Pine

Species: Pinus resinosa

Native to: North America

Tree Size: 65-100 ft tall, 2-3 ft trunk diameter

Red pine is also called Norway pine, which is quite puzzling, since the species is not native to Norway. Some believe that the name arose when early European explorers mixed up the tree with Norway spruce.

Red Pine has a light reddish brown heartwood and pale yellow to nearly white sapwood. The grain of this wood is straight and even with a medium texture, not too fine but not too coarse either. It also has a somewhat oily feel.

The timber of red pine is used for poles, cabin logs, railway ties, lumber, pulpwood, fuel and construction lumber.

Uses of Pine Trees

FlooringPine tree timber used in flooring

Because of its beautiful colors, which range from almost pure white to reddish brown, pine wood is a popular choice for floorings. The timber is relatively soft and does not have the hard, brittle feel of other hardwoods.

Pine flooring comes in tongue and grove planking. Its planks are very smooth with almost no defects. However some believe, pine trees planks with knots, color variations and swirls — which are characteristics of lower grade flooring — actually look better, because they add character. Pine planks fit very tightly together and do not shift or move when hit with a mallet or block.

Trims and MoldingsYellow pine tree wood used for trim

One of the biggest uses of pine tree limber is as a trim product. The wood is used for doors and window frames, cabinets, baseboards, chair rails, fascia, picture frames, brick molds and crown molds. Since many types of pine have soft wood, it is flexible and can bend easily to fit into every nook and cranny. The wood can easily be patched, sanded and finished as nails drive into it easily.

Pine wood is also marketed as paint-grade because it takes tints well and comes in affordable prices. Oils, stains and clear finishes are used in pine moldings, giving the fixtures and furniture a rustic look, especially when cabinetry units are made.

DecksA deck or patio made from white pine timber

Pressure-treated pine is one of the most affordable options for deck building. If treated every year with water-repellant, pine can grow for upto 15 years. Some builders use pressure-treated pine for all types of framing, because of its moisture-resistant quality and use composites for deck board. Pine that is not pressure-treated should not be used for building decks at home.

Pine trees can have a life of 100 years to thousands of years. In fact, one Great Basin bristlecone pine is 5,068 years old. The original number of pines in North America has dwindled to a fraction of their population because of deforestation. Now, however, measures are being taken to replace the cut-down pine trees. Fortunately, these trees grow quickly, with some fast-growing varieties growing two feet or more each year.

If you are pining for some pine tree wood for your home, check out the above types. We are sure you’ll find one that best fits your home.

Return to all hardwood types here.

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