When planning a timber frame home or other building, consumers are often asked to choose from a variety of wood species. Eastern White Pine is one of the most popular choices, found in heavy timber frame construction all over the United States and beyond. What makes this pale softwood ideal for this type of building?
Eastern White Pine is especially popular in the Northeast, since it’s grown locally, and therefore its environmental footprint is smaller than when shipping in other species of wood grown farther away. It’s also sustainably grown in mixed hardwood forests, allowed to reach great heights and serve an important role in the ecosystem before it’s harvested. Softwoods grow faster than hardwoods, and pine trees are among the first to mature in a developing forest, making them highly renewable.
You might think that the heavy beams of a timber frame home would require a strong hardwood species. Eastern White Pine’s softness makes it easy to work with, but more importantly, this particular species is quite strong for its weight, and doesn’t have as much of a tendency to twist as some hardwoods, like oak. Because it grows so tall, it’s easy to find Eastern White Pine timber that spans as much as twenty feet across.
Eastern White Pine also doesn’t shrink as much as many other species when properly treated, and has a strong cross-grain fiber that prevents it from ‘checking’ too much. A check is a split that runs parallel to the grain, affecting the sturdiness of the wood.
For many consumers, Eastern White Pine is also a natural choice because it’s so economical. Talk to your local timber framing company about sourcing high-quality sustainable Eastern White Pine for your project.
Image via: Woodhouse Timber Frame Company