7 Reasons why douglas fir is a happy substitute for teak

Teak has always occupied a special place in the culture and history of tropical regions. In many Asian countries, century-old structures in teak are fairly commonplace and stand strong as a testament to the superior aesthetics, versatility and exceptional durability of the species.

However, when considered in the modern context, teak is fast moving out of reach of the average consumer due to its price and is also losing popularity due to unsteady quality of supply. Also, more and more consumers today are making environmentally responsible choices, where teak does not fit the bill.

Happily for customers though, there is a very promising alternative to teak now available in India. Douglas fir is a popular Canadian Wood species that displays properties comparable to teak in terms of visual appeal, multi-utility and strength, making it worth considering for any structural or interior design project.

Highly recommended for making innovative large structures or open plan spaces in wood, douglas fir is also popular for solid wood furniture, wooden doors and windows, interior design and carving projects. Its slight pink cast and colour variation from light “straw” in the sapwood through to a deep russet brown in the heartwood, and strong grain pattern makes it a winner all round

Here are seven reasons to give douglas fir a serious thought for your next project:

Extraordinary strength to weight ratio

Douglas fir is exceptionally strong and light-weight, which makes it very easy to handle and work with.It has two times the tensile strength to weight ratio relative to steel and greater compressive resistance strength than concrete. Its strength makes it the perfect species for modern construction technologies like post and beam construction and glu-laminated beams. It is available in large sizes which are preferable for structural applications.

Beauty & versatility

Douglas fir offers a range of stain and finishing options that can complement and support any design vision. The wood can be shaped and planed very well to achieve complex, innovative outcomes.

Perfect for carvings

For any kind of intricate carving applications, douglas fir presents the perfect canvas. Its superior workability enables artists to successfully translate designs into beautifully carved wood pieces.

Great nail and screw holding capacity

When used in any project, including solid wood doors and windows, douglas fir joinery exhibits great longevity due to its superior nail and screw holding capacity, glue-ability and resistance to splitting.


As compared to teak, douglas fir is cost effective, being far more inexpensive when compared to old growth teak and comparable in cost to imported plantation teak. It also allows flexibility to tailor the cost to budget by choosing a lower grade and finger joining to achieve a clear length.

Standard grades and sizes

Unlike teak, douglas fir lumber is available in standardized grades and sizes, assuring consumers of a consistent product with every purchase. Wood that is intended for structural use is kiln dried in state-of-the-art mills in B.C., Canada to an average of 19% moisture content. While lumber for interior applications such as doors, windows, furniture, flooring may be dried to a moisture content closer to 10% which can be more suited to India’s varied climatic conditions and regions. A big plus is that properly seasoned, kiln dried lumber is more stable, accepts stains and finishes much better and is ready to use.

Certified and responsibly sourced

Canada is the world leader in sustainable forest management conforming to the most stringent parameters laid out by independent certification bodies like the CFA, PEFC and FSI. Douglas fir is certified by PEFC or FSC, giving consumers the assurance that it has been legally and responsibly sourced. Many export markets that insist on sustainable products approve the use of certified Canadian Wood.

It may be said, while teak has moved out of our comfort zone, there is an equally good or even better alternative that can enhance the value of your project on many counts. Douglas fir from Canada is not just high on performance, versatility and aesthetics; it also contributes to green rating points for your building. It is truly the happy alternative to tropical hardwoods like teak.

FII India, funded by the government of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada represents Canadian wood in India for all its five species viz. Western Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar and Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF). FII works closely with architects, manufacturers, importers and real estate developers to provide technical and procurement assistance for their requirements free of any cost

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