Learn how cedar's natural resilience to weathering and insects makes it a favorite for outdoor settings and decorative use, while fir's impressive strength-to-weight ratio and cost-effectiveness lend it perfectly for structural applications and engineered wood products.
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Cedar Beams: Cedar’s naturally occurring Allelopathic Chemicals and natural oils, make resistance to insects, mold, and decay. Cedar is favored for its aesthetics, and due to how enormous Cedar trees can grow, make Cedar Timbers the premiere choice for certain applications involving timber beams, or log homes. While Cedar is very appealing with its aesthetics, Cedar is limited in its structural capabilities due to its relative softness and lower strength compared to other woods, like Douglas Fir. It is, however, often used for decorative beams or in constructions that require durability in an outdoor setting, where its resistance to rot and insects and its beautiful appearance are especially valuable.
- Decorative Beams: Cedar's aesthetic appeal, with its beautiful grain patterns and rich earthy colors, make it the preferred choice for decorative or faux beams, often used to add character and elegance to a space.
- Outdoor Structures: For timber-framed outdoor structures like pergolas, gazebos, or garden features, cedar beams are an excellent choice due to their durability, workability, and resistance to weathering and insects.
Fir Beams (Douglas Fir): Fir, and specifically Douglas Fir, is a popular choice for structural beams in construction due to its outstanding strength-to-weight ratio and wide variety of sizes. Douglas Fir Trees can grow enormous in stature, so beams which require long lengths to span open areas, or beams that require large dimensions to support excessive loads, are often cut from Douglas Fir. It is less resistant to decay compared to cedar but is less expensive, more structural, and more readily available.
- Structural Beams: Douglas Fir's strength makes it ideal for structural beams in both residential and commercial construction. It has the capacity to bear heavy loads and is frequently used in the framing of buildings.
- Glulam Beams: Douglas Fir is often used in the creation of Glulam (Glued Laminated Timber) beams. These engineered wood beams are made by gluing together smaller pieces of timber and they provide great strength and flexibility in size and shape. Due to their manufacturing process, Glulam Beams can be made as long as the building they are being built in will allow, and because they are constructed of smaller pieces of lumber, they are a very environmentally responsible way to use less desirable lengths of lumber.
Choosing between cedar and fir beams often comes down to the specific requirements of your project, the environmental conditions, your budget, and the desired aesthetics. While cedar offers higher resistance to decay and a distinctive appearance, fir beams provide superior strength and are often more cost-effective. Due to the similar grain patters of Cedar and Fir on the surface of the lumber, with the right color of stain or surface treatment, decerning between the two is very difficult.Check Timber Pricing