Framing Lumber

"We're looking at new homes and noticed that they used white pine instead of Douglas fir for their studs. Is that acceptable and as strong as Douglas fir?

Also they are using 2x4 instead of 2x6 pressure treated lumber on top of the cinder blocks (footing?). They did not have a termite shield over the cinder block. Should we be concerned?



White pine is not typically used for studs, primarily because it's a beautiful wood and more valuable if used as trim lumber.

According to data from the NFPA (National Forest Products Association), white pine has significantly lower structural strength than Douglas-fir. This isn't necessarily a problem for studs because they are subjected to relatively light structural loads compared to joists or rafters.

The size of sill plates and the use of termite shields will vary by location. It's my experience in Connecticut and generally throughout New England that 2x6 sill plates are customary, but 2x4 plates are also allowed by code. Either size must always be pressure treated. Termite shields are not generally used unless your area is known to have termite problems.

Good luck,
David Moore, AIA
Original Home Plans

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