European Larch and Douglas Timber

I love Larch, it has such a wonderful colour and feel to it, a really lovely hue of pinks, oranges and yellows. We’ve recently built a raised decking area on our show site incorporating Larch decking, steps and balustrade, we built it around one of the very popular Tourist Gazebos and it really has worked very well.

Tuin UK Show site

Larch decking and balustrade incorporated into one of our standard treated pine gazebos.

It looks gorgeous!  Larch does not need treating but I love the colour of it and to ensure we can see it for a very long time we’ve treated it with Clear Carefree Protectant.

Of course, being made from Larch you do not have to treat it, it is a very oily, resinous and dense wood that does not need any maintenance. It will weather eventually to a silvery grey and this process depends on its location, weather conditions and positioning. Of course if you would like to keep the gorgeous colour then it can be treated with a clear timber treatment as we have done.

On a recent to visit Tuindeco we went through the latest products for the coming season and I was really pleased to see as well as the stunning Larch Modular Garden Building Range they are also introducing a Gazebo range, all made from Larch. I have already ordered one and we’ll be putting it up on show soon, I’m sure sales of these will far exceed the pine ones, not only for its beauty but also its extensive longevity, strength and ease of care.

Larch is such a wonderful timber, it’s been used in construction for years and is also used with boat building, in Central Europe it has been long regarded as one of the best building timbers. It’s stronger than pine and is very popular with architects for external cladding and outdoor structures. Un-dried larch is particularly good for heavy structural work.

Larch is unusual amongst the softwoods as it is deciduous and sheds its pine needles in the Autumn. It also features in Lapp and Siberian folklore as the ‘World Tree’. The smoke from burning the timber is said to ward off evil spirits and is used as protection by their Shamans as well to induce visions (not recommended).

Properties of European Larch

Strength and its ability to withstand constantly changing wet and dry environments is its main desirable property, couple this with its natural rot resistant properties, wonderful colour and fine texture which make it lovely to work with and enjoy in your garden.

  • Larch is a deciduous, softwood, conifer tree, highly resinous, and a medium density wood (530 kg/m3)
  • Tuindeco Larch is sourced from Western Europe – PEFC or FSC. Environmentally sound and sustainable.
  • Being a  very dense wood it can resist constant changes from wet to dry with very little distortion, warping and shrinkage once dry. It can be prone to surface splits but this does not affect the strength, longevity or durability.
  • A strong timber and stronger than other conifers such as Spruce and Pine. It is 60% stiffer than European redwoods, 30% stronger in bending and compression, 40% harder. It does though have similar crushing and impact properties to that of pine and spruce.
  • Larch is faintly scented and has a wonderful straight grain with small knots. It is reddish, orangy, pinky in colour with contrasting white sap rings. It has fine texture and a high definition of grain.
  • Low maintenance and does not need treating, when allowed to weather if becomes a silvery grey colour. It is a good idea though to treat it where it is directly in contact with the ground.
  • Larch is in the durability class of 3 – 4. Durability is the measurement of a 50mm x 50mm cross section of timber left in the ground unprotected. Class 3 is 10 – 15 years. Class 4 is 5 – 10 years. When untreated and NOT in ground contact you can expect a life of 50 – 60 years. When treated and outdoors the life expectancy is 100 years.

Larch Limitations:

Like everything there are some limitations and foibles that it’s worth bearing in mind when you are working with Larch.

  • Due to its dense nature larch can split easily if you nail it without some preparation. Always drill a pilot hole before nailing or screwing to stop any splits being created.
  • Larch can leach slightly when new and can stain concrete surfaces. This is due to the high tannin content. It is a good idea to treat the timber when in contact with the ground
  • The Tannins can also react with iron and will produce and blue / black colour stain. Ideally always use non-ferrous nails and screws to guard against this.

Identification of the Larch Tree

A couple of useful videos to aid in the identification of a larch tree should you wish, the first one I found particularly useful!

Tuindeco Larch Timber Products

The ranges of timber are constantly expanding, numerous lengths, profile, and pieces are available for your own Larch construction project

Larch

Larch timber is available to complete any garden construction project in a huge variety of thickness, profiles and lengths.

Also available is an extensive range of Douglas modular buildings in both flat roof and apex roofs. Douglas is very similar to larch in colour and density. a very popular choice for garden structures.

Apex larch gaben building

Modular Douglas Garden Buildings in three main styles and a myriad of possibilities, sizes and styles.

New for this season are Larch Gazebos: I can see these really taking off as these will make a stunning addition to any garden.

Larch timber gazebos

Larch timber gazebos

This entry was posted in Technical - Log Cabins and Timber, Timber Products and Information and tagged , , by Richard. Bookmark the permalink.

About Richard

This blog is my personal platform which I do enjoy. It is my own viewpoint and my own ideas. I may not be right and other installers / experts may offer a different view point or a alternative way to do something. I welcome contributions from anybody experienced to do so.

All my blog writing is MY OWN personal opinion ONLY and is NOT always the opinion of TUIN | TUINDECO as a company.

Log Cabins and Garden timber have a myriad of intricacies , I love to give away the secrets, there are a lot!

I enjoy using this blog to expose them so you know what you are buying. I love to know I am causing a few problems in the industry as it can be on occasions less than honest.

I actively encourage everyone to install their own buildings. So many times I would fit and the company I was working for would charge loads for my time, only then to be faced with the embarrassment when the customer says 'I could have done that' and YES you can without paying hundreds of Pounds!

I have over 19 years experience within the garden timber industry. I have particular expertise in garden buildings including the manufacture, design and installation from sheds to log cabins and all the way up to timber framed houses.

In my time I have been involved with virtually every manufacturer and supplier of garden buildings. I have also installed pretty much every make of Garden Building there is from ALL suppliers and manufacturers.

Prior to my career change I was a Watch Commander in the Fire Service with particular expertise in chemical incidents, training, technical design / technology / IT /Procedures / ISO Systems and road traffic accidents. I retired due to a nasty injury after 20 years service.

During my time in the Fire Service, on my days off, I was a self employed fitter for any type of garden building, I worked with most of the well known companies as a subcontractor.

I now work with Tuin | Tuindeco in the UK, supporting and advising on the vast range of products. I keep an eye out for help requests when we a supposed to be closed and can usually get back to you out of hours via email only (wife and children permitting on my days off).

In my private life I consult as an independent expert assessor for companies or private individuals when a dispute is present over their structure which results in producing an impartial report and assessment for whoever requires it. This is often higher valued than a structural engineers report born from my credentials, experience and widely recognised as an 'Expert' in the field.

I am a freelance writer for numerous companies, publications and blogs as well as an independent expert and fault finder for parts of the Industry and consumers with a particular emphasis on timber structures, both framed and of an interlocking design such as log cabins.

I produce numerous articles about timber in general, information on general timber products and specific guides when needed. I hope you enjoy and find my writing useful.

Please contribute and comment to my posts as you would like and I will try to respond as best I can.

Thank you

Richard.

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