Use of Engelmann spruce for house construction


Material Information

Use of Engelmann spruce for house construction
Physical Description:
Mixed Material
Luxford, R. F ( Ronald Floyd ), 1889-1984
Forest Products Laboratory (U.S.)
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory ( Madison, Wis )
Publication Date:

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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 29175633
oclc - 231767387
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Full Text
1, I I

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P. F. LIJ.ORD, rEni -iner
Forest Products _Lrat ry :)rest 3.-&rvice
I U. O'. Denartmnent of Agriculture

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-~- "' -.... Introduction

On: of the principal 1us.s of Eng-lmann spruce is for construction nurroses.
it is ground .,jth such v.oods as nonderosn pie,,e northern white iLe su'ar
pine, wv-istern redcedar, basswood, 3nd fir.

Thr properties riesired in buj1*dinr material may be dividpe'I into two 7-rcurr
Sone contiinini.. those properties +.t trAnd to inspire satisfaet,,ry F-rvice
when the wood is in place, the other conrairnin" tlic.f: r-.orertiec that teil
to facilitate construction and thus red'ice cost. Stren-ths-, tiffne7s, r:ail-
holdinr power, an,-J stability are im-jrtant prorerties in the fir.t t-rcir .
Lipht weir'ht sofl-nessF, and ease of working! are tl.o? of the secor.] group.
A Coecies crLnn-t 'xcil in tfe prorerties of both vro-ps, since, for instance
if it has high strength, it is corrrirstiv-]y heavy and i.3r3,

Engelmann spruce would be classed with the species that are liiht in weight
and are easy to work, while such woois as Doli,]as-fir and southern yellow
pine excel jn strength ind stilfness, Lreln.?nn soruijce ranks relatively
hi.h in fredon from warpin; -n, in ,a3int-hcldinF a-.ility, It is claFsified
as a low-shrinkage wood and at identical moisture content heha-ve. qbo-:t
thc same as ponder.osn pine, Its resistance to decay is relativ:-17y low,
and it has a relatively s5llarl-ur.t of he'r.'.oii, ?he w:o- of '-.e rnr.n
spruce is ,nr.erally strqi.-ht-c'r-ved and c-n be reqjily air Jri-e. In
paint-holdin.F prorertLe- t"uclrIfnn l3pr'ice Is classsi with pon,'erosa pi-e
ind we-stern hemlock -- below '.he w.ite pi.ies, c,-,ars, redwood, 11. j cyr, ress,
and alovw "'o',t as-fir and southern vellow nin .

Uses in Hous- Construction

Vhile 'E-ebtann pr',ce c'n be 'is,2l to- ran. .',irt.s of a hcuse, it is Fr.-itbly
i used moct extensively in the .-rmz of i:..?ZriSion -r- contor. roard.

Maintained at Madison, 'is., in cooperation with t,.? University f


Rec't. .o. R1944-1


Exterior Trim

The usual requirements for exterior trim are medium decay resistance, good
painting and weathering characteristics, easy -working qualities, and maxi-
mum freedom from warp. Engelmann spruce would rate along with hemlocks,
ponderosa pine, and white fir for exterior trim. It would not be the equal
of such woods as cedars, cypress, and redwood.


Framing should be high in stiffness, have good bending strength, good nail-
holding power, hardness, and freedom from pronounced warp. For this use,
drynors and size are sometimes more important factors than the inherent
properties of the different woods. Engelmann spruce is relatively low in
strength properties, but thJs deficiency in strength can, of course, be
coiipcns-ted for by using sorrewhat larger sizes. This is particularly true
for such purposes as floor joists and roof rafters. The sizes of some
items such as studding are largely fixed by common practice. American
Lub.;,r Standards sizes were established with a view to having the sizes
adcqnate for the lighter weiilit and 'weaker species. Engelmann spruce
could, therefore, be used in the same stud size as the heavier and stronger
species. Any nailing deficiency could be compensated for by use of larger
or more nails I Engelmann spruce would be gouped with such woods as
northern white pine, sugar pine, and ponderosa pine.

Interior Trim with Paint Finish

Material for interior trim should have a fine and uniform texture, hard-
ness, absence of discoloring pitch, and freedom from warp and shrinkage.
For this purpose, Enrenianni spruce would be classed with such woods as
redwood, the hemlocks, and white fir. It would not be the equal of the
commercial white pines and birch, walnut, and yellow-poplar. The hardwoods
are, of course, considerably more resistant to denting, and where this
property is of importance, Engeliann spruce would not prove satisfactory.

Roof Boards

Roof boards should have high stiffness, good nail-holding ability, small
t.i-ndency to warp, and be easy to work. Roof boards, however, are one of
the le:s exacting items in house construction and Engelmann spruce could
oftan be used in lieu of the stronr:ur and harder woods, such as the hem-
locks, eastern spruces, and white fir. It might require somewhat more
no iling to hold shi than if the harder and denser species were used.


Siding should have goodrl painting characteristics, easy working qualities,
and freedom from warp. Woods e:..celling, for use as siding include cedars,
cypress, the commercial white pines, and redwood. Engeb-ann spruce would

Pent. No. R1944-1


rink with ponderosa pine an', western hemlocks for use as siding. It would
be somewhat superior to such woods as Dougl.s-fir, wnst'rn larch, and
southern yello, pinlie.

Wall Sheathinig

Wall sheathing is not, a very exacting use, although easy working' easy
nailinrp and m-dernte are desirable properties. Many woods csn
be used for shuathin; with sUt 3sfectory results, although some woods are
less tUme-consuming to work thi n are others, lnngel.nann spruce would be
rated alol., with the !1hite firs, commercial oine3, and hemlocks, Enrelmann
spruce sleathinr, contains siaLaller but more numerous knots, is lighter *'nd
can bo siwed and nailed more easily than ,.ich woods as Douglas-fir and
soutle.rn yellow pine.

Shulvin.- vith Iatur-i or Hif'h-cla.s Paint Finish

Reqiirenonts fnr shelvinpe include stiffness$ go.)d finishing qualities, and
freednin from pitch and warp. Many .roods are suitable for this 'ise and
KPireln1311n spruce rould he included aior with the commercial white pines
a',ld would be r s.'r'owl-it superior to Do'.ilas-fir, henlocks, western larch,
a'-id sou0.ern yellow pine.


The reqiiroments for subfloorin- are not e::acting, but high stiffness,
modiujii shrinlka,-'e and warp, a.0 ea.- of iorl.inj: are desir-ible characteris-
tics. .lany woods arn used for this purpose with satisfactory results,
Engelmiann spruce would be classed alonr, with the commercial white pines,
h',mlocks, ponderosa pine, and white fir.


'While Enf-elmann spruce can be used for many construction purposes, the
greatest outlet will probably bo for such uses as studding, subflooriij',
roof boards, -nd wall sheathing.

Rept. No. fl1I44-1


June 1952


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