Pine is a cost-effective, strong, and durable wood with lots of uses like making furniture, cabinets, wood carvings and so much more. When I was working with Pine wood in the early days, I was curious about its cons since we already know how beneficial Pinewood is.
So, I’ve done some research and found out some common disadvantages of Pine.
Here’s the list of Pine wood disadvantages,
- Pine wood scratches and dents easily
- Pine wood is knotty
- Need regular maintenance
- Poor weather resistance
- Difficult to stain
- Darken with age
- Too many movements of the wood
From this article, we’ll explore all the above Pine wood disadvantages in detail and see how we can fix them with some simple solutions.
Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions as well.
Restored Oregon Pine Desk pic.twitter.com/SEh5K7eeDq— Adriaan Schutte (@SchutteAdriaan) December 8, 2018
As a fresh start, let’s have a look at the key benefits of Pine wood before talking about its cons.
Advantages Of Pine Wood
- Pine wood is strong
- Easy to work with
- Nailing, screwing, and sawing are easy
- Versatile wood
As you can see Pine is a wood with lots of advantages which is the main reason for its popularity among woodworkers. It is one of the best among softwoods.
Natural White Pine work desk with hutch and Red Oak Drawer handles🧡😊🔥💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/Li3hDdtjnC— Zach Harden (@hardenwoodworks) October 11, 2021
So, let’s find out the disadvantages of Pine wood which can be so useful to get good knowledge about the characteristic qualities of Pine wood.
Disadvantages Of Pine Wood
1. Scratch and Dent Easily
Pine wood is a softwood that comes from conifer trees as other softwoods cedar, hemlock, and spruce.
Because of poor hardness and density, Pine wood is too soft and leaves scratches and dents more easily than hardwoods.
This is why you should be extremely careful when working with Pine wood since it is so sensitive, and scratches appear quite easily.
When it comes to flooring applications, Pine wood cannot bear foot traffic and dog scratches.
Therefore, you should always apply proper sealer or finisher on Pinewood before using it to avoid making scratches.
Once the Pine wood gets scratched, you can fix them by rubbing the scratched area with fine-grade steel wool until scratch marks are gone, and wipe it off and buff it with lint free soft, dry cloth.
Pine wood gets damaged so easily because of its poor resistance against dents and scratches. This causes wood to get patina over age.
Being softwood with less hardness is the main reason for its scratches and dents so easily. Janka hardness test defines so well why Pine wood is soft with less dense.
Janka hardness test is the standard method of testing the hardness of particular wood by considering its resistance to wear and tear.
For example, if a particular wood has high wear and tear resistance, it has a high Janka hardness rating.
Janka hardness rating of Pine wood species is as follows,
- Yellow Pine – 870 lbf (3,870 N)
- White Pine – 380 lbf (1,690 N)
As you can see Pine wood has less hardness than many other popular kinds of wood.
For example, Oak has a Janka hardness rating of 1,360 lbf which is significantly harder, and denser than Pine.
Hard @ work on a brand new girl bot! Our bots are hand-made using select pine wood, guaranteeing precision & elegance pic.twitter.com/BTF9UVL0Fd— DIYSHELF (@DIyourshelf) February 11, 2015
Generally, Pine wood is considered a paint-grade wood. But because denting easily, it can be difficult to paint and finish.
Plus, Pine is not good for hard-using applications like kitchen cupboards since they usually get scratch marks if you use soft wood like Pine.
The same goes for outdoor applications since they get deep marks due to poor tolerance for environmental impacts.
But with proper sealing and finishing, you can make Pine wood scratch and dent-resistant.
Sealing Pine wood helps to make a protective shield on top of the wood surface that prevents the wood from getting scratched.
Like it or not, pine takes stain very unevenly with the loose grain. 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/FicembkhXu— Craig is for Gun Control (@rcraiggardner) December 24, 2021
2. Pine Wood Is Knotty
Pine wood has a large number of visible knots. They are imperfections that occur naturally in Pine trees.
Therefore, some Pine woods are considered knotty wood. This is because of the deviations of the wood grain to accommodate wood inside the branches of the Pine trees.
Knots on Pine wood display when the wood is left behind after branches are broken off or cut them off.
Usually, knotty Pine woods are not as durable as regular ones, and they are relatively cheaper. Most people skip getting knotty Pine due to its uneven appearance.
In order to prevent getting knotty Pine for your woodworking project, always make sure to check the Pine wood surface well before the purchase.
Because knotty Pine may reduce the premium look of your Pine wood furniture.
But we can identify some attractive woodworking projects made by using knotty Pine since they are trending in modern homes.
Knotty Pine can be used for flooring, decking, paneling, cabinet making, window frames, doors, and trims.
Knotty Pine is lightweight and easy to finish than regular Pine woods.
But when it comes to the premium even look, most people prefer Pine without knots since they are stronger, denser, and have a uniform texture.
We didn’t have TikTok when we were kids in the 1970s. We had knotty pine paneling. pic.twitter.com/iLNAiiojgP— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) July 20, 2022
3. Need Regular Maintenance
Because of being a softwood with less hardness and density, Pine wood can get easily damaged by water, atmospheric moisture, humidity, and insect attacks.
Pine wood furniture and woodworks need regular maintenance with proper care to protect against environmental impacts.
Pine wood has a huge number of vessels inside its structure. Water can penetrate Pine wood and travel through those vessels which can cause wood to rot.
In order to prevent excessive moisture amount from going inside the wood, you need to apply a proper sealer or finisher.
Proper sealing or finishing is essential for Pine wood to get protected from moisture and other elements like UV light.
But those top coatings fade away quite fast and wood will expose to the outside world. to prevent that, you need to reapply the sealant or wood finisher frequently to keep the protection constant.
Finishing and reapplication are essential to protect the wood from bugs and insect attacks.
Chemical-treated coats repel bugs and insects from Pine, and it is so useful for outdoor Pine wood applications.
Staining in wood can be caused by a variety of fungi. This piece of pine has tons of pycnidia (asexual fungal fruiting structures) bursting forth from the stained areas. The spores can be seen as creamy ooze. The spores will darken and become two-celled with age. #MSUext pic.twitter.com/ONr5OnHpzA— MSU Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab (@MSUextPlantLab) January 21, 2021
But you need to apply the finish at least once per year to keep your Pine wood furniture for so long.
Plus, clean your Pine wood surface frequently to eliminate dust and debris which can damage the wood and give it a dull appearance.
Regular maintenance of Pine wood takes lots of time and effort. As soon as Pine wood gets exposed to the outside world because of poor protection the wood may get damaged.
Therefore, proper cleaning and maintenance are a must to keep pine wood furniture for even more than a decade.
4. Poor Weather Resistance
Because of being a softwood with weak resistance against environmental elements, Pine wood has poor weather resistance.
It cannot tolerate harsh weather conditions and extreme temperature levels. Pine wood gets cracks so easily due to temperature variations.
For example, during the dry climate, you should apply sealant on Pine wood slices to keep them from cracking and splitting.
Bonds between Pine wood fibers break upon rough weather conditions.
Pine wood cannot last outside for so long without proper finishing since moisture will go inside the wood and cause the wood to rot.
Plus, it will lose its strength and dimensional stability.
If you live in an area with frequent weather fluctuations, better not to use a softwood like Pine for your projects since it cannot withstand extreme weather conditions and wood may get damaged quite easily.
Always make sure to apply sealant, finisher, or stain on Pine wood before placing it outside to make it weather resistant.
Otherwise, it will rot and decay in a couple of months of use.
made a quick and dirty planter box from really rough, terrible depot pine. i smoothed them out a little, but it wasn’t worth it for something like this. i applied linseed oil to try preventing rot. we’ll plant less this year and see how it goes. the back box will be tomatoes. pic.twitter.com/yB35oylV0I— nate . (@rockpapergoat) May 31, 2021
5. Difficult To Stain
Pine wood is difficult to stain since it absorbs wood stains like a sponge. It doesn’t let the stain sit on the surface and makes a protective coating with an enhanced look.
Therefore 4 – 5 or more stain coats are needed to stain Pine and that may result in a blotchy surface due to the huge thickness.
Applying so many stain coats increases the drying time of each coat. If you accidentally apply wood stain before the previous coat dried completely, you’ll end up getting a tacky surface.
In order to fix this issue, you can apply wood primer or pre-stain wood conditioner before staining Pine.
Wood conditioner reduces the absorption rates of Pine wood fibers and helps to get an evenly spread stain layer all over the wood without making the surface look blotchy or splotchy.
After applying wood conditioner, apply wood stain along the direction of the wood grain for better absorption. 2 – 3 coats of wood stain are enough on Pine wood to make a protective coating that helps the wood to get protected from moisture, UV light, insects’ attacks, and cracks.
Plus, wood stain helps to enhance the color of your Pine wood furniture.
You should always use proper staining methods to hard staining woods like Pine to make the finish as you want.
6. Darken With Age
Pine wood gets darkened with age due to sunlight, chemicals, and oxidation of the air. Pine will turn into a darker golden color with a rich look when it ages.
Some people love to see Pine wood getting darker with age since it is beautiful.
But if you love the original light Pine wood color, it is so frustrating to see your Pine wood getting darker with age. It gets darker and reddish over time.
If you have placed Pine wood furniture under direct sunlight (UV light), it may cause the wood to get darkened with age.
So, better to keep your Pine furniture and woodworkers in a covered area to slow it down.
There’re some water-based finishes also that cause Pine wood to get dark with age.
Those finishes will react with air and go through an oxidation process which results in a color change.
In order to slow down the darkening process of Pine wood with age, apply a proper sealer or finisher that helps the wood to get protected from air, sunlight, and chemicals like mineral spirits.
Always read manufacturers’ instructions to see whether it gets darkened with age.
Project Standing Desk is complete. Pretty happy with how it turned out. 1.8m surface so heaps of space to spread out. Waxed the surface because it’s oak, but left the legs raw because the pine will age and darken and get a bit of patina hopefully. pic.twitter.com/kVfhC9pUQ8— Mark Cohen (@markc) April 5, 2020
7. Too Many Woods Movements
Pine wood loses its stability against temperature variations and humidity changes since the wood gets to expand and shrinks with moisture absorptions and evaporations.
Because of being a soft less dense wood, Pine wood shows too many movements under environmental impacts.
Under highly humid environments, the moisture will penetrate the Pine wood and expand the wood. Same as low humidity causes the wood to skink.
If these movements happen in pine wood furniture, probably it will lose its dimensional strengths due to those slight movements of the wood.
Pine wood fibers expand at high temperatures due to thermal expansions. This can cause wood to crack and split.
Because of irregular movements all over the Pine wood, the wood tends to warp and twist. Warping Pine wood damage the wood and loss its strength.
In order to minimize Pine wood movements with environmental changes, you should apply a proper finisher or sealant on the wood.
Sealing Pine wood breaks the bond between Pine wood surface and outside air and it stops moisture absorption and evaporation from the wood.
Because of having no moisture exchange between the wood and the outside world, the wood movements will slow down.
This will prevent the wood from warping, twisting, and cracking.
Sealing Pine wood before placing outside must keep woodwork or furniture last long without losing its strength.
That’s it, folks! Now you have a deep knowledge of Pine wood disadvantages and how to fix them with simple tricks.
With the flooring, 1 foot wide pine boards— Simon Sarris (@simonsarris) June 26, 2022
They are freshly cut so they will shrink, so for a while they will just sit on top. Later I will move them tightly together and nail down pic.twitter.com/z5lLcvbcus
So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
Is Pine a Toxic Wood?
Pine wood is non-toxic wood. You can use Pine wood for any woodworking project including kitchen bowls, cabinets, cutting boards, and children’s toys.
But make sure to use a non-toxic wood finish since some of them can be toxic to humans.
But you need to wear goggles, a mask, and gloves when working with Pine wood since sawdust can cause breathing issues and cause allergies to the skin and eyes.
Plus, use a proper dust collection Pipe system to remove sawdust quickly before they get into your lungs.
And….. it’s done and in place. The scorched pine cutting board is made from project leftovers. The knife stand is made from a plank of wood I found floating in the lake; it’s sitting on four cabinet knobs I found in a drawer when I bought the house. I didn’t make the oranges. pic.twitter.com/0woyfNdeKJ— Steve Matchett (@MrSteveMatchett) November 3, 2020
Is Pine Wood Water Resistant?
Pine wood has good moisture resistance compared to other wood types, but it doesn’t have excellent water resistance and proper finishing and sealing are needed to keep Pine wood protected from moisture and to prevent the wood from rotting.
Pine wood just has a slightly better resistance against moisture.
Therefore, you need to apply polyurethane, varnish, or lacquer finish or tung oil on Pine to make the wood more water resistant and to use for any indoor and outdoor woodworking application.
Is Pine Good for Outdoor?
Pine wood is great for outdoors only after applying a sealant or proper finisher.
You cannot place bare, untreated Pine wood furniture outside for so long since moisture will get inside of the wood and cause wood to rot.
In order to prevent the wood from rotting, you should apply a proper finisher and stop water from going inside.
Once the moisture went inside and started wood rotting, you should remove the rotted area and restore the wood with a quality product like Flex Seal.
Outdoor pine table with Shou- Sugi-Ban tops😊🙌🏼💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/1hVugJJol1— Zach Harden (@hardenwoodworks) September 28, 2021
Does Pine Wood Have Tannins?
Rinse with water and allow the Pine wood surface to dry for about 48 hours to dry.
Did I cover all you wanted to know about: Pine Wood Disadvantages?
In this article, we have deeply discussed the most common Pine wood disadvantages and how to fix those cons of Pine using simple methods in detail.
Disadvantages of Pine wood are denting and scratching easily, being knotty, needing regular maintenance, poor weather resistance, difficult to stain, darkening with age, and having too many wood movements.
Most of the disadvantages of Pine can be with a quality sealant like polyurethane, varnish, lacquer, or oil-based finishes.
Furthermore, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions as well.
Hope you have gained good knowledge about Pine wood disadvantages with the best solutions.
Try Pine on your next woodworking project and try to minimize its disadvantages by applying proper solutions as learned. Happy woodworking with Pine!