Why We Build With Southern Pine

At Wheelers, we pride ourselves on the seven decades we’ve spent helping build homes in the Southeast. Our reputation as your go-to source for wood trusses (roof or floor) is something we’re proud of.

Becoming industry leaders didn’t happen by accident. Instead, it’s the result of an array of factors—one of the most integral being our choice in building materials.

More specifically, we build our wood trusses with Southern Pine, also commonly referred to as Southern Yellow Pine (SYP). 

We choose to build with this material for seemingly endless reasons – from a longer lifespan than traditional framing to aesthetic to cost efficiency and load bearing,

Below, we’ll delve into the multitude of benefits associated with Southern Pine.

A Preamble on Southern Pine

Southern Pine isn’t just one species. It’s made up of loblolly, longleaf, shortleaf and slash pine. Once these various lumber-types have been cut down and processed, they all look the same.

Now it’s time to tell the rest of the story:

It’s Highly Cost-Efficient

Possibly, the most enticing attribute of Southern Pine is its cost-efficiency.

Don’t mistake how easy this building material is on your budget for lack of quality. As you’ll find out through the rest of this blog, Southern Pine’s affordability is no indication of its caliber. You could even call it the perfect storm of financially-friendly and top-notch quality.

It’s Sturdy, Robust, and Dense

When you ask most Southern Pine experts about what it brings to the table (err… we mean trusses), both strength and density will be top of mind.

In fact, the general consensus is that Southern Pine is the most durable wood in the south.

Its considerable density is the reason for its strength, making it a solid load-bearing material for many structures. It’s even the wood of choice for building wooden roller coasters due to its impressive sturdiness.

Also, the wood is dense enough to provide a firm fit for nails and screws, which – in turn – will remain in place as opposed to popping out. 

It Can Grow in Almost All Conditions

For wood to be valuable to anybody, it actually has to be available on the market.

There likely will never be a shortage of Southern Pine since it won’t let the worst kinds of conditions deter its growth. The same can’t be said for most other types of wood, giving it a competitive edge.

Why can Southern Pine thrive in even the most adverse scenario?

It grows in acidic red clay soil, which appears to be ideal for abundant production.

It’s Not Hard to Find

A primary positive of growing in all conditions is that Southern Pine is widely available. Southern Pine sawmills are located near a band of forests spanning from Texas to Virginia. So the wood is easy to find in many major markets.

Plus, innovation is a common theme in the lumber industry, leading to vastly improved and sustainable timber production methods.

It’s Highly Treatable

Southern Pine contributes to 85% of all pressure-treated wood produced throughout the US. 

Pressure-treating wood provides moisture resistance. This is essential due to the softening that will otherwise occur in the wood, which allows for fungus, bacteria, and other microorganisms to decay the wood.

Beyond that, pressure-treating wood provides a protective layer against insects and fire.

It seems that Southern Pine was almost custom-made for pressure treatment. It’s a species of wood that possesses a one-of-a-kind cellular structure. Thus, it lends itself to the thorough, uniform penetration of preservatives. 

We don’t use pressure treated lumber in our roof or floor trusses, but we use pressure treated southern pine lumber in our wall panel manufacturing, which complements our roof and floor truss business.

It’s a Green-Conscious Wood

There’s no understating the tremendous value of finding a high-quality wood that can be sustainably produced. Being environmentally friendly is a critical box to tick for many builders.

Forests that produce Southern Pine species are seen as some of the most sustainable woodlands across the globe. These areas benefit from significant carbon dispersal from the air. The carbon is then stored in the lumber being produced. 

Something else worth circling back to is how prominent the manufacturing and growth of Southern Pine is in the US South. It’s a factor that bolsters local economies while reducing the need for transportation – which does wonders for the environment.

It Provides Stability Over the Long Haul

Provided the Southern Pine is 2 inches thick or less, there must be measures taken to ensure its stability. Southern Pine with these dimensions should be dried to a moisture content of 19%, at most. 

Taking these measures will prevent the bulk of shrinkage in green lumbers, adding to the wood’s lifespan.

Pressure treating Southern Pine can vastly extend the lumber’s shelf-life. Experts suggest that treated wood lasts 40 years on average without rotting.

It’s Certified for Quality

It would be one thing if we discussed and raved about this wood without clear proof of its overwhelming quality. We can scream to the skies about why we choose Southern Pine. But that means vitally nothing if it doesn’t satisfy the scrutiny of industry experts and governing bodies.

Fortunately, Southern Pine undergoes rigorous quality-control standards. 

There is a Southern Pine Inspection Bureau that applies grading rules. If these building materials fail to satisfy institutionalized requirements, we won’t use it. The SPIB also regularly inspects sawmills for quality assurance. 

It’s Visually Appealing

The grain pattern seen in Southern Pine might be straight, but that doesn’t make it any less aesthetically pleasing. 

There’s a yellowish-white hue found in the sapwood, while the heartwood can boast of an eye-catching red-brown or orange. 

Multitudes of changing colors can be seen in growth rings each year, depending on whether it’s early or late in the growing stage. It then becomes no surprise that it has gained a reputation as a design-forward building material for roof trusses and floor trusses.

Now You Know Why We Build with Southern Pine

Southern Pine is the wood that keeps on giving, whether through quality, affordable pricing, or overall reliability. At Wheelers, we’re proud to build with this material and plan to do so for generations to come.

Wheelers / Jul 24, 2020
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