Larch (Siberian) is a softwood species with a pale red to brick-red heartwood and distinct growth rings. The wood is typically straight-grained with a fine uniform texture, and often contains hard knots that may loosen after seasoning. The sapwood is perishable and requires treatment, but the heartwood is naturally durable and can be left to weather to a silver grey. This species is commonly used for cladding and is a cost-effective alternative to Western Red Cedar.
Meleze (French), Larche (German ), European Lork (Dutch)
More durable than most conifers, Larch is still only moderately durable, and remains vulnerable to insect attack. That said; the heartwood is more durable and the the sapwood can be treated. It can therefore prove to be an effective exterior timber - often used for cladding.
The drying and seasoning of Larch (Siberian) is dependant on a number of factors; the speed in which it is processed after felling and logging, the method of drying and the specific kilns or location (if air dried). Generally the care taken by those processing the wood will have an impact on its drying and seasoning. As an overview; Larch (Siberian) - The wood seasons fairly quickly, but can have a tendency to distort. Knots may loosen and split in the drying process. Resin can be a problem if the wood is not seasoned correctly. It has high dimensional stability when seasoned. Please note that all wood is liable to move when in service plus there can be dimensional change. The extent of this will depend on; the stability of the species itself, the conditions it is exposed to, the coating, decoration and protection. You will find more information about the suitability of this wood, for any proposed application, by using our interactive system and the filters shown.
Larch has low stiffness, medium resistance to shock loads and crunching, a medium bending rating. It works fairly easily with hand tools but the hard knots can cause severe blunting. It works well generally with machine tools but loose knots can be a problem and the hardness of the knot may cause uneven blunting of cutters. Pre-drilling is required for nailing and screwing. Stains, varnishes and paints well. It is regarded as tough and durable, comparing with other conifers.
Door and window frames, flooring including parquet, staircases, boat and ship building, poles, piling, posts, fencing and shingles. It is also sliced to make decorative veneers
Wood Worker's Thoughts:
Nice timber to work with. Ideal for cladding as can be left unfinished, although sapwood is susceptible to decay.
Commonly asked questions about Siberian Larch Wood
Is Larch a hardwood or a softwood? Larch is a softwood. It is the same for; is Siberian Larch hardwood or softwood? - Siberian Larch is a softwood.
Most groups/families of species share the same characteristics but this normally relates to their life as plants. Individual species do not always share the same characteristics as their relatives, in terms of the wood. Many factors influence how we use the wood and what we use it for, including where it grows, how it is forested, how it seasons/dries, etc. The answers to the following common questions, therefore relate to this particular species/wood and not the Larch family as a whole. Even more specific – our answers relate to the wood (as we know it) in its form as a useable resource.
What colour is Siberian Larch? Siberian Larch can be described as green, grey, white/cream (very light brown), yellow/brown
Is Siberian Larch good for outdoor use? or is Siberian Larch good for exterior use? Siberian Larch is most suited for interior/interior use. Siberian Larch can be used as an exterior/external timber (without treatment).
Whether the wood is naturally durable or not we would still recommend that it is decorated and/or coated with a suitable product to provide protection and/or maintain its appearance. This even applies when using the wood internally as, even subtle, changes in temperature or humidity will affect the wood. This will depend on the application/purpose of the wood and the user’s desired appearance. We also recommend that a recoating, care and maintenance programme is adhered to, for the life of an exterior wood. Wood cannot rot if it is kept dry – coatings and decoration can provide this protection. All of that said there are many durable timbers that are often left to weather naturally and will last for many years untreated/coated – movement and visual changes will occur but this is sometimes the desired effect. All wood is hygroscopic (it 'wants' to be in tune with its environment) it will therefore take on water from moisture in the air (or when directly exposed to or submerged in water) and ‘release it’ when dry or exposed to heat. This, inevitably, results in movement and dimensional change. For more about moisture in wood please click here - Moisture in wood