Pine, Southern Yellow – Total Wood Species Guide

PROS: Now this is the real McCoy. It is one of the more durable of the softwoods and if the planks are over 1 1/2″ thick they should last a lifetime. Old growth timbers are the best for durability, color and moisture stability. These are being savaged off old buildings and from the bottoms of rivers. Why not own a piece of American history? This grand old tree can live again in your floor. It really doesn’t need a stain. It only needs a finish. As pine floors age, they turn a warm yellow-orange color. Yellow pine has lots of swirls and knots.

CONS: It is still fairly prone to denting and gouging, especially in the modern second growth material. Old growth lumber may be very expensive and hard to obtain. Don’t try to stain this wood with anything but a gel stain like Wood-Kote otherwise it will go blotchy. Pine has a deeper stain penetration in the less dense areas. These less dense areas occur naturally in the growth of pine trees. The combination of less dense and more dense areas is what causes the splotches. Earlywood (spring growth) pine soaks up at least 4 coats of poly and if there is a lot of pitch in the wood, this can lengthen drying times. Don’t seal the knots with shellac as the urethane won’t adhere to it. The earlywood is porous and off-white. The (latewood) summer growth is hard, dense and orange. Depending on when it is harvested, pine reacts differently when sanded, stained, and finished. This means that a lot of the pine you can get will have an uneven appearance, especially after you have applied the finish. The latewod pine does not hold stain very well. It is too dense to absorb the stain. It is not very porous.

TREE FACTS: Yellow southern pine is grown across the southern United States. These trees attribute largely to forest fires. Southern softwood species of pine are loblolly, slash, longleaf, and short leaf (southern yellow pine).