Spruce Wood vs. Pinewood (Pros & Cons)

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Spruce and Pine trees fall under the category of conifers. They belong to a class of trees called Pinopsida. The most visible attributes of a conifer are the needles. While all conifers have “hands”, their arrangement can differ. In spruce trees, they attach individually to the branches. The bark of these trees is rough and scaly.

The needles of pine trees, on the other hand, are soft and long. Some can be up to over 10 inches. The arrangement of the needles in a pine tree is in the form of clusters of two, three, or sometimes five. Additionally, the branches of pine trees are thinner than spruce and sparse, especially across the trunk. The bark of pine trees is flaky and distinctively jagged.

Spruce vs Pinewood

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Spruce and pine are softwoods, and their density and hardness are similar. Both are light in weight and color. However, the processing of spruce wood is more complicated than pine. Because of their softness, they are unsuitable for projects with high wear and tear like flooring.

Physical Properties

Spruce and pine are softwoods, and their density and hardness are similar. Both are light in weight and color. However, the processing of spruce wood is more complicated than pine. Because of their softness, they are unsuitable for projects with high wear and tear like flooring.

Spruce has an ideal weight to strength ratio and is useful in ship and aircraft construction. Its acoustic properties make it the right choice for making musical instruments. Luthiers use spruce wood for making guitar and violin tops. Unprocessed raw spruce is sensitive to weather and can rot in a short period.

There are several types of pinewood that differ in density and strength. In general, it has a medium weight and is usually soft. Pine has good durability, but it cannot handle moisture well. Because of its flexibility, the construction industry uses pine extensively. Interior decorators use pine for paneling.

In spruce wood, neither the sapwood nor the heartwood is resistant to decay. However, in pinewood, the heartwood is quite resistant to rot but not its sapwood.

Look and Feel

The sapwood and heartwood of both spruce and pinewood are not of high contrast in seasoned timber. However, the difference in color between the early and late wood is slightly more pronounced in pine when compared to spruce.

Spruce is a light-colored wood that has a little variation between sapwood, heartwood. The knots and rings are also light and do not stand out. Spruce is white to yellow and sometimes has pink shades. Spruce wood has a straight-grained look with a smooth and silky texture.

While the grain pattern is subtle, spruce may contain visible small knots. On the other hand, pine may have large knots but with less consistency than spruce. Spruce gives a dull glow with its creamy white color and its fine consistent grain lines. Pine is reddish-brown to amber to look at can alternate with either white or yellow shades. It can sometimes have a bold grain pattern or can display streaks of brown.

Pine is also a light-colored wood, but its growth rings and knots. Because of this, the growth rings and knots stand out and are aesthetically pleasing. This look makes it ideal for making furniture. But pine can easily dent, making some woodworkers consider it to be a lower quality wood. Both pine and spruce are difficult to stain because of their small pores.

Spruce Wood Advantages And Disadvantages

Spruce trees, also called red spruce, grow in mountainous regions of Europe. Woodworkers use this for making container boxes. The construction industry uses it for making structures like masts.


Cost: Construction quality spruce is readily available, and is not very expensive. But, the price of old tree wood with higher growth rings can be relatively high. Quartersawn pieces that are clear and free of knots also demand a high price. Cuts of spruce wood that are high quality can easily exceed the cost of common hardwoods.

Appearance: Spruce wood is light in color with a bright hue. The of the color turns into darker shades of reddish-white or yellowish-brown as it ages. The wood is resinous and has a smooth structural surface with a straight grain.


Resistance from Weather: Spruce is generally durable, but it cannot handle moisture well. If not coated with preservatives, this wood can rot quickly. If left in its raw form, the wood decays in about two years. Natural spruce can splinter and break easily.

Resistance from Infestations: Spruce wood is soft and susceptible to insect infestations. Insects can do extensive damage to spruce if not covered with a protective coating. Spruce beetle can kill entire large trees if not checked.

Pinewood Advantages and Disadvantages

Pinewood comes from the damp and cold forests of Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It is easy to work on because of which woodworkers use it in almost all project areas. Moreover, the resin of some pine tree species is a source for making turpentine.

Pine trees grow very fast, and processing them is easy and cheap. Because of its fast growth, pine is a sustainable source of wood. Pine trees help in fixing deforestation due to their growth speed.


Cost: Pinewood is easy to get and is affordable. However, the price of the wood may vary due to various factors like origin and age. Its low cost, ability to take paint and resilience makes it great for kid’s furniture. Because of its flexibility, pinewood cuts into different decorative structures.

Appearance: Woodworkers use pinewood for making high-value carpentry items like furniture and paneling. Pinewood has high contract grain and ring patterns. It is light in weight and has decent resistance to shrinking and swelling. Pinewood looks best in a natural-looking finish. Coat the wood with a clear coat of wax or varnish to achieve this look.


Resistance from Weather: Pinewood’s resistance to decay is low. Weather can make pinewood split, darken, and turn fibrous in days. However, yellow pine has more sap and so is more resistant to weather. Pressure treated and coated pinewood can be durable outdoors. Pinewood is not a preferred wood for making heirloom furniture, but if well treated, it can last 50 years.

Resistance from Infestations: All wood is susceptible to insect infestations, and so is pine. Pine bark beetles are the most common bugs that infest pine trees. Regular watering and fertilizing keep pine trees healthy. If insects infest a tree, cut it down. For furniture made of pinewood, painting, and coating with protective layers helps.

Here is a quick table to summarize the main differences between spruce and pine:




Price Inexpensive, but costlier than pine Inexpensive
Color Light Darker than spruce
Color of grain Indistinguishable from wood Grain color and patterns stand out
Weather resistance Low Moderate
Strength Strong Not as strong as spruce
Appearance Dull Rustic
Availability More exclusive than pine Common
Acoustic Yes No


Both Spruce and Pine are inexpensive and readily available. Both of them come with the disadvantages of being a softwood, but they also have their advantages. They are durable, flexible, and sustainable. Treating them makes them more robust and durable.

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