Is Larch Wood Good For Outdoor Furniture?

Often used for construction — as well as being known for being one of the tougher softwoods — Larch wood is a fairly durable wood.

But, does this also make Larch wood a great option for outdoor furniture?

Well, in this post, you will find out which natural characteristic makes Larch wood one of the more durable softwoods. You will also discover how strong Larch wood is — and whether it is strong enough to make for sturdy furniture.

And keep reading to find out why your lawn may be the worst place to put Larch garden furniture.

is larch good for outdoor furniture

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What Type Of Wood Is Great For Outdoor Furniture?

One of the most durable hard-wearing outdoor timbers comes from Teak wood.

This tropical hardwood is naturally rot-resistant, thanks to it’s natural tree oils. The oils of this tree coat this lumbers wood fibers, and acts like a wood preservative, preventing wood rot.

That tree oil also makes it more difficult for bugs to burrow their way into this lumber too. As a result, Teak wood is popularly used for making boat decking and garden furniture.

Related Post: Is Teak Wood A Good Choice For Cooking Utensils?

And What About Larch? Is Larch Wood Durable?

While Larch wood is no Teak wood when it comes to density, this softwood is still pretty resilient all the same.

Larch wood — provided it doesn’t come into direct contact with the ground — can last well over a decade if left untreated. And with the right treatment, it can last over half a century.

Which is one of the reasons why Siberian Larch wood is used in building construction, (such as cladding).

So, why is Larch wood so suited to the outdoors? Well, its because this wood — similarly to Teak — is an oily wood. And those natures-own tree resins help to safeguard it from decay.

However, those oils can only do so much. If a Larch wooden chair is left to sit on a lawn, (i.e. direct ground contact), it won’t last long due to the moisture inside soil.

Related Post: Is White Oak Good For Making Durable Outdoor Furniture?

Do You Need To Treat Larch Wood? Does It Need A Sealant?

As long as it is not permanently left on a moisture saturated surface (such as garden soil), it doesn’t need a treatment. It’s oily resins are enough of a wood preservative to protect it.

But Is Larch Wood Hard Enough To Become Durable Furniture?

This is where things get interesting. Larch wood is fairly hefty for a softwood. Once it’s been seasoned and dried, it weighs around 39 lbs per cubic foot, which is a touch under Teaks 41 lbs per cubic foot.

But, this sits in stark contrast to the compressional strength of this softwood.

What Is Compressional Strength? And How Is It Measured In Wood?

Compressional strength is one of the ways that we measure how hard a piece of wood is. And the way we do this is by testing how well wood holds up when placed under compressional stress.

Now, the compressional strength of wood is measured using the Janka Hardness Scale. The Janka rating of wood reflects how much force it takes to dent a piece of lumber. The more force it takes, the harder the lumber.

Teak wood, for example, has a Janka rating of around 1070 lbf. This simply means that it takes 1070 pounds of force to dent it.

Larch wood, on the other hand, is softer.

Western Larch, (which is the Larch subspecies that grows around North America), has a Janka rating of 830 lbf. While Siberian Larch (also referred to as European Larch) has a rating of 740 lbf.

What this means is that, while Larch wood can survive outside untreated, it doesn’t have that much scratch resistance. Meaning that Larch outdoor furniture will quickly begin to show signs of wear and tear (if used frequently).

Related Post: Is Tung Oil A Good Enough Finish For Outdoor Furniture?

So, Is Larch Wood A Good Choice For My Next Garden Furniture Set?

It’s a low maintenance wood that has enough heft to it to make for sturdy furniture. Plus, it is more affordable than Teak wood.

Nevertheless, you will need to keep it off the lawn. And that furniture should permanently sit atop your outdoor decking instead.

But, provided you do that, then Larch wood is a perfectly good choice for outdoor furniture.

To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…

  • 1). Larch wood is an oily softwood that has a natural resistance to rot and decay.
  • 2). For a softwood, it is fairly heavy. And it weighs almost as much as Teak hardwood (once it’s been kiln dried).
  • 3). Larch wood can last outside untreated. However, it must not be left in permanent direct contact with ground soil.

References:

Jebrane, Mohamed, Michael Pockrandt, and Nasko Terziev. “Natural durability of selected larch and Scots pine heartwoods in laboratory and field tests.” International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 91 (2014): 88-96.