Larch Wood | Uses, Pros, and Cons

What is Larch Wood?

Larch is the conifers of the genus Larix of the pine family Pinaceae. There are 10 to 12 species of larch. They are native to the northern hemisphere, where the temperature is low. Larches are deciduous trees that lose their short needles in autumn. 

Larch wood is known to have tough, waterproof, and durable qualities. Mostly used for boats, gazebos, siding, floor, fencing, etc. 

Even after being a softwood, It has the properties of natural rot resistance. So almost every species of Larch is compatible with interior and exterior purposes.

#  Larch Wood
Scientific nameLarix
Tree 20 to 45 m (65 to 150 ft) tall, .6-1 m (2-3 ft ) trunk diameter
Rot resistanceResistant to rot
Color/AppearancePale creamy white
UsesFloors, siding, boats, etc

What is Larch Wood Used For?


Latch wood is an attractive, durable, and inexpensive flooring option. Being softwood, it can be easily installed, and due to the light color (yellow to a medium reddish-brown), and can be stained easily.

Wood must have rot and water-resistant properties to make good and durable flooring. All these properties are naturally present in larch wood. So we don’t need any extra treatment.

But to preserve the beauty and natural grain pattern of the floor, do stain or polish and take care regularly.


Siding is used for building to protect the building from the elements. In the outer walls, it withstands constant rain, sun, and dust. In this case, the wood should be strong, durable, and high density.

Siberian Larch is widely used to make decking and siding throughout the entire European continent.

Due to its high density and an oily surface, moisture cannot penetrate inside the wood. Therefore it is the preferred wood for making decks, siding, and other outdoor applications.


Larch is great for making hull planks because of the long straight wood veins. Larch is much stronger and more durable than many softwoods. Due to its lightness and better-bending properties, It is a better wood for making boats and boat parts.

The appearance of Larch Lumber

Larch wood appearance
Larch wood appearance

Larch wood is reddish-brown to pale creamy white. It has a clear dark striped or grainy patterning. Its pattern can be easily seen. Sapwood is lighter or nearby white in comparison to heartwood. All species of larch wood have small knots. 

Larch Wood Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Appearance: It has a great medium reddish-brown to light beautiful appearance.
  • Easy to stain: Due to the light color, it can be stained easily.
  • Rot Resistant: Moderately durable regarding decay resistance.
  • Workability: Due to low density, it can be easily worked with hand tools and machines. Sometimes the work can be difficult due to the spiraled grain pattern and knots. But glues and finishes well.
  • Small knots: Knots are common but are usually small.
  • More options: We get the option of many colors and grain patterns in larch.
  • Insect Resistant: The larch wood has natural insect-resistant properties.
  • Stability: Shrinkage in drying is fairly low.
  • Drying: The wood dries fairly easily, with some warp and checking.


  • Allergies and Toxicity: Larch has been reported to cause skin irritation, as well as hives and skin lesions.
  • Odor:  European Larch can have a distinct resinous odor when being worked. 
  • Price: It can be expensive compared to some softwoods like spruce.

Types of larch wood

Western Larch Wood

Western Larch is a famous species of Larch. Its heartwood is yellow to reddish-brown and narrow sapwood is yellowish-white, sapwood is clearly demarcated from the heartwood.

Western Larch wood has straight grain and texture is medium to coarse with a greasy or oily feel. The wood is tough and durable, but it can be bent easily. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor uses.

It is moderately durable regarding decay resistance. So no need to take much care.

#Western Larch Wood
Scientific Name:Larix occidentalis
Native to:Northwestern North America and southwestern Alberta
Tree:30 to 60 meters (98 to 197 feet) tall, with a trunk up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) diameter
Janka Hardness:830 lbf (3,690 N)
Uses: Veneer, plywood, paper (pulpwood), particleboard, glue-laminated beams, construction lumber, and flooring.

European Larch Wood

European Larch is another famous species of Larch. Its heartwood is yellow to reddish-brown and the narrow sapwood is close white and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood.

Generally, European Larch has a straight grain. It contains natural oil, which makes the surface look oily. 

The wood is tough, durable, and decay-resistant. Hence it is used for exterior and interior applications.

Being soft and low density, Easily worked with hand tools and machines and can also be easily bent. Lumps are common but usually small.

#European Larch
Scientific Name:Larix decidua
Native to:Mountains of central Europe
Tree:25–45 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter.
Janka Hardness:740 lbf (3,290 N)
Uses: Veneer, utility poles, fence posts, flooring, boatbuilding, and construction lumber.

Japanese Larch Wood

Japanese Larch is native to Japan. Its heartwood is yellow to a reddish-brown and the sapwood is nearly white. Sapwood is clearly demarcated from Heartwood.

Japanese Larch has a straight grain and medium texture. The surface is oily due to the presence of natural oil. Due to this natural oil, it is moderate rot resistant. So it can be used for exterior and interior applications with low maintenance. 

The workability of Japanese Larch is very good. Most hand and machine operations produce good results. sanding can create dips and uneven surfaces. Glues and finishes well.

#Japanese Larch
Scientific Name:Larix kaempferi
Native to:Japan, in the mountains of Chubu and Kantō regions in central Honshū
Tree:20–40 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter.
Janka Hardness:600 lbf (2,670 N)
Uses: Utility poles, fence posts, boat building, decking, furniture, and construction lumber.

Siberian Larch Wood

Siberian larch is commonly known as Russian larch. Its heartwood is yellow-brown to brown and sapwood is close to white. It is a coniferous tree, so The male and female cones are borne separately on the same tree.

Like other larch species, its grain is also straight. Sometimes there may be irregular grain. 

The density of Siberian larch is higher than other larch species. Therefore it can be a little difficult to work with small hand tools.

#Siberian Larch
Scientific Name:Larix sibirica
Native to:western Russia
Tree:20–50 m tall, with a trunk up to 1 m diameter.
Janka Hardness:1,100lbf (4,893 N)
Uses: Decking, cladding, and exterior joinery projects

Tamarack wood

Tamarack, commonly known as the Eastern Larch, Black Larch, Red Larch, or American Larch. The length of the Tamarack tree is not very long.

The heartwood is yellow to a medium orangish-brown and the sapwood is nearly white and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood. It has a straight grain with a fine texture. It contains natural oil, which makes the surface look oily. 

Tamarack is Moderately durable regarding decay resistance. Therefore it is useful for interior and exterior use.

Due to the low density, it is easy to work with hand tools and machine operations.

#Tamarack Larch
Scientific Name:Larix laricina
Native to:Canada and the northeastern United States
Tree:10–20 m (33–66 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 60 cm (24 in) diameter.
Janka Hardness:590 lbf (2,620 N)
Uses: Snowshoes, utility poles, posts, rough lumber, boxes/crates, and paper (pulpwood).

Larch Tree Identification

Tree: A healthy larch tree can reach 50 to 60 m (165 to 195 ft) and 85-150 ft (25-45 m) tall, 1-1.5 m trunk diameter.

Leaves:  Larch has coniferous needles. Leaves are typically 10 to 50 cm (4 to 20 in) long, and in dense clusters of 20–50 needles on short shoots. Turn yellow before falling to the ground. 

Bark: The bark on young trees is light brown and scaly. While the bark of the old tree is brown in color, with deep cracks.

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