Whitewood vs. Pine: Uses, Costs, Durability & Pros Cons

Whitewood, or Liriodendron tulipifera, is wood that is got from the tulip tree. This is the tallest hardwood tree that grows up to 160 feet. The tree grows in Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky in the United States.

Pine is gotten from softwood trees and is grown all over the world. It is stiff but easy to work with and has a light, creamy colour.

These two wood types have their various advantages, disadvantages, and uses. But which one is better? When it comes to durability, pine tends to last longer, as whitewood rots easily.

Whitewood vs Pine

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 WhitewoodPine
ColourSapwood ranges from pale yellow to greyish white. Heartwood is usually light brown or dark brown with golden highlights.Sapwood is creamy white or yellow-tinted. Heartwood is dark brown.
GrainThe grain is straight.The grain is straight and ring-porous.
GrowthWhen white wood absorbs water, it increases in size and loses its shape.Pine is prone to shrinkage and warping
TextureThe texture is coarse and uneven, with lots of knots.The texture is smooth but uneven and has lots of knots.
DurabilityWhitewood is not very durable and rots easily.Once chemically treated, pine is durable and can last decades.
DensityWhitewood has a density of 0.47 (103kg/m3)Pine has a density of 22-37lb/ft3
WorkabilityWorks well with hand and commercial machines.It cuts, glues, and finishes well.

Key Differences Between Whitewood and Pine

Most woodworkers see white wood and pine as interchangeable, this is because of their similarities in appearance and usage. However, there are some slight differences you can use to decide which wood works best for what you want to do.

For example, whitewood tends to have more knots in the wood and is, typically, lighter. Whereas, pine wood has fewer knots and tends to weigh more.

Colour

While whitewood and pine may look similar with just a casual glance, upon deeper inspection, there are some key differences in the appearance of both wood types. Whitewood has a creamy, pale colour that resembles white.

Pine has a similar shading but is slightly darker than whitewood, and not as pale.

Density

Whitewood and pine have similar densities. However, pine is slightly thicker than whitewood. This makes it a better option for those crafting a more solid wood design, like doors.

Durability

Whitewood and pine are both extremely durable, and if properly maintained, can last up to 15 years. However, whitewood is softer than pine and tends to absorb moisture more. This makes it susceptible to rot and decay.

Excess moisture can also lead to warping and cause whitewood to lose its shape. In contrast, pine is less likely to absorb moisture and can last much longer.

Uses

One of the features of pine that makes it stand out more than whitewood is its versatility. Pine is more dense and durable, this makes it useful in the construction of tables, cabinets, flooring, and anything that carries weight.

On the other hand, whitewood is lightweight and is mostly used for more delicate construction such as decorations, doorknobs, etc.

Here are some uses of whitewood;

  • It is used in making simple ornamental items.
  • It is used in making doors and simple furniture.
  • Whitewood can be used in crafting anything delicate and small, such as a picture frame, knife handle, etc.

Here are some uses of pine;

  • Pine is used for the flooring of homes.
  • It is used for making tables and other furniture.
  • Pine is used as a trim product for windows, doors, etc.
  • It is used in making high-value carpentry.

Cost

Finally, the deciding factor for most buyers is the price of the wood. Because of its durability, strength, and versatility, it is not surprising that pine is more expensive than white wood.

The average cost of pine is 10 dollars per piece, while the average cost of whitewood is around 5 to 8 dollars per piece. Overall, both wood types are still very cheap and affordable compared to other options.

Similarities Between Whitewood and Pine

They’re Both Softwoods

Although pine is slightly harder than whitewood, they are both softwoods and rank low on the Janka hardness scale. Whitewood ranks at 590 hardness, while Pine wood’s ranking changes depending on the type of pine you are using.

They Take Paints and Stains Easily

Because of their light colour, both whitewood and pine take paint and stains very easily. They also work great with wood paint strippers, and other paint removers. When it comes to maintenance, whitewood and pine require minimal levels of maintenance to keep them looking shiny and new.

Pros and Cons of Whitewood

Pros

Cons

  • It rots and decays easily
  • The wood is very soft and can’t withstand much weight.
  • It absorbs water easily.
  • It is prone to growth and warping.

Pros and Cons of Pine

Pros

  • It absorbs paint easily.
  • It is cheap and affordable.
  • It cuts, glues and finishes well.
  • Once chemically treated, Pine is resistant to rot and decay
  • It has a beautiful natural pattern.
  • It takes paints and stains well.

Cons

  • Because pine is softwood, it is prone to swelling and shrinkage.
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight can damage its colour.
  • Pine is easily affected by harsh weather.
  • Without chemical treatment, pine rots easily.

Conclusion

Whitewood and pine wood are both great choices for your wooden construction. Once you examine the advantages and disadvantages of each wood and consider the price, purpose, and uses of the wood, you will be able to know which wood is the best for you.

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