filter plus icon

Douglas Fir Wood Flooring – From forest to floor

Douglas fir timber flooring

Native to Europe before the Ice Age

The Douglas Fir genus was already growing in central Europe before the last ice age. Prehistoric findings and pollen analysis have made it possible to identify occurrences of the “Pseudotsuga” genus about 750 000 years ago.

Douglas Fir in Europe

In 1830, the Scottish natural researcher and eponym “David Douglas” sent the first Douglas Fir seeds of the “Pseudotsuga menziesii” genus from their North American habitat to Europe. In Europe, they first grew in forest gardens (arboretums) and were then later planted in forests.

In 1831, the first Douglas Fir plants reached Germany. The young Douglas Fir plants were cultivated in the forest districts during this time. Relicts of the plantations of the time still constitute today the basic stock of the oldest Douglas Firs in Germany. Regionally, the Douglas Fir is also called the “Douglas Pine” or “Douglas Spruce”, although it does not belong to either of these types of tree.

The Black Forest

The Black Forest is Germany’s highest and biggest continuous low mountain range and lies in southwest Baden-Württemberg. For Douglas Fir flooring, the Black Forest, with its state and private forest owners, is the most important raw material supplier of Douglas Fir trees.

Tree-felling Work

The “ForstBW” company is responsible – at least for state-owned forests – for felling in the fir trees in the Black Forest. They receive instructions from the Forestry Commission to thin out forests or fell specific fir trees when this is necessary (for example, with an order for 15m longboards).

The Tree Falls

After the “cut” the tree falls. At first as in slow motion and then there is a lot of loud crashing when the giant takes branches of other trees with it. On hitting the ground a small earthquake takes place.

Creating the Douglas Fir floorboards

The raw boards are sawn on a special saw line. Most commonly used is a horizontal block bandsaw.

Once sawn, the boards are then made into either solid or engineered planks.

The long planks are then dried slowly and gently in a condensation drying chamber for the highest drying quality possible.

Douglas Fir planks can be processed in different dimensions and styles including “room lengths”. With plank widths ranging from 100mm to 450mm, a solution for breathtaking projects.


Multiple surface treatments are available for Douglas Fir floorboards such as oil, lye, or soap. Learn more about these surface treatments below.


White lye is one of the pre-treatments that is primarily used for Douglas Fir. The lye makes the wood lighter and protects it from decolouration through UV light. The lye contains white lime pigments.


Classic floor oils protect the wood from dirt and dampness. The treatment with oil allows the floor to breathe, as the surface remains open-pored. Alternatively, some sealants close off the surface. Oils are available in plain, white, and extra-white tones.

Oil Varnish

A mix of oil and varnish. For particularly heavily frequented surfaces such as offices or retail or other commercial spaces.

Linseed Oils

Linseed oils are the most natural oils. They are extracted from linseed. The main advantage of linseed oils is their naturalness and therefore their absolute harmlessness for health. The disadvantage of linseed oils is the long drying time. This is why floor oil additives are mixed in, which let the oil dry quicker. Floors treated with linseed oil take about 5 days to dry.


A soaped surface is a very traditional treatment type. Soap creates a matte, soft appearance and velvety smooth feel, that cannot be achieved in this form with any other treatment. Treatment with white lye and white soap gives the lightest surfaces. Soaped surfaces are more sensitive than oiled surfaces in their initial state, however, after approx. 6 months a patina is formed, and the floor becomes less and less sensitive.

Soap-treated surfaces will require more cleaning and maintenance compared to an oiled floor. Wood floor soap can also be used to maintain a regularly cleaned oiled floor.

Installation Preparation & Aftercare

The key to a long-lasting timber floor begins with good preparation of the space where it will be laid, the clean execution of the laying work, and proper subsequent cleaning and aftercare.

The right climatic conditions are particularly important in the room where the Douglas Fir planks will be installed. If the conditions aren’t met issues can occur down the track.

Humidity: You will need to keep an eye on the humidity of the room and ensure it is kept at an acceptable level. If the levels drop too low it can lead to drying up of the timber causing cracks and bowing in the floorboards. We recommend using a humidifier to keep it at 45-50%.

Temperature: The room temperature needs to be at an acceptable level. The Douglas Fir floorboards will also need to acclimatise to the environment it is being installed in.

Subfloor Moisture Content: The residual moisture content of the subfloor is below or the same as the maximum residual moisture content value.

Level Subfloor: The subfloor needs to be level or hollow areas can occur later.

Clean Subfloor: The surface needs to be vacuumed and primed where necessary.

Laying Methods: There are two possible methods for fixing the Douglas Fir floorboards to the substrate: Bonding & screwing. Due to their special dimensions, the planks cannot be floated (laid on a substrate without fixing to the substrate).

Advantages of Bonding Douglas Fir flooring

  • Footfall sound is quieter as the adhesive serves as an acoustic barrier.
  • Low install height as no additional substructure is needed.
  • Very high strength due to the use of premium adhesives which keep the floorboards in shape but still allow the wood to work a little with the seasonal conditions.
  • Solid underfoot feel.
  • Acceptable method for underfloor heating.

Disadvantages of Bonding Douglas Fir flooring

  • The removal of a bonded floor is time and cost-intensive.

Surface Treatments: Once installed the Douglas Fir flooring may require surface treatments to achieve the chosen look.

Care & Maintenance for Douglas Fir Floors: Douglas Fir flooring is a living material that must be treated with care.  With a regular cleaning & maintenance program, you will be able to enjoy your Douglas Fir floor for many years to come. Different surface finishes will require different cleaning treatments.

The Difference between Douglas Fir and Oak hardwood floors


Douglas Fir is a fast-growing softwood and as the name implies, softer than hardwoods such as Oak. Douglas Fir is the highest rated softwood with good strength to weight ratio but is at the lower end of the hardness scale. This means more care must be taken in milling, handling, and the overall use of Douglas Fir floors.

Engineered Douglas Fir flooring has a medium durability rating and is prone to dents and sometimes splitting, making it more suitable for shoe-less households and low-traffic areas. For those who have higher demands or high traffic areas, we recommend hardwoods such as European Oak.


Douglas Fir is unquestionably beautiful with a unique wavy grain. It is characterised by light brown early growth lines and darker pink late growth lines that contribute to the overall pinky hue. It is also extremely smooth to the touch giving it an exceptional ability to retain finishes such as oils and stains. Douglas Fir when finished with a clear oil gives a reddish-brown look.

Alternatively when bleached with lye and soap or stained white the finish gives an airy, contemporary appearance. If the pinky undertones aren’t quite what you are looking for then Oak is a good alternative. Natural Oak can take on virtually any tone from light beige through to brown and red.


Douglas Fir trees are considered one of the world’s best timber-producing species. Douglas Fir is not an apex plank species, which means it never stops growing. One of the oldest Douglas Fir trees found was more than 1350 years old.

Alternatively, European Oak is a remarkably strong and durable wood that grows throughout France, Germany, Croatia, Poland, and many more countries and is one of the most dominant species on the planet.

View Douglas Fir Range

Next Article

← Back to News + Advice

Elevate your interior with VidaSpace. Contact us and one of our team of trained interior designers will be able to guide you through the process.