Pine Possibilities: Ways to Incorporate Wood Into Your Home

EWP Ways to Use Wood - Ceiling

By their very nature, new structures can lack that ‘old house’ character and charm, which often comes from the use of hand-crafted materials and components, and the time-worn qualities that wood takes on over decades. But even brand-new wood can go a long way toward making a house feel like home. Eastern White Pine has been a highly-prized species of wood for both exterior and interior applications in the home since it was first discovered in New England by settlers looking to start new communities. Here are eight ways to use it in your home, from floor to ceiling.

Interior and Exterior Siding – Board and batten, tongue and groove, D-log and bevel styles of cladding are all available in Eastern White Pine in a variety of sizes and grades, with smooth surfaces and just enough knots to give the wood texture and character.

Ceilings – Whether it’s allowed to be the main feature or whitewashed to set it back visually in order to highlight other architectural elements, Eastern White Pine is a rustic alternative to drywall for ceilings. Check out a video of a unique basket weave ceiling featuring this wood.

Floors – Wide-plank floors are one of the most popular ways to use Eastern White Pine, and they’re an especially beautiful choice in farmhouses and log cabins.

Moulding and Trim – Eastern White Pine has long been a favorite species for use as trim because it’s so easy to work with and provides such a fine, smooth finish that holds paint and stain exceptionally well.

Millwork – A combination of softness and strength makes Eastern White Pine ideal for detail work. Carpenters love it because it’s easy to carve with both hand and machine tools.

Cabinetry – Thanks to its light weight, good looks and affordability, Eastern White Pine is often used for cabinetry and built-ins throughout homes and businesses.

Timbers – Few species of wood work better for rustic, beautiful timber frame homes, in which tree trunks are kept in their natural shape rather than milled into lumber.


Eastern White Pine: A Greener Choice than PVC Trim Board


PVC trim board products like AZEK are often touted as a low-maintenance alternative to wood trim for interior and exterior walls, in both residential and commercial building projects. But what’s the real cost of choosing this synthetic material over one that is natural and renewable? It’s true that PVC trim board, which is engineered to look like wood, is long-lasting and impervious to rot and insects. But so is Eastern White Pine – without the negative environmental effects. While some builders try to pass PVC off as ‘green’ due to its durability, in truth, it’s anything but.

Polynvinyl Chloride has become a very common building material over the last half-century, with over 30 million tons of it used every year. According to the Healthy Building Network, which calls it “the antithesis of a green building material,” PVC poses major environmental and human health hazards throughout its manufacturing, use and disposal. Its production represents the largest use of chlorine gases in the world, a group of chemicals that have come under scrutiny in recent decades due to the unusually severe hazards they tend to pose.

Many of the chemical mixtures used to make PVC haven’t yet been identified or tested, and some of these chemicals have been found to bioaccumulate, meaning they build up in the tissue of living things. The basic materials, additives and byproducts of PVC have been found to cause cancer, disruption of the endocrine system, reproductive impairment, impaired child development, neurotoxicity and immune system suppression. The Healthy Building Network is calling for PVC to be phased out as a building material.

On the other hand, Eastern White Pine is a renewable resource grown in sustainably managed mixed hardwood forests that maintain the balance of natural ecosystems and provide homes for a wide variety of wildlife. This inexpensive and truly eco-friendly building material, which is commonly used for interior and exterior trim board, has many of the benefits of PVC without the serious drawbacks. A traditional building material used in historic Northeastern United States homes for centuries, Eastern White Pine boards provide greater stability and less movement than any other product on the market after being acclimated properly to its new environment.

Photo: NELMA