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SYP vs SPF: Which Lumber Is Better?

Choosing good-quality lumber can be very difficult.

Because the two are excellent in their ways.

However, to start the wooding work you’ve to make a final decision. 

So, what are the differences between SYP and SPF?

SYP is stronger and denser than SPF. Therefore, SYP is automatically heavier. Moreover, because of SYP’s high resistance to decay, it can be used outdoors. In reverse, SPF isn’t ideal for outdoor buildings. However, SPF attracts a lot of builders because of its high strength-to-weight ratio. Lastly, SPF is easier to cut than SYP.

This is just a short preview of our comparison guide.

And to be able to make the right decision, we hope you’ll read our guide till the end. 

Now let’s get to know the details!

SYP and SPF: The Basic Differences 

Before jumping into the comprehensive comparison, we should always check out the basics of a topic. For example, you can’t choose between Delrin and Teflon, if you’ve got no clue about them. 

For that reason, we’ve arranged this segment. This will help you take a quick peek and make your decision a little easier.

Now, let’s check out the differences:

Factors SYP SPF
Meaning Southern yellow pine Spruce, pine, and fir
Strength and density Stronger and denser  Less strong and dense
Durability More durable Less durable
Weight Heavier Lighter
Resistance ability High resistance to decay Low resistance to decay
Usage Hard to cut and nail Easy to cut and nail
Color Natural brown wood color White to pale yellow color

So, which one did you like after going through the basic differences?

SYP vs SPF Lumber: Comprehensive Comparison

Now, you can’t judge a book by its cover. It’s the same for the syp vs spf debate as well. 

Therefore, to help you with this, we’ve provided the good and bad sides of the two lumbers.

SYP Lumber

SYP or Southern yellow pine is one of the most used lumbers in the building world. SYP includes four primary species: slash, loblolly, shortleaf, and longleaf. This wood lumber is used to make almost everything.


SYP has a few unique qualities which lead to some pros. And to help you out, we’ve mentioned the pros of SYP:

More Strength and Density 

Southern yellow pine strength and density are very high. The pressure SYP can take without breaking (MOR) is 12,800 pounds per square inch (psi). That’s a lot, isn’t it?

Now let’s take a look at its stiffness too. Well, buddy, the modulus of elasticity of SYP is about 1.8 million pounds per square inch. So yeah, it’s pretty high in stiffness. 

Then if you want a number on its density, we’ve got that for you as well. At an 8% moisture content, the density of SYP is about 34 pounds per cubic foot. 

Also an interesting fact, because of its density and strength, it’s an excellent choice for building wood stair risers.

So, are you tempted to buy SYP or want to explore it a little more?

More Durable And Resistant To Decay

As we’ve mentioned SYP has high density and strength. Hence, it’s more durable compared to others. 

You can also use SYP for outdoor living uses like- wooden decks, patios, etc because more than 60% of the SYP lumber is treated with preservatives. As a result, it’s more resistant to decay and can survive longer.


Now after the pros let’s look at the downside of SYP to be extra sure of which one to buy. 

Heavy Weight, Hard To Cut, And Insert Nails

SYP is very dense. Therefore, it’s one of the heaviest lumbers out there. And yup, it can be hard to insert nails in this wood. You’ve to use regular wood or composite deck screws instead. You’ll also need a very sharp knife to cut and shape it. 

So there are some factors to consider before you choose your lumber. Did this somehow change your mind? 

SPF Lumber

SPF consists of three kinds of species and these are- spruce, pine, and fir. SPF is often used in home construction.


Wouldn’t like to know how SPF fares against SYP? Well, let’s go through the pros of SPF down below.

Strength-to-Weight Ratio

Now the first advantage you’ll get is that SPF is much lighter. Furthermore, SPF has a very high strength-to-weight ratio making it easier to handle. 

And because SPF is equal in weight and strength, you can use it without the help of a very experienced builder. So, you can save money quickly if you choose SPF over SYP. 

Easy To Cut and Insert Nails

Since the density of SPF isn’t as high as SYP, you won’t face any issues with cutting it or inserting nails. Instead, you’ll get an advantage. You can insert screws, nuts, bolts, and nails efficiently using SPF wood.


Just like SYP, SPF has a disadvantage. Let’s take a look at that, shall we?

Less Durable And Low Resistance To Decay

So, as the title suggests, yes it’s less durable than SYP. You can’t use SPF for outdoor framing or living because SPF can’t protect itself from pests. Thus, if you use it outdoors, the wood will start to break down and rot. 

Seems like a big enough reason not to buy this wood lumber?

Don’t change your mind just yet because we’ve got a way to protect your SPF wood. And that is by preserving the wood. You can also buy wood preservers from your nearby store or online. 

For your comfort, we’ve suggested some of them:

Product 1
Product 2

Now you can prevent the decay of SPF to some extent.

The Results

Well, SYP is more suitable for experienced builders.

Whereas, SPF is easier to handle, especially for beginners.

However, the choice completely depends on what you need. So my friend, don’t worry at all and pick the suitable wood for yourself!


What is SPF wood used for?

SPF is often used for home construction. For example, you can use it for house framing. You can also use SPF lumber for furniture. You can even use it to close gaps between the dishwasher and the countertop

Is yellow pine wood suitable for framing?

Yes, it is. For framing, you’ll need high-value wood that can withstand a certain amount of pressure. And yellow pine is known to have high strength and density. Therefore, it’s a perfect pick for framing.

Which lumber is better for outdoor use?

SYP is a better choice because of its high resistance to decay. So, go for SYP instead of buying SPF for outdoor use.