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What Are Some Termite-Resistant Woods?

Kennedi Rose

The three most common types of wood used as construction lumber -- Douglas fir, hemlock and spruce -- are not resistant to termites. If you live in a place where termites are not a major threat, such as Colorado, that might be OK.

Termites can do enormous damage to your home -- building with a resistant wood helps protect it.

However, if you live in a termite-prone area such as the South, you could benefit from using termite-resistant structural lumber. While this lumber may cost more or be harder to find, it will protect your home against damage.

Chestnut and Chestnut Oak

Chestnut trees have strong termite resistances and grow in temperate climates in the U.S. Historically most barns east of the Mississippi River were constructed from chestnut, in part for its hardiness. However, chestnut trees were decimated in the early 1900s by an Asian fungus, and the remaining survivors are consequently more rare and expensive. Chestnut became a less-popular building material as the demand for new homes skyrocketed in the past century.


Native to California and the Pacific Northwest, the redwood is hardy and highly termite-resistant. The durability of the redwood causes these trees to be among the tallest in the U.S., and many redwoods are among the nation's oldest trees. Redwoods are also a threatened species, and many "save the redwoods" movements are popular.

Oregon White Oak

A hardwood deciduous tree common in the Pacific Northwest down through central California, the Oregon White Oak is hardy and termite-resistant like the redwood, which grows in the same area. The qualities of this tree range broadly depending on what type of soil it is grown in, but the Society of American Foresters recognizes all types of Oregon White Oak as a forest cover, in part because it, like the redwood, also tends to grow to be among the tallest trees.

Western Juniper

Also known as the Sierra Juniper, the Western Juniper is found in the same general vicinity as the Oregon White Oak and the redwoods: its territory stretches from southeastern Oregon to central California. Unlike the white oak and redwood, it doesn't usually grow in coastal areas and its terrain stretches as far inland as the western borders of Nevada and Idaho. Unlike the oak and redwood, it tends to be short and easily damaged by wildfires, which are common in California. Recent infestations of pests have wiped out major swaths of Western Junipers. The tree's short height, which means developers get less wood per tree, makes it not highly commercialized.