Building a birdhouse is probably the best starting project for any hobby woodworker or would-be hobby woodworker. It is a relatively easy project to start with. I myself build my own birdhouse when I started to work with wood and I learned a lot while having a lot of fun too. But, because building a birdhouse is such a popular starting project, lots of people will get stuck right in the beginning when it comes to choosing the right kind of wood for the birdhouse. The wood will sit outside and it should be easy to work with. I had the same problem with choosing the best type of wood for a birdhouse, mainly because I didn´t really know anything about different kinds of wood and their advantages and disadvantages. So to spare you the same headache, that I had, I will tell you exactly what types of wood are good for Birdhouses and why.
In short, the best wood to use for a birdhouse is Cedar or Redwood. Both of these wood types are naturally very weather-resistant. If Cedar or Redwood is not available, then Pine or Cypress can be used too. It is also important, that the wood is untreated.
The two best types of wood for birdhouses are redwood and cedar. If you can get either of these wood types, then you should go with one of these over Pine or Cypress.
Cedarwood for Building a Birdhouse
Cedarwood is very weather resistant and because of that, it is very popular for wood projects and buildings, that are going to be outside.
Cedar is a very good choice for building a birdhouse. But, as with any other wood type, it has its advantages and disadvantages.
I will quickly go over every advantage and disadvantage of every type of wood and in the end, you can decide what type of wood is best for your project.
Let´s start with the advantages of Cedarwood.
Wood glues work very well for gluing Cedarwood and Cedarwood is naturally very resistant to rot and insects.
It doesn´t typically splinter all that much over time because it is naturally water-resistant.
Even though it is recommended to seal the Cedarwood you don´t actually have to seal it in any way. Its natural weather resistance is more than enough to last a couple of years outside without any treatment. Still, you can extend the duration, that the wood lasts outside by simply sealing it after you finished building the birdhouse.
Now, let´s have a look at the disadvantages of Cedarwood.
Unfortunately, there are a few disadvantages to using Cedarwood. The biggest disadvantage is, that the wood has a lot of expansion and contraction depending on the season and the weather.
This also means that mechanical fasteners like nails and screws tend to loosen over time due to the wood expanding and contracting over the years. So when you are working with Cedarwood, you should use stainless bolts and nuts or washers to build your Birdhouse. Galvanized Screws can also be used to fasten the wood.
So as you can see, Cedarwood is an awesome wood for crafting any kind of project, that will be sitting outside for longer periods of time, like raised garden beds, garden furniture, and birdhouses of course. Even though it has its small drawbacks.
Redwood for Building a Birdhouse
Redwood is a very beautiful wood type but depending on where you live it can also be quite expensive or hard to come by. I will go over its advantages and disadvantages just as I did before with Cedarwood and you can decide if this is the right kind of wood for your Birdhouse.
Let´s start with the advantages, again.
Just like Cedarwood Redwood is very weather resistant.
It has a very rich red color to it and because of that, it is very popular for building beautiful furniture.
Redwood is extremely durable and it is resistant to insects, water, and termites. Which makes it the perfect choice for outdoor furniture and Birdhouses.
It also not shrink or decay as it ages, which means it will not crack or deform over longer periods of time.
So Redwood has a lot of very impressive attributes, that make it very popular among crafters and woodworkers but it also has a few disadvantages, that should not be ignored.
So, let´s take a look at its disadvantages.
Probably the biggest disadvantage of redwood is its softness. Redwood is quite soft when compared to most other types of wood, which makes it prone to denting.
Redwood is also very expensive especially if you don´t live near an area where redwood trees grow.
As with Cedarwood redwood also tends to expand and contract quite a lot depending on the temperature and season outside. So you have to use stainless steel fasteners or galvanized screws to avoid any screws or nails coming loose.
Pine and Cypress Woods for Crafting a Birdhouse
These two types of wood are not the best choice for building a birdhouse. Mainly because they both don´t have a lot of natural weather-resistance. So they have to be treated before you can put them outside for longer periods of time.
I threw both of these woods together because the advantages and disadvantages of building a Birdhouse with these types of wood are pretty similar.
So if you can use either Cedarwood or Redwood, then definitely go for one of these two types of wood instead of using Pine or Cypress Wood.
If you cant get Redwood or Cedar, then I would suggest going for Pine and only choose Cypress wood if you really can´t get any of the other options.
But if you have to go for Pine or Cypress wood, then here are the most important things, that you have to care for when using these types of wood.
First, these types of wood tend to deform when they are moist. So when buying them in the hardware store make sure, that the wood planks are straight.
And try to build at least most of the birdhouse in one day just to give the wood no chance to deform. You should also store the wood in a dry place. Or it may deform if you are not careful.
You can use regular wood screws when you are working with these types of woods but you have to seal the wood once you are done.
That being said especially pine is quite durable if you protect it by properly sealing it. So it is a good alternative if you cant get Cedar or Redwood.
To seal Pine and Cypress wood all you need is Polyurethane in the desired tint. Simply apply 2 thin layers of the Polyurethane and let it dry for 24 hours between the layers. Apply it very carefully and try to cover every edge and angle.
If you want to color your birdhouse, then you don´t need to seal the birdhouse with Polyurethane, and instead, you should get some paint, that also acts as a wood sealant. You can easily get these paints at any hardware store in the colors section.
Just make sure, that the color is meant for outdoor use and is sealing the wood.
You should also apply at least two layers of these paints, just to be sure. And just as before, make sure to cover every edge to protect the wood as well as possible.