Engineered wood is a type of wood that is used for construction. It is made from wood fibers and other non-wood components. The materials are bonded together with adhesives or other bonding agents. Engineered wood is designed to be used where wood components are needed but would not be desirable because of their weight or the time it would take to grow the wood.
Engineered wood is made using three main methods. The first is known as particleboard. This is made with varying percentages of wood fibers and other materials. Another method is called laminated veneer lumber. This is made from several layers of veneers that are bonded together with adhesives. The final method is known as plywood.
The primary way to produce this wood is the following: small pieces of wood glued together with an adhesive. It is manufactured by placing a mat of wood chips, usually plywood or particleboard, in a large vacuum bag.
The bag is then filled with an adhesive, and the adhesive is forced out of the bag by the vacuum, bonding the chips together. The result is a large block of wood-based material, cut into the desired sizes and shapes. Below you can find the common engineered wood types with their pros and cons.
7 Main Types Of Engineered Wood
There are many types of engineered wood on the market today. Each type has its specific properties and is designed for certain types of work. One type is for flooring, another for siding and exterior applications. Below I have described the main types of engineered wood.
Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL)
Laminated strand lumber (LSL) is high-strength lumber made from wooden strands. The strands are formed in a mold and then heat- and pressure-treated. They are then layered in a press under pressure to form boards. The boards are cut to size and used to build a variety of different structures.
Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL)
Laminated veneer lumber (LVL) is a high-quality engineered wood product increasingly used for commercial applications. LVL’s are manufactured by bonding together veneer. The veneer is formed by gluing thin slices of wood together.
Once bonded, the wood veneer is manufactured into standard sizes and then milled to the desired shape and size. The resulting product can be used for various applications, including flooring, decking, buildings, and more.
Plywood is a building material composed of multiple layers of wood veneer, glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another. It is the world’s largest traded commodity in volume.
This is a versatile material used for things as diverse as furniture, building, and church pews. Plywood is a composite of thin layers of wood, often oriented to give a favorable material strength in a certain direction (called the grain direction). The grain direction of the plies runs parallel to the length of the plywood sheet so that the long fibers in the plies give the plywood in that direction the
The most common purpose of plywood is to make strong, rigid boxes. Other uses include making cabinets, furniture, or any kind of container where strength, rigidity, and dimensional stability are important. Besides home use, plywood can be used in many other industries, including construction, industrial, and automotive.
Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
Oriented strand board (OSB) is a sheet material manufactured from thin layers of wood (strands). The layers are oriented (placed at an angle) to each other and pressed together with adhesives. The wood’s grain is 90 degrees to the surface, making OSB as strong as plywood but with greater dimensional stability.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF), also known as Engineer hardboard or hardboard, is a manufactured, engineered wood product used in construction and other applications where strength, appearance, and ease of fabrication are essential.
MDF is composed of small wood fibers (referred to as wood flake or chip) held together by a resin binder. The resin binder bonds the wood fibers to form a homogeneous material with properties different from the original wood fibers used to produce the MDF board.
The composite board is a building material made of plastic and wood fibers and possibly other fibers. Unlike pure wood, composite boards are generally used in places where wood can not be used, such as bridges, ships, buses, and trains.
An important reason for the composite board’s popularity is its price. For example, the composite board of the economy is used in the production of laminated wood.
Cross-laminated Timber (CLT)
Cross-laminated Timber (CLT) is a structure made of many layers of dimensional lumber boards glued together with the grain alternating at right angles. This is different from traditional lumber, which has its grain oriented parallel to the boards’ length. CLT is made by gluing multiple layers of 3/4″ – 2″ lumber boards into a 2″ thick sandwich then cut into a large panel. The result is a panel that is extremely strong and stiff.
Advantages Of Engineered Wood
Engineered wood is preferred over solid wood for many reasons. First and foremost, it is more cost-effective. It is made from smaller pieces of wood, so it uses less natural resources, making it an excellent option for the environment. It is also stronger than solid wood, making it a good option for those looking for a little more durability. Moreover, this wood type is cheaper and easier to work with and is often more durable than other wood products.
Disadvantages Of Engineered Wood
The engineered wood’s main disadvantage is that it is prone to cracking, especially when routed. It also is more likely to warp, shrink and swell than a natural wooden product.