Basic Types of Engineered Wood

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Engineered Wood

Engineered wood is a very prominent advance in the manufacturing of building materials. Engineered wood has many comparative benefits over natural wood. It is sustainable as the wood waste is used in manufacturing them. Since it is engineered they are perfect for specific purposes and have specific related properties, especially improved strength, custom thickness and density. They can be easily manipulated, cut and used with basic skill and tools. On the other hand, the adhesives used in making the boards, especially formaldehyde, are not entirely friendly. There are, however, other new resins, though comparatively expensive, that decrease that effect. So here are the basic types of engineered wood.


Plywood is manufactured by gluing together a few plies, layers of wood veneer, together at different angles to create a single sheet of wood. The plies are glued at right angles if the plywood is of low quality and at 45 degrees angle to each sheet to create high quality plywood that is strong at all axes. The plies are almost always used in odd numbers to give it strength not to bend at right angles and prevent warping. Plywood has many applications from aircraft, marine and automobiles to residential indoor furnishing. There are various types of plywood and each is has its own application – softwood, hardwood, tropical, aircraft, marine and other decorative types.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

MDF is manufactured by gluing sawdust, wood shavings, chippings or even any organic fiber together and pressing under high pressure to create fiber boards. There are different types of fiber boards depending on the strength and density – particle board, fiberboard, laminated board and veneer board. These are cheaper than natural wood and plywood, though not as durable and strong. They are easy to deal with and are used almost everywhere from commercial to residential buildings.


Strand boards are made by gluing together flakes of wood using a resin and bonding them together under pressure and temperature. There are different types of strand boards. Oriented strand boards (OSB) are made by glue and wood strands oriented in specific angles which are then subjected to high pressures. This type is mostly used in sheathing and constructing buildings that need to bear a lot of load. Parallel Strand Boards (PSL) are made using method similar to OSB but with the strands aligned in parallel. This helps them bear a lot of load in single direction and hence can be used as beams, columns and such.


Laminated wood is usually made by fusing layers of wood together and applying pressure to strengthen it. Glued Laminated Timber is made by gluing several layers of parallel timber together using adhesives that are resistant to moisture which makes it perfect for beams and columns. It can also be produced in curved shapes and hence offers more flexibility or use. Cross Laminated Timber on the other hand has layers of timber glued across the other layer to improve strength. Laminated Veneer Lumber is made by gluing several thin layers of wood veneer with the grain aligned along the length making it strong in that direction and so right for beams, columns and such.

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