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What are the Different Engineered Wood Products?

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  • Written By: Jeri Sullivan
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Engineered wood products are made from a combination of wood fibers, strips, and veneer sheets. Smaller diameter trees of the same hard and soft wood used to manufacture lumber are also used. Engineered wood products are also called composite wood, and the materials are bonded together using an adhesive resin which makes the finished product resist warping. Some different products made from engineered wood include flooring, several types of lumber, and particle board.

Engineered flooring is commonly used in both residential and commercial properties because it is typically less expensive and often stronger than traditional hardwood. An engineered hardwood floor is constructed using a thin layer of sealed and sanded hardwood glued to a thicker bottom layer of plywood. The plywood is layered perpendicular from the top layer of hardwood, which is what makes the finished engineered wood floor so strong. Some of the hardwoods used to produce this type of engineered wood product are hickory, oak, and maple.

Engineered lumber is broad term used to describe several types of engineered wood products. The I-joist is used in flooring or decking and is made up of two parts, the web and flange, which are made of laminated veneer lumber (LVL). The flange is glued on both sides of each end of the web to form an I shape. This allows the I-joist to carry a heavier load than traditional lumber, and does not bow or sag even if used for long lengths.

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Another type of engineered lumber is glulam, which is shortened term for glued lamination. Made originally from wood harvested from Scandinavian forests, glulam is now also manufactured in the United States using southern yellow pine. Many layers of thin pieces are glued horizontally to form beams, trusses, or girders. During the manufacturing process, the wood can be bent and compressed into a curved piece that still can support heavy structural elements. Engineered wood products like glulam are most often used for churches or other large structures that require soaring ceilings without large columns for support.

Particle-based engineered wood products include oriented strand board (OSB) and laminated strand board (LSB). OSB, also known as wafer board, is made using shredded wood strips and pressing them into a resin. The wood strips are oriented crosswise to increase strength so the final product is multiple layers thick that has been glued together using a thermal press. LSB is made in a similar process, but instead of wood strips, veneer chips are used and then formed using heat activation.

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Feryll
Post 4

@Animandel - When my girlfriend and I were house hunting, we looked at this great old house that was in our price range. The location was great and the design of the house was perfect for us. We both like old houses. Unfortunately, the previous owner had put down new laminate wood flooring all over the house.

I am not an expert on wood floors, but the engineered laminate wood product was out of place in the old house. Most anyone could look at the floor and immediately know he was not looking at real wood.

Drentel
Post 3

@Animandel - Engineered wood products are of high quality for the most part. When the average person walks into a house and sees an engineered hardwood floor, he cannot see any difference between these floors and all-hardwood flooring. I have a lot of experience with wood floors and even I have to take a second look to be certain which is which sometimes.

Animandel
Post 2

I had no idea there were so many options for wood flooring. In addition to all the different kinds of trees that the flooring can be made from, you have all of the different ways that the flooring is produced.

I had heard of engineered hardwood floors on some of the home design and home renovation shows I watch, but until I read this article I wasn't sure how this type of flooring is different from the traditional hardwood.

Because I have been concerned about the cost of new wood floors, a friend suggested I go with an engineered hardwood. I think she might be right. It sounds like the engineered hardwood is high quality at a lower price than I would pay for the traditional hardwood flooring.

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