Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Basic things you need to know about the difference between composite wood and natural timber wood.
How to differentiate Composite Wood vs Natural Timber Wood?
“A simple way to remember the difference between composite wood and natural timber wood is basically to look into the meaning behind their names.”
"One is simply human-made,
and the other is nature-derived!"
Based on the definitions from Oxford Languages, ‘Composite’ means made up of several parts or elements, whereas ‘Natural’ means existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.
Let us look more in-depth into Composite Wood and Natural Timber Wood!
What is Composite Wood?
Another term for composite wood would be engineered wood, manmade wood, or manufactured board. It is a mixture of different wood products (wood strands, wood fibers, or wood boards usually from the waste wood of sawmills) and several components such as plastic and straw. They are combined and stuck together with adhesives through a chemical or heat process, producing a wood product with desired sizes that cannot be obtained from nature. Composite wood is manufactured to have certain qualities or features that do not occur naturally in the environment; hence it can have diverse applications.
Different types of Composite Woods/Engineered Woods
Below are the several types of frequently used composite woods/engineered woods in the construction industry:
1. Glulam Timber
3. Oriented Strand Board
5. Fiberboard - Hardboard (high-density fiberboard), Insulation Board (cellulosic fiberboard), and MDF (medium-density fiberboard).
What is Natural Timber Wood?
Natural timber wood is the wood of growing trees that has been processed into beams and planks. Timbers are used for structural purposes, such as building houses (columns, beams, parts of trusses, or other structural systems) and making furniture.
There are two types of natural timber wood: hardwoods and softwoods.
Don’t be tricked by their names as hardwoods do not necessarily mean that they are harder than softwoods and vice versa!
Hardwoods are trees that produce leaves and seeds. Some of the common hardwoods are oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, and walnut. Hardwoods are known for their beautiful and distinct wood grain patterns.
Softwoods are trees that have needles and produce cones. Some of the common softwoods are pine, cedar, fir, spruce, and redwood. Softwoods are mostly strong and used in many different building applications like woodworking, construction, and furniture. Cedar and redwood are ideal for exterior projects like decking and outdoor furniture as they can resist rot and insects.
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