16 Oct The Benefits of Engineered Timbers vs Solid Timbers
Whether you’re looking for bespoke sash windows, French doors or other timber products to enhance your Devon property, you’ll want to give plenty of thought to your choice of materials. For example, did you know that solid timbers aren’t your only option for structural elements? You won’t want to overlook engineered timbers; indeed, our experienced Newton Abbot joinery team firmly believes in them.
The growing popularity of these innovative timbers stems from the fact they offer numerous benefits and advantages compared to solid timbers, without compromising on authenticity or style. As joinery industry supplier Timbmet emphasises, engineered timber is ‘designed to combine high performance and aesthetic appeal’.
The Multi-Layered Structure Improves Stability
The secret to engineered timber’s success lies in its structure. A solid timber plank is made from a single piece of wood. Engineered timbers such as WoodEx are different; each piece is typically composed of three layers of wood that have been securely and permanently bonded together, often using gluing and compression techniques. As a result, these multi-layered hardwood and softwood timbers are remarkably immune to the destructive effects of shrinking and swelling commonly seen in solid timber products.
Wood movement occurs in response to changing moisture levels in the atmosphere and, in the words of the Family Handyman blog, ‘causes heartbreak when projects crack and warp’. It’s also responsible for issues such as window sashes and doors sticking in their frames. Fortunately, engineered timbers don’t behave in this way, because each layer is carefully positioned so that its wood grain runs in a different direction to that of its neighbour(s).
As the layers are moving in different directions – pulling against each other – engineered timber maintains its shape. (The process is comparable to people pulling each end of a rope, keeping it taut and straight.) Joinery companies refer to this benefit as increased dimensional stability; and it means your Devon sash windows or French doors can work properly all year round. In short, engineered timbers are more rigid, strong and reliable than solid timbers.
Engineered Timber Has No Imperfections
Another major advantage engineered timbers have over solid timbers is they’re free of wood defects – knots, shakes, splits, etc. are removed instead of being included in the layers. So engineered timber has no weak or misshapen areas and therefore performs more consistently. It also has a more uniform, attractive appearance and texture than solid timber, making it easier to cut, carve, stain and paint.
It’s ideal for doors and windows – features that will be seen and used every day. Engineered timbers help to maximise the quality and lifespan of sash windows, say, while minimising the amount of maintenance needed. No wonder James Latham, the manufacturer of WoodEx, calls engineered timber ‘a kind of super-wood’!
Moreover, having no imperfections and acting in a more predictable way means engineered timbers can insulate your property and help to regulate its temperature more effectively than solid timbers.
Less Waste and Enhanced Sustainability
Because engineered timbers don’t contain wood defects and come in standard sizes, they require less trimming, lead to less waste and can be more cost-effective than solid timbers. For example, you won’t find your joinery project impeded by a split plank that needs replacing or have to go hunting for near-mythical flawless pieces of solid timber! And the fact that engineered timbers are composed of layers makes them more sustainable and efficient to produce, as they can make good use of smaller, slimmer pieces of wood.
In addition, engineered timbers come in a variety of beautiful colours, as several different types of wood are used. For example, Red Grandis is reddish orange, Sapele is a lustrous dark brown and European Larch has warm beige tones.
Modified Timber Is Another Superb Option
It’s also worth mentioning modified timbers here, as they have similar benefits. ‘Modified’ means the timber has undergone chemical, thermal or physical treatment to improve its performance. A superb example is Accoya, which is also ideal for Devon French doors, sash windows, etc.
As the Accoya website explains, pine is treated with acetic acid to reduce moisture absorption and wood movement, creating an ‘extremely dimensionally stable and durable wood’ that behaves in a similar way to engineered timbers.
Superior Timber Windows and Doors for Devon
Engineered and modified timbers give nature a helping hand by enhancing wood’s natural qualities and resolving common problems. That’s why we love working with them.
As our customer case studies demonstrate, our multi-layered hardwood, softwood and Accoya timber doors and windows are designed to impress and built to last.
For a free, no-obligation quotation, please contact JTP Joinery in Devon today.