What Is Manufactured Wood?

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not manufactured woods are good alternatives to solid real wood. Many low-budget woodworkers prefer manufactured wood in flooring, furniture making, wood roofing, and window framing due to its cost-effectiveness. But what more quality and features do they offer than a lower price? The question is ‘what is manufactured wood’?

Let’s take a look.

What Is Manufactured Wood?

Manufactured woods, also called engineered wood, composite wood, mass timber, or man-made wood. Manufactured woods are woods made from gluing, heating, and compressing different layers of solid and composite woods and pieces of lumbers together with adhesives. Manufactured are suitable for various purposes, like furniture and flooring, etc.

We’ll explore all the different aspects of manufactured wood in this article. Specifically, we’ll look at the following to explain what manufactured wood entails:

  • Types and grades of manufactured wood
  • Pros and cons of manufactured wood
  • Applications of manufactured wood
  • Differences between Solid Wood vs. Manufactured wood
  • Differences between Solid Wood Flooring vs. Engineered Wood flooring
  • FAQs about manufactured wood

So, let’s get going!

7 Types of Manufactured Wood

Manufactured wood has 7 types and they include:

1. Cross-laminated Timber (CLT)

Cross-laminated timber, also called X-Lam, is engineered timber made from heating and gluing together multiple solid sawn lumbers in odd or even layers using vacuum or hydraulic pressure. Each layer of the board is layered perpendicular to one another and glued side by side, with each facing the other. To increase the thickness and strength of a CLT, timber panels are arranged cross perpendicularly. 


  • Multiple layers of wood 
  • Good heat-insulating properties  
  • Great load-bearing capacity
  • Design-flexible
  • Easy application and installation 
  • Lightweight and sustainable 


  • Relatively costlier than concrete and steel
  • less long-term flexibility
  • Higher material costs 


  • Flooring
  • X-Lam timber roof
  • Decking
  • Walls and beams
  • Building ceilings

2. Plywood

This is a type of engineered wood that is made from multiple plies of thin wood glued together perpendicularly. 

When you glue wood fiber sheets to resin, plywood is produced. It has a very strong cross-graining capacity because it doesn’t split easily along the grain as you will find in solid wood. 


  • Applicable in both dry and damp condition
  • Comes in multiple types: marine, aero
  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Can resist seawater 
  • Comes in grades A and B


  • Can easily peel off or chip when sawing
  • Difficult to cut
  • Suitable only for interior application
  • Not rot-resistant


  • Cabinetry
  • Interior walls
  • Flooring
  • Roofing
  • Wall sheathing
  • Furniture

Related Post >> Staining Plywood Cabinets, Floors, Walls – Best Stain for Plywood [Ultimate Guide]

3. Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL)

When wood veneers are compressed and bonded together with glues and resins, the result you get is veneer wood. LVL is strong and durable with an amazingly high density and power, making it suitable for framing. The veneers of laminated veneer lumber are stacked in a one-grain direction and only one side of the LVL can bear loads. 


  • Relatively less expensive
  • Non-toxic and minimal VOC emission
  • Highly strong and durable
  • Incredible aesthetics
  • High density


  • Not water-resistant
  • High cost of maintenance
  • Complex installation process


  • Furniture
  • Artworks
  • Framing
  • Ceiling
  • Walls
  • Flooring

4. Composite Board

As the name implies, the composite board is engineered wood from the heating and extrusion of layers of wood fiber and plastic material. Other materials include borate preservatives, pigments, and ultraviolet inhibitors. It can be made from recycled materials. 


  • Easy to install
  • Cost-effective
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly
  • Features in a range of types and colors
  • Resistant to wear and tear


  • Emit Formaldehyde
  • Heavier than natural wood


  • Trimming
  • Exterior shutters
  • Home and barn construction

5. Laminated Strand Lumber (LSL)

As the name suggests, laminated strand lumber is a type of engineered wood that is made from strands of lumber. These strips of wood are positioned in a thick and angled pattern to guarantee higher density and quality than the laminated veneered lumber. LSL is a composition of 5% resin and 95% wood fiber. 


  • Highly torsion and weight-resistant
  • Relative higher quality than LVL
  • Eco-friendly


  • Highly expensive
  • Can be too strong 


  • Structural Framing
  • Tall wall studs
  • Headers and beams
  • Millwork and window framing

6. Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

Oriented strand board is a type of manufactured wood that is made from the addition and gluing of adhesives to different layers of wood flakes or strands in measured orientations. Each layer of the strips usually lies unevenly on each other to ensure strength and thickness.  


  • Available in a large number of sizes 
  • Consistent
  • Resource-efficient
  • Wide range of use
  • Load-bearing applications
  • Incredible shear strength
  • Cheap and affordable


  • Low resistance to moisture
  • Prone to swelling edges
  • Heavy


  • Construction
  • Wall sheathing
  • Roofing 
  • Decking 

7. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Medium Density Fireboard (MDF) is an engineered wood made from the binding of sawdust with adhesives. As you apply the glue, the sawdust will first dehydrate before heating. The heating plus the addition of resins make the sawdust bond together firmly. You can cut the final product to fit the project 


  • High-grade density.
  • Finishes well with paint when sealed
  • No imperfections or knots 
  • Eco-friendly
  • High workability and drills very easily
  • Adheres well with PVA


  • Causes eye irritation and breathing issues 
  • Lacks resistance to water
  • Requires high maintenance
  • No natural grain


  • Shelving
  • Model making 
  • Soundproofing
  • Roofing
  • Cabinetry
  • Doors and frames
  • Flooring


Generally, manufactured woods come in grades. Your preference and the type of project at hand will inform the wood’s grade to buy. If you opt for low-grade manufactured wood in place of high-grade, the consequences can be far-reaching. 

Here are the different grades of manufactured wood. The APA Engineered Wood Association authors the grading system below:

  • Grade A: This is the best and most superior grade of manufactured wood. They offer great qualities and unparalleled properties. However, they are the most expensive of the grades. They can be easily finished and sealed. They’re composed of veneers.  
  • Grade B: This is next to the Grade A manufactured wood. However, they are of less high quality than Grade A. Their imperfections and knots can be easily repaired. They’re less smooth than Grade A as they contain small patches.
  • Grade C: They feature visible imperfections and knots. They come with a 1.5-inch diameter. The Grade C wood can easily lose its color, no thanks to the small patches. However, the knots can easily repair. 
  • Grade D: This is the least grade of manufactured wood. They have knots and imperfections not easy to quickly get rid of. Their quality can damage within seconds. They’re extremely cheap in price and quality. 


Manufactured wood comes with its advantages, making it popular among different kinds of artists, woodworkers, builders, and crafters. The pros include:

  • Sustainable: You can manufacture wood of the same or more strength and density than the natural solid wood using younger trees.
  • Reduces waste: With the use of most, if not all, parts of a tree, you can reduce the amount of wood being recycled or thrown away. This way, you can avoid waste resulting from cutting dimensional trees.
  • Comes in different sizes and types: Another important advantage of engineered wood is that it comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and types. This way, you can choose from a pool.
  • Resists warping: Typically, some manufactured wood have strong resistance to splitting and warping. This means that they won’t split easily as you may find with some solid wood.
  • Multi-directional grains: Some engineered wood have layers of grains patterned in multiple directions. This supports the reinforcement, density, and strength of the wood.   


Here are some of the downsides of manufactured wood:

  • Poor Appearance: Aesthetics is a major issue with manufactured wood. They don’t offer a quality appearance for your floor, door, frames, shelves, and more.
  • Limited applications: Manufactured woods don’t have a wide range of applications. Some are made for specific purposes and can be applied in other instances. Most manufactured woods intended for interior purposes can’t work for exterior applications.  
  • Expensive: Engineered woods are always more expensive than solid wood. The reason is simple. You’ll need to buy different types of wood to glue and compress to make manufactured wood.   
  • Low density: Manufactured woods are typically thin and so won’t support sanding. 

What is Manufactured Wood Used For?

1. Furniture

Since manufactured woods are different woods, they come in particleboard, chipboard, fiberboard, laminated board or plywood, veneer wood, and more. Four of the manufactured woods suitable for furniture making are fiberboard, plywood, medium fiberboard, particleboard and chipboard. While only medium density fiberboard and plywood can be used for high-end furniture, others are suitable for low-end furniture. 

Generally, regardless of the type, manufactured will work perfectly to make furniture that we use in our day-to-day running of the home. Manufactured wood boasts surface smoothness, great workability, amazing aesthetics and appearance, nailing and screwing ability, and finish smoothness. All these make manufactured wood the best pick for furniture making.  

2. Decks

Although manufacturing is a great option to make outdoor materials like decks, it is better to opt for treated manufactured woods. It’s not ideal to use untreated manufactured wood for outdoor materials. Manufactured wood has poor resistance to water and the elements. Don’t forget, the decks are always out there in the open, beating by rain, sun, and UV light. These environmental factors will affect the decks and unless the wood materials used are treated, they won’t last long.  

3. Bathroom vanity

Solid wood is the best option for making a bathroom vanity when it comes to durability. Solid woods are strong, durable, and hard. But in the absence of this, you can use manufactured wood. Manufactured woods are not as strong and durable as their solid wood counterparts. They also have lower resistance to moisture and so can easily get damaged when in contact with a high volume of water. 

But they won’t contract and expand steadily under humidity changes as solid wood will do. Also, manufactured wood can provide the needed durability and resistance against humidity and other environmental changes that affect the bathroom vanity. 

4. Outdoors

If you’re using manufactured wood for outdoor projects, it works well. But make sure you use treated manufactured wood. Manufactured woods have a low resistance to humidity and moisture. A little water drop on the water on manufactured wood can damage it. 

Treated manufactured wood will work well on outdoor projects like decks, pallets, wine racks, wooden yard dice, wooden deck cooler, slat welcome mat, kid’s teepee, and more. To a large extent, the wood will provide considerable durability that will last the outdoor projects for as long as the strength and hardness of the wood can carry.  

5. Fencing

Composite woods are a great option if you’re considering fencing your home. Usually, composite lumber is perfect to make composite fences but you may have budget three times more than the normal   

Solid Wood vs. Manufactured Wood: What’s the Difference?

Do you know the differences between solid wood and manufactured wood? Let’s take a look at the differences here.

1. Manufacture

Manufactured wood is made from natural wood through a combination of three processes that include heating, gluing, and compression. When you heat, glue, and compress wood chips and sawdust together, the result is a wood-like composite that’s called manufactured wood. However, solid wood is natural wood that is neither manufactured nor heated. 

2. Types/Sources

Solid wood is the real wood and its source is from nature. It comes in different species as hardwoods. They can be oak, cherry, maple, chestnut wood, Wenge wood, hackberry wood, and more. On the other side of the coin, manufactured wood comes from already existing woods. It’s a chemical composition of the combination of many layers of wood. It comes in the form of a fireboard, particleboard, chipboard, and more. 

3. Durability

Solid woods are more resistant and durable than their manufactured counterparts. They can hold out against the shenanigans of the elements and moisture and last up to 50 years. Manufactured are relatively durable but not as durable as solid wood. They can last up to 25-30 years.

4. Water and Heat Resistance

When it comes to heat and water resistance, both solid and manufactured woods are highly resistant. However, the woods’ levels of resistance differ depending on the amount of water and heat that hits them. The two wood types may not be able to resist large amounts of water.   

5. Hardness

Solid wood is harder than manufactured. Depending on the species of hardwood, the Janka hardness value of hardwood can be as high as 3800 blf. However, manufactured wood is softwood and often has a low Janka hardness value range between 500-600 blf.

6. Sanding

Manufactured wood flooring cannot be sanded since they contain a wear layer that can be affected. Secondly, they’re made from recycled wood and any sanding on the wood will affect them. However, real wood contains a natural solid surface without any unnatural layer. They will accept sanding easily.  

7. Eco-friendly

Manufactured wood contains a higher volume of toxins and volatile organic chemicals. These chemicals are not safe for the home and the environment. Manufactured wood gives off toxic chemicals readily to the environment. However, solid woods have little or no toxins, so they are eco-friendly.

8. Easily Recyclable

Because solid woods can be sanded and refinished, they are recyclable and reused. If you have a damaged top of your table, you can cut down the legs and reuse the wood to make shelves or small-sized shoe racks. Nothing goes to waste in solid wood.

On the other hand, manufactured wood is made from recycled wood and so can be recycled. Once it gets bad, MDF cannot be recycled.   

Solid Wood Flooring vs. Engineered Wood Flooring

The debate has been between engineered wood and solid wood flooring. What is the difference between these two types? We’ll find out under the following headings:

1. Appearance

Usually, solid wood is heavier than its engineered counterpart. Whereas you can feel the grain of solid wood; when you touch an engineered wood flooring, you may not be able to feel the grain. Veneered wood flooring has a finished, uniform appearance. There are hidden sides of solid wood with an unfinished appearance.  

2. Formaldehyde and toxic VOCs

Generally, engineered wood flooring contains Formaldehyde, a form of carcinogen, and a higher volume of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). The toxic compounds off-gas for months after the wood production. Once these toxins are released, they become unsafe and irritable to respiratory and digestive systems. Solid wood contains a little and tolerable level of VOCs.

3. Water and Heat Resistance

Both solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring are resistant to water. However, their level of moisture resistance can only accommodate small amounts of liquid spillages and water. They both have a low resistance to large amounts of water, even though solid wood flooring is more heat-resistant.   

4. Durability

Engineered wood flooring has lower durability than solid wood because it contains thinner wood layers. The durability of engineered will wear down over time due to use, the elements, and other changes in the environment. Solid is more durable and will last long years.    

5. Lifespan

Engineered wood flooring can last up to 30 years before it will need to be replaced. Solid wood will last much longer, up to 50 years. The longevity of the veneered wood flooring depends on the quality of the wood and production. 

6. Sizes

On average, engineered wood flooring has a thickness range of 3/8″ to ½” with a standard density of 1¼. On the other hand, solid wood is ¾ thick with a standard thickness of 2¼. The width range of the planks for engineered and solid wood flooring is 5 inches and 5-11 inches respectively.  

7. Installation

Installing solid wood flooring comes more difficult than the engineered counterpart when it comes to installation. When setting up solid wood flooring, you’ll have to go for a special flooring nailer, sander, and finish.  

8. Cost

Engineered wood flooring is made from solid wood for a wide range of low-end applications. When compared to solid wood flooring, engineered wood flooring is less expensive. Solid wood flooring is extremely expensive because they come from natural fully grown trees.   

9. Cleaning and Maintenance

Solid wood flooring requires little or no maintenance because they hardly give any issues during their long active years. Cleaning solid wood is easier than engineered wood and with soap and water, you can get it done. Engineered wood flooring can bring up issues and may require the use of denatured alcohol to clean.    

What should you pay attention to when choosing manufactured wood for your home? 

Here are a few things to look out for before you opt for any manufactured wood:

1. thickness of the top skin

The hardness of the wear layer matters when choosing manufactured wood for your home. The harder the top skin of the wood, the more protected the entire wood surface is to scratches, burns, and stains. What it means is that your manufactured wood will show more resilience to dents if it’s a hard top layer. This way, it can maintain its evergreen look.  

2. Number of veneers in the core

Your manufactured wood should be veneered for a perfect and constant fresh appearance. The more the veneer, the more the manufactured board can retain its glossy appearance. So, make sure that your engineered wood surface has the thin covering properly glued to it.  

3. Number of finish layers

Another important factor to consider is the number of finish coats on the engineered wood floorboard. Larger coats provide better protection and finish to the wood. The fewer the coats, the less protected your engineered wood. 

4. Cost

The price of your manufactured depends a lot on the first three factors we listed. Quality products don’t come cheap. If you’re going for manufactured wood with amazing thickness and a great number of veneers and coats, you should be ready to spare a few bucks.  

5. Warranty

A well-engineered manufactured wood will last at least 20 years. Some will work up to 30 years before they will need any replacement. So, the warranty depends largely on the quality and standard of the engineered wood. If well made, you’ll enjoy your manufactured wood for a long time.   


Is manufactured wood good quality?

Yes, it is one of the best woods to use in the industry. It is durable with multiple levels of wood panels. The wood has excellent qualities with considerably high strength. These properties make the wood suitable for flooring. 

What is considered manufactured wood?

Wood is considered manufactured if it comes from the composition of wood chips or chipboards and sawdust to form a wood-like composite. The processes involved in engineering a manufactured wood are heating, gluing, and compression. 

Is manufactured wood real?

Yes, manufactured wood is made of layers of real wood panels that include both hardwood and softwood. The top layer of the wood is coated with melamine to protect the wood surface against burns, scratches, and stains.   

Can you sand manufactured wood?

Absolutely! You can sand the surface of a manufactured as many times as you want to ensure a good finish. This ability to sand makes manufactured wood different from laminate flooring. The engineered wood floorboards are designed with a top skin or ‘wear layer’ of real wood that accommodates multiple rounds of sanding.  

How long does engineered wood last?

On average, engineered wood can last up to 30 years. The durability of the wood is exceptional, meaning you won’t have to replace it until at least 25 years. The multi-layer level of the wood panels, including plywood, veneer, hardboard, chipboard, and HDF, offers it the ability to withstand the elements.  

Final Words

Engineered wood has come a long way in many industries. Its multi-purpose capacity has endeared the wood to many artists, woodworkers, DIY home and barn builders, constructors, and contractors. Its amazing features of high workability, easy drilling, cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and simple depiction make the wood sought-after. 

The visible presence of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Formaldehyde doesn’t make the material less effective. It’s worth giving a try in your next project. You can be sure you won’t regret using manufactured wood over any other type of wood, including solid wood. Hope everything will work fine according to plan and desired result.   

Leave a Comment