Everything You Need to Know About Engineered Wood: Particle Board, MDF, HDF and Plywood
Over the years, engineered wood has become a preferred choice for interior decorators and home owners. Unlike solid wood, engineered wood is a lot more affordable, has ample room for customisation and also, environmentally speaking, more sustainable than regular solid wood.
Unlike solid wood which is a single thick piece of plain solid wood, engineered wood is manufactured by packing and binding together wood derivatives like wood strands, particles, veneers, wood boards and chips into compact, durable planks. These planks usually vary in size and thickness and are engineered to specific requirements before meeting global standards. Engineered wood has various applications and can be customised to suit your need, be it revamping a home or commercial setup, or designing new spaces altogether.
It is with extensive research and innovation that we have such a wide array of durable and sustainable wood substitutes in the market today. However, the downside of that is that the application of engineered wood in furnishings are similar in nature, making it harder for you to find the right material. Knowing the differences between solid wood and engineered wood in terms of durability, application, features, and design goes a long way in helping you find the right material.
Today there are different types of engineered woods like particle board, MDF, HDF, plywood and blockboards, which are used as alternatives to solid wood. Here, we discuss the different types of engineered wood and their applications in the interior decor of home or office spaces.
Particle Boards or Chipboards -
These boards as their name suggests are made up of wood or jute chips & sticks that are tightly glued together, pressed and extruded under heat. Because particle boards are made up of a lot of wood particles, they are usually smoother and more malleable when compared to solid wood or even plywood. Because of its smoother finish and malleability, these boards come with a range of decorative laminates having smooth, painted surfaces. The cross-grain texture of chipboards/ particleboards adds to its strength, making it one of the most common choices among interior decorators and home owners.
Particle boards are also an environmentally-friendly option as the boards are created using scraps and chips of wood and other lumber products and require no cutting of trees. Another reason it's so popular among homeowners is that it is affordable. Particle boards are one of the cheapest options and a smart substitute to solid wood. If you’re looking to strike just the right balance between your need and budget, particle boards are the way to go.
Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) -
Unlike particle boards which are prepared using wood chips, medium density fibreboards are a wood derivative that combines wood fibers with resin and wax, which are then compressed into flat planks or panels under heat to make it sturdy and strong. Because of their strength, durability and composition, it is a go-to option as building-material in most residential and commercial buildings.
Medium density fibreboards are long-lasting and can survive for much longer than 10 years without wearing out. The boards also have ample room for design customisation as the surface is very smooth, consistent and easy to paint and carve on. Aside from that, MDF is water and moisture resistant which prevents it from expanding, unlike solid wood. The material is tried-and-true and allows for ultra modern designs with scalloped edges or patterns that can be carved on it due to its slightly malleable nature.
MDF is commonly used in furniture like cabinets and shelves, flooring, study tables, doors, door frames, paneling, wainscotting and more.
High Density Fibreboard (HDF) -
Of most engineered wood, HDF is the strongest material and water-resistant by nature. This is why high density fibreboards are the preferred choice as furniture material in heavy-duty spaces like corporates, hotels, theatres and offices. Being one of the strongest types of engineered woods, they’re most durable among fibreboards and can survive up to several years without damage.
This type of wood is commonly used as a floor laminate due to its rigid structure and durability. They are also customised as perforated boards which give a very sleek look in any home or office interior decor space. These perforated boards are used in closet doors and shoe cabinets or any storage space that could use some ventilation.
High density fibreboards are a more affordable option when compared to solid wood or even plywood.
Plywood is unique from the other types of engineered wood due to its distinct cross-grain make. It is made using thinly sliced layers of wood veneer called plies, which are pressed and sandwiched together to form a single plank of plywood.
Known for its durability and resilience, it is said to be the strongest among engineered woods. Apart from being used in kitchen and living spaces as cabinets, tabletops, flooring, etc, plywood is also used as the shuttering panel in walls and concrete as well as in flooring in construction projects. Owing to the durable nature of plywood, it has become a go-to option among interior decorators and home owners. Based on the type of adhesive used, plywoods can also get stronger with time.
While solid wood is a great option, due to expansion and contraction issues, environmental sustainability and the fact that solid wood is expensive, engineered woods have become commonplace in most homes, office and construction spaces.
Engineered woods have a wider rage and room for customisation and also offers greater stability. This makes engineered woods a trusted option among interior decorators and architects.
Based on your need and budget, you can choose from a range of engineered woods to design from scratch or give your existing home or office space a makeover.