The case of engineered wood

A footbridge, designed and built by StructureCraft, spanning the Tulameen River at Princeton, Canada. Image credit: StructureCraft

Engineered wood, or manufactured wood, is a resource that almost quite literally surrounds us. From the medium density fibreboard (MDF) to the more common plywood, the material can be found almost everywhere, according to the National Post.

Usually made up of layers of sawdust and even wood scraps glued together with adhesive, engineered wood wastes less lumber as compared to the traditional hardwood cut in a sawmill. Strong, available in sizes not found with lumber, and less wasteful, engineered wood is more flexible as well.


Engineered wood, light and strong. Image credit: Alex Schuldtz/The Holmes Group

Moreover, the wood is a renewable resource, needs less energy for manufacturing, and is strong enough to replace even steel. Already, engineered wood such as glue laminated timber (glulam) beams have taken steel’s place in some structures, such as StructureCraft’s bridge over the Tulameen River, and wood-framed high-rise buildings are beginning to gain attention, offering similar, if not better, fire-resistance and strength than buildings framed with steel.

Structures built out of engineered wood offer many benefits – strong and light, they can offer high ceilings and open concepts. And because the joists use less wood, it takes more time to burn, making it more fire-resistant.


Source: The National Post