Natural Wood vs Engineered Wood

Difference between Natural Wood vs Engineered Wood


Among our articles, you will find what is natural wood. You will also find what is engineered wood. Here, lets discuss what is the difference between natural wood and engineered wood.

If you are not keen on reading a whole article on these types of wood, in a nutshell, lets put the definitions below first.

Natural wood is wood in its natural form. It may have gone through some treatment processes to remove moisture and make it more resistant but its basically timber which is then cut and chopped into the desired product. We have discussed the various forms of wood like hard wood and soft wood in another article.

Engineered wood is itself a man made product, usually in the form of boards which has been formed with wood as its primary raw material. Plywood, blockboard, Particle Board, MDF, HDF are engineered wood. We have discussed all these engineered woods in greater detail in separate articles.

Lets get on with the differences.

Advantages of Natural wood over Engineered wood.
  1. Possibly the biggest advantage of Natural wood is its aesthetics and beauty. Engineered wood, without any additional finish, cannot compete with natural wood in this regard. In fact, many membranes and laminates are made to copy one or the other type of natural wood.

  2. Usage for furniture: Its basically almost impossible to make furniture using engineered wood. Engineered wood is in board form and that makes it impossible to change it into chairs, tables and other wooden pieces.

  3. Availability:Natural wood is obviously more easily available compared to its engineered counterpart. But this does not necessarily mean that it is cheaper.

  4. Advantages of Engineered wood over Natural wood.
    1. Strength and durability:Engineered woods like plywood, HDF and blockboard are strong and can last longer because of the treatments that they go through. Natural wood may not be as durable except some varieties like teak wood which, if treated properly before using, can last for decades and even centuries. Particle board is an exception to this.

    2. Availability:Yes, this is an advantage here also. In fact, particle board is made using all the wooden waste mixed together so it can actually be called more eco friendly as well. And since wooden waste is easily available, its always available.

    3. Cost:Engineered wood is usually much cheaper compared to natural wood. Despite the fact that it has gone through so many manufacturing processes, it manages to stay cheaper due to the raw material used. They are never made using the expensive, less frequently available natural wood like sheesham or teak. They are made using cheaper and farmed timber like neem and rubber wood.

    The best person in any case to help understand which type of wood is good for your requirement is an expert who can evaluate the requirement and give you an idea. But just as a ready reckoner, if the requirement is for fixing together flat panels and make them into units like wardrobes, kitchen cabinets etc, then engineered wood like plywood is the best option. On the other hand if you need to make things like pagola for a mandir or dining table etc then go for hard wood.

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