The wood in the construction could be divided into two groups: natural wood and artificial wood. But what is the difference between a natural wood and an artificial wood? What types of natural and artificial wood are there? What are the advantages and disadvantages of natural wood versus artificial wood? What are their applications? Although it is a subject that gives for many posts, next we will try to clarify these questions and don’t forget to contact us to have a great deck that will make your entire house look way more elegant.
Natural wood was the first construction material available to man. In addition to using it as fuel and as a defensive weapon, the cabin with wooden structure and covered with branches provided a defence against the weather.
From the 20th century a. of C. to the XIV century d. de C. was one of the favourite materials for the construction of temples, palaces and houses; Later, with the discovery of new techniques and materials for construction (reinforced concrete, iron, glass, etc.), the use of natural wood was greatly reduced.
Thanks to the appearance of new methods of cutting sheets in the nineteenth century and new tails and adhesives in the early twentieth century it was possible to manufacture the first plywood boards as we know them today; then came the chipboards and later the fibre boards.
Difference between natural wood and artificial wood
Natural woods are those that are obtained directly from the trunks of trees. In the market we can find them marketed in the form of beams, sheets, boards and strips.
Artificial woods, unlike natural woods, are obtained in factories from natural wood remains (barks, shavings, branches, etc.) and are sold in sheets or sheets of various thicknesses.
Types of natural wood and artificial wood
– Hard woods.
The hardwoods come from deciduous trees (oak, walnut, cherry, beech, chestnut, elm, mahogany, poplar, alder, birch, linden, etc.) that grow slowly, so they are more expensive, and have thick trunks.
A characteristic within this group of woods is the vast variety of colours that exist. They are also characterised by having very little resin.
– Soft woods.
Unlike hardwoods, this type of wood comes from evergreen trees (pine, spruce, oak, olive, etc.) that grow rapidly.
They are characterised by having light colours and the most marked rings. Finally, and unlike hard natural woods, this type of wood is usually lighter and easier to work.
As for artificial woods, they are divided into three groups: particle board, plywood board and fibreboard.
– Chipboard boards.
For its manufacture, wood chips are mixed with glue and subsequently pressed.
It is characterised by being a cheap and easy to work wood. It also has a very smooth surface, is stable and consistent but breaks easily. To improve their strength and appearance they are usually veneered with sheets of natural wood or plastic (melamine).
– Plywood boards.
For its elaboration, fine sheets of natural wood are used, glued with the fibres transversely one over the other with synthetic resins by means of fierce pressure and heat.
There is a vast variety of plywood boards made in different woods. There is also the possibility that these same boards are covered with a thin sheet of natural veneer (noble woods) or prefabricated (imitation wood).
This type of wood presents a uniform resistance, is flexible, not deformable and easy to work. On the other hand, this type of plywood is recommended only for indoor use as it is a material sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity which causes it to bend and change thickness.
– Fibre boards.
They are constructed from woods that have been reduced to their basic fibrous elements and later reconstituted to obtain a stable and homogeneous material. Different density boards are manufactured, depending on the applied pressure and the binder used in their manufacture.
Advantages and disadvantages of natural wood versus artificial wood
The most important advantages that we can highlight from natural woods are, on the one hand, that they present a better appearance than artificial woods and, on the other hand, that they are a higher quality product.
As for the disadvantages compared to the artificial is its economic cost, the latter being much cheaper. In addition, 100% of the tree is not used with natural wood. Also, in natural wood, unlike in artificial, you cannot avoid defects and you cannot create boards as flat and smooth as with artificial wood.
Another disadvantage to be taken into account is that natural woods are more difficult to work and their size depends on how thick the tree is while the artificial wood boards can have any size and thickness as it is a product manufactured in the factory.
Last but not least, we have the disadvantage that natural wood can rot and be attacked by parasites, while artificial wood cannot, so although maintenance is essential in both cases, natural wood is essential. if we do not want to take unpleasant surprises for the loss of section and resistance.
Applications of natural wood and artificial wood
- Natural woods are often used to make doors and windows, furniture, musical instruments and joinery, due to its higher quality and better appearance. Also the use of natural wood panels is mainly oriented to construction (formwork, etc.)
- Regarding artificial woods we will differentiate their use depending on whether they are chipboard, plywood or fibreboard.
- The agglomerate boards are usually used among other things in coatings of ceilings and partitions and in insulating panels in prefabricated buildings. It is also widely used as a substitute for solid wood panels in furniture (cabinets, drawers, tables and kitchen furniture among others).
- Regarding plywood panels, its use is mainly oriented to the industry, to construction, to the manufacture of furniture, coatings, doors, etc. In addition, those covered with a sheet of natural or prefabricated sheet metal are a perfect base for carpentry work.
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