In the past, timber was thought of as being a temperamental material that is time consuming to maintain and often detrimental to the environment. However, with the introduction of engineered timber, you no longer need to worry about these factors – now you can enjoy timber’s natural beauty, knowing it’s now a better and a greener product.
Tyrone Hicklin, Category Manager for window and door manufacturer, Swartland, explains what engineered timber is: “Engineered timber is made from various lengths of timber that are laminated together, to create a pattern of random grains. As a South African industry leader, Swartland embraced this technology as far back as the early ‘90s, and invested in a plant and specialised equipment to locally pioneer the engineering of our joinery products, including those that we export to the USA and the UK. Today, our high performance guaranteed wooden windows, doors, door frames and mouldings bear testimony to the advantages of engineered wood.”
The process of combining several cuts of timber together, with alternating grains, to make a single structural piece of timber, ensures that engineered wood boasts unparalleled strength, notes Tyrone: “Engineered timber is stronger than solid timber, making it perfect for windows and doors, where thermal efficiency and security is high on the list of priorities. In fact, it is estimated that it is up to 60% stronger than solid timber, which has a tendency to split or crack in the direction of the grain. With engineered timber however, the laminates randomly orientate the grain, thereby reducing the risk of splitting.”
Tyrone explains that the technology involved in the creation of engineered timber makes the material much more stable than its solid wood counterparts: “Because of the manufacturing process, engineered timber is less prone to shrinking, swelling or warping. As a material, it resists heat and moisture better, and it is tougher to damage. In addition, engineered timber is more thermally efficient than its solid wood counterparts.”
Wood is already considered a green material due to its efficiency, durability, great insulation qualities, and the fact that if sourced from sustainable forests, it is also a renewable material. It has a low carbon impact and low embodied energy. In fact, timber is actually carbon-negative since it removes carbon from the atmosphere and it can be recycled. However, engineered timber boasts even better environmental credentials than its solid wood counterparts, as it negates the need to source an entirely flawless piece of wood, which is a very wasteful practice. Engineered wood can reduce waste by as much as 25% when compared to solid timber.
Says Tyrone: “The optimisation of engineered timber increases the raw material yield by allowing the less aesthetically pleasing cuts of wood to be used as the internal core, while the premium cuts are used on the visible faces of the end product. Improving the yield means that engineered wood is a far more sustainable resource, as it reduces waste and the end cost of the material. Ultimately, more product is created from the same volume of timber harvested – which means engineered wood comes in at a much more affordable price point, and offers better durability, without compromising on great aesthetics. It really is a win-win situation all round.”
For more information, visit Swartland.