What Is Manufactured Wood? Is Manufacture Wood Good In 2023?

Most property owners (and those intending to be) are often encouraged to use manufactured wood in their construction. But what is manufactured Wood?

Manufactured Wood is an enhanced wood product that combines different wood pieces and other ingredients. 

Ingredients such as glue and sawdust are mechanically mixed with other Wood forms to produce manufactured Wood. 

At the top, manufactured Wood consists of regular/natural Wood coated with melamine for protection. 

Below it is a Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF), a composite wood layer.

Manufactured Wood is also termed engineered Wood, artificial Wood, or mass timber. 

It is a to-go-to choice for many project workers because of its availability and flexibility. 

Among other pleasant features, manufactured goods come in different textures, shapes, and sizes, which you can use for most interior applications and some exteriors.

You might mistake a manufactured piece of Wood for a solid one as it looks like solid Wood. 

Also, contrary to popular opinion and assumptions, manufactured Wood is relatively cheaper than solid Wood and can last much longer too! 

You can use it in your roofing, flooring, furniture, and wall-sheathing projects, to name but a few! 

In one of my explorative adventures as a woodworker, I wanted to work on a DIY project. 

Various sources recommended the use of manufactured Wood rather than solid Wood. 

It was interesting to discover how many pleasant qualities are associated with manufactured Wood. 

In this article, I will address everything you need to know about manufactured Wood: its uses, types, pros and cons, and how different it is from regular solid Wood.

Which Wood Is Used In to Make Manufactured Wood?

As mentioned in our definition, manufactured Wood is made by binding different types of Wood mixed with sawdust and glue. 

Now, you can use any type of Wood, hard or soft, in manufacturing Wood. All this depends on the type of project you intend to work on. 

However, some manufacturers stick to specific types of Wood in engineering wood. Some are discussed below:

  • Hardwood. Hardwood is preferred in manufacturing artificial Wood as it is more robust and more durable than softwood. While this is ideal for a project that will last you for ages, some people use soft wood because of its affordability in the price market.
  • Standard manufactured board. This Wood consists of a combination of soft and hardwood. At the top sits the hardwood, while the layers underneath are made from softwood.
  • Maple, oak, walnut, and teak are hardwoods used to make artificial woods. Examples of softwood include cedar, fir, and pine. 

Engineered Wood vs Solid Wood 

Engineered Wood physically looks like solid Wood. Therefore, it’s common for people to confuse these two types of Wood.

Let’s now learn the differences! 

The primary difference between manufactured and solid Wood is based on the production process, wood stability, and wood thickness. Here are some insightful ideas: 


The primary difference between manufactured and solid Wood is in the mode of production.

The production of solid Wood is quite straightforward.

 It is acquired by directly cutting trees (hardwood and softwood) and chopping the heartwood into different sizes and shapes. 

In essence, you will find solid Wood in its most natural state. They are milled from a single tree and do not require glue or adhesive. 

All parts of the solid Wood are linked together at the cellular level. This makes them more naturally durable. 

The production of manufactured Wood is more complex. 

It involves binding multiple solid wood layers mixed with other wood products, such as veneers and sawdust, using adhesives. 

In simple terms, artificial Wood is an assortment of organic components bound with non-organic chemics. 

A veneer is the only wooden thing surrounding the composite board. 

Unless you are hawk-eyed, you can hardly identify any difference between the two types of Wood. 

However, be keener, and you’ll notice several layers on the sides of the manufactured goods. You cannot see this on solid wood products.


Another key difference between solid and engineered woods is in their weight. Solid woods are naturally heavier than manufactured Wood. 

Pine, an example of a light softwood, weighs 2.5lbs/board foot, while common hardwoods weigh even more. 

Cherry weighs approximately 3.0 lbs/board foot, and walnut 3.3 lbs/board foot, both of which are solid hardwoods. 

 Although some engineered woods weigh heavier than solid lumber, these types of woods are usually generally lighter than the latter. 


Solid and manufactured Wood also differ in their hardness. The hardness of the Wood usually depends on the type of Wood. 

For example, Hickory, at 1800 Janka, is considered harder than MDF, often compared with red oak, measuring 1200 Janka. 

However, solid Wood is often harder than artificial. 

The figures don’t lie! Note: when measured against cedar and black walnut, the 1200 Janka read oak weighs heavier, with black walnut at 1010 and cedar at 900 Janka. 

Such statistics are intriguing because black Wood is a natural hard lumber and is expected to weigh more than artificial.


Typically, solid Wood would measure a standard thickness of 2¼ inches, with 5-11 inches wide planks. 

On the contrary, manufactured Wood has a standard thickness of about ⅜ -½ an inch. 

Their planks are equally lesser, measuring between 1¼ to 5 inches wide planks. 

Such evidence proves that solid wood measures higher in thickness than manufactured ones.


Solid Wood is more versatile. They are used for several woodworking projects: including furniture making, cabinetry, and household items. 

They are also used in construction, flooring, and building applications. 

Manufactured woods are limited in their use. 

You will primarily use them in smaller application projects such as decking, roofing, flooring, and other furniture applications.


You can sand your solid Wood as much as possible without causing damage or reducing quality. 

However, you cannot sand a manufactured piece of Wood; it will likely depreciate in quality if this happens.

Cost and Availability

Manufactured pieces of Wood are often readily available. 

For instance, you won’t miss a plywood or MDF from your favorite local store. 

For this reason, their prices are also much pocket friendly than solid woods. They range between $2.50- $10 per square foot. 

 On the other hand, solid woods are rare commodities. This unavailability increases their value, thus equally increasing their prices. 

You can buy them from $4 to $412 per square foot. Finding the exact solid Wood you need for your project can be a hustle. 


Since solid woods are heavier and harder, they are also more dimensionally stable engineered woods. 

Also, solid woods are more eco-friendly as their production is natural and poses no risk to the environment. 

On the other hand, Engineered Wood can be hazardous to the environment. 

Their production mode entails combining several kinds of Wood and other chemicals, which may cause avoidable pollution. 

Lastly, manufactured woods are usually engineered to your liking. 

You can easily purchase them in various forms, shapes, and sizes, depending on the project you are working on. 

This makes it easy to install and work with them. Solid woods are more complex, from their production to installation.

Types of Manufactured Wood

You may have noticed that manufactured goods come in a variety of prices. 

This is because different types of Wood are used in its production. Let us look at some categories of manufactured Wood.

Particleboard or Chipboard

Particleboard is also termed low-density fibreboard (LFD). 

It is affordable wood produced through wood chips and sawdust binding using resin. 

You can also find cement-bonded, laminated, and severe particle boards.

Chipboards serve best as an alternative to plywood. They are used in constructing ceiling boards and interior wall linings. 

They are also excellent substrates for countertops, floor decking, and roof sheathing.

Particleboards also serve well for decorative and paneling purposes. 

Due to their density, they also complement solid woods, as you can use them as cores indoors, dressing units, and subwoofer boxwoods.

You’ll want to work with chipboard as it is affordable for someone working on a budget. They are light-weighted, hence very mobile. 

Besides, its affordability makes it easily renewable and maintainable. These are the catchiest features of this type of manufactured Wood. 

However, I don’t recommend this product if your furniture project involves frequent contact with water. 

Since it is lightweight, it also has poor water resistance. Also, please don’t use it for furniture that would carry heavy loads as it would break easily.


The production of fibreboard entails chopping Wood into smaller pieces and then heating them into fibers. 

The smaller wood pieces turned into the fiber are then let to dry, then bound using a synthetic resin adhesive to form fibreboards. 

In turn, this process makes the fibreboard much denser than other manufactured woods, thus increasing its durability while reducing its ability to chip or break.

Like most manufactured woods, fibreboard is equally a jack of all trades. It is so flexible as it can be used for different purposes. 

You can use it in your roofing projects, furniture making, and constructing home interior applications such as doors and cabinets, insulation, and soundproofing. 

It’s almost hard to exhaust what a fibreboard can do!

The following are reasons you would want or do not want to use a fibreboard. 

If the pros outweigh the cons of your project with fibreboard, then don’t hesitate to get one!


  • It is durable since it is a much denser wood.
  • Staining and painting the fibreboard is easier than usual.
  • It is pocket-friendly! You can get it at the most affordable prices.
  • It is environmentally friendly.
  • It is lightweight, hence very mobile and flexible.
  • It has high thermal insulation.


  • Like particleboard, fibreboards are also not water resistant.
  • They will not hold your nails as firm as you’d want them to.
  • They are light-weighted and hence have less strength.
  • Installing it is pretty time-consuming. Not suitable for a time-sensitive project.

Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF)

Image of MDF. Can You Varnish Over MDF?Among all types of manufactured Wood, medium-density fibreboards are the most popular. 

MDF is just like the chipboard discussed above, which is much denser. 

It is produced through the same process involved in making chipboard, combining wood chips, plant fibers, softwood flakes, sawdust, and other recycled materials. 

The recycled materials could be anything from paper to cardboard. 

A synthetic resin is then used to bound these materials together under high temperatures. 

This combination is heated and then condensed into rigid-thin sheets. 

Practically, the sheets are thin but are much denser than low-density fibreboards.

We have mentioned that MDFs are denser than chipboards. 

The scales don’t lie! Averagely, a chipboard usually has a density of 450/kg per cubic meter, while an MDF measures 600-800kg/per cubic meter. 

The figures are impressive because the MDF weighs within the same range as solid firewood, which weighs (529-737kg/cubic meter) and hemlock (675-800 kg/cubic meter). 

This means that, unlike other manufactured woods, which are light-weighted and incapable of withstanding a lot, MDFs can! They can be used in more demanding situations.

It is no wonder that MDFs are the most popular engineered Wood in the construction and furnishing industry. 

Its flexible uses include soundproofing, roofing, framing, and wood flooring.

Pros and Cons of Manufactured Wood

The woods are:

Medium-Density Fibreboards


  • It has a high workability as you can quickly drill through it.
  • It offers you a smooth surface
  • Can firmly hold nails
  • It also holds better to hinges
  • It is affordable and relatively cheap compared to solid Wood.
  • It is eco-friendly and hence sustainable to the environment.
  • You can easily identify an MDF.
  • You can use wood glue when working with MDF for your project.


  • It lacks the natural grain pattern that you would likely find in solid woods.
  • It does not have water-resisting properties.
  • It needs high maintenance, hence would eventually be an expensive option.

Suffice it to say; Medium Density Fibreboards offer you more advantages than any other type of manufactured Wood. 

Therefore, MDFs has often been considered the best alternatives for real/solid woods. 

If you maintain it appropriately, it will serve you for ages without any complications.

High-Density Fiberboard (HDF)

Depending on the project you are working on, MDF-manufactured Wood may be too light for you. In such cases, HDF would come in handy. 

It undergoes a similar production process as the MDF. It involves hot-pressing wood fibers from waste chips and wood pulp.

While the production process is the same, HDF differs from MDF in several ways. 

For instance, the densest MDF boards weigh approximately 600kg per cubic meter, while the densest HDF weighs 1,400 kg per cubic meter. 

This difference makes it safe to categorize the HDFs with other solid woods, such as greenheart and ebony. 

Also, unlike MDF, HDF is more dimensionally stable, making it more resistant to temperature changes.

HDFs are rarely found, although most people prefer them to MDF. It is considered one of the best substrates for laminated floors since it’s hard and strong.

HDFs can fairly resist water if you do a proper finishing on them, especially on the sides. It is used for flooring, cabinet making, wardrobes, wall paneling, and wall shelves. 


  • It is durable because of its strong and hard nature.
  • It can resist water if the finishing is done well.
  • You can recycle it.


  • It costs higher than MDFs, hence less affordable.
  • It is heavier than solid Wood and thus has less mobility.
  • The Wood may contain toxic substances.

Plywood or Laminated Board

Image of Poplar Plywood In : Is Poplar Wood Strong?The production process of plywood entails layering several layers of veneers to create a sturdy, smooth, solid board. 

For this reason, plywood is often regarded as the strongest manufactured Wood. 

There are several types and qualities of plywood based on the materials used and the number of veneers included in its production.

Softwood plywood, from the name, is produced by combining several softwoods such as fir, pine, and spruce. 

On the other hand, hardwood plywood is often made from angiosperm trees like teak and cherry.

We also have other categories of plywood, such as tropical plywood, aircraft plywood, and marine plywood, all of which are defined by the types of material used in their production. 

Plywood is primarily used in the construction industry for exterior wall sheathing, interior walls, sidings, and roofing. 

You can also use plywood for interior applications such as furniture and cabinet making, among other projects.


  • Plywood offers such an aesthetic look; it is very beautiful.
  • It is strong, hence has impressively high durability.
  • Unlike most manufactured woods, plywood has high water resistance.
  • You can easily paint and polish a plywood surface. 


  • Plywood is easily peeled off.
  • It is not immune to insect infestation.
  • It is more expensive than MDF.

Veneer Wood

Wood veneers are produced from thin layers of hardwood and bonded together with MDF, chipboard, or plywood.

One catch feature of veneer is its ability to resist water. It comprises thin layers of hardwood (solid Wood), which is resistant to water and stains. 

Veneers are versatile, and you’ll likely find over 2000 types. Composite veneers, natural veneers, backed & unbacked veneers, and pre-finished veneers are the most common types available. 

Veneers are used for flooring purposes, ceilings, furniture, and casework, among other uses.


  • Veneers are affordable
  • They are beautiful; manufacturers prefer them as they create a natural wood finish.
  • They are also strong and durable.
  • Veneers are eco-friendly since they are non-toxic.


  • Veneers need high maintenance.
  • The installation process is complex.

Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT)

Cross-Laminated Timber is a bit fresh in the market. 

They comprise planks of sawn and layered Wood which are perpendicularly oriented to the previous to achieve structural rigidity in all directions. 

CLT’s thickness is almost similar to that of plywood. An example of CLT is cross-laminated veneer panels. 

CLT panels are commonly used for flooring, walls, and furniture making. Thick CLTs are used in ceilings, decks, beams, and roofs.


  • CLTs have high load capacities.
  • They have excellent thermal performance.
  • Highly resistant to fire.
  • They are more sustainable for the environment.


  • It is expensive
  • It is still new in the market and has a limited track record.

Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

Like CLT, Oriented Strand Board is also new in the market, with increasing popularity. 

It is produced from waterproof, heat-cured adhesives and rectangular-shaped wood strands arranged in cross-oriented layers. 

This arrangement increases the Wood’s strength, making it as strong as plywood. 

It also increases its ability to resist deflection, warping, and distortion. 

However, unlike plywood which is not water resistant, OSB is waterproof.

OSB also has several uses. You can use it for roofing, walling, and floor sheathing. 

It has the upper hand over other manufactured Wood as you can use it as the web material for pre-fabricated I-joists and skin material for structurally insulated panels.


  • It is water-resistant when properly treated
  • It is more affordable than plywood. 
  • Its installation and processing are not as complicated. You can easily cut and use it, unlike plywood.
  • It can be found in large and tall panels.


  • Its contents have the harmful formaldehyde
  • It has a poor surface finishing
  • It isn’t easy to finish it.

Now that we know the different types of manufactured wood let us also learn something about their grades. 

The grade of your Wood is a crucial point of consideration when shopping for a manufactured wood product. 

The grades of the artificial Wood vary depending on the number of voids and knotholes.

Products with lower grades will require frequent repairs to cover the malfunctions.

Note: The quality of adhesives used in binding the manufactured woods also determines the grades of your Wood.

There are four primary recognized grades:

  • Grade A. These sit at the top of the hierarchy. They are the highest quality manufactured wood products. It is unlikely that you will find any notable imperfections in them. You can easily paint these types of Wood.
  • Grade B. While grade B manufactured woods are equally high-quality, they are not as smooth as Grade A products. They have imperfections but are very limited.
  • Grade C. They have a lower quality than those in grades A and B. Grade C products can easily discolor and are less dimensionally stable.

One notable feature of the Grade C products is the visible 1.5-inch knots or bigger.

  • Grade D. This is the lowest and cheapest grade of manufactured wood products.

These products have endless knots, are dimensionally unstable, and can easily get damaged.

It is handy, especially if you want to work on a wood project yet on a tight budget.

What is Manufactured Wood Used For?

Manufactured Wood has overtime grown so popular that you can almost identify it in several wood applications around you. 

People prefer it over traditional Wood due to its features and affordability. 

You can mold manufactured Wood into whatever form you like, including its durability and resistance against water. 

These extraordinary customization abilities make manufactured goods the best alternatives for natural Wood.

Common uses for manufactured Wood include flooring, roofing, furniture making, fencing, siding, decking, and many more. 

Let us discuss some of them.

  • Flooring

Most woodworkers prefer solid Wood for their flooring projects. However, manufactured Wood is equally up to the task! 

Recent improvements in manufactured Wood have increased its popularity for flooring projects since solid Wood is quite expensive.

Based on the qualities described earlier, manufactured Wood has great qualities with high durability. 

Its production combines multiple layers of wood panels arranged in a crosswire direction. 

This feature increases the strength and durability of this Wood, making it incredibly useful for flooring. 

Besides, it is much simpler to paint and stain manufactured Wood. It also doesn’t need as much care and maintenance as solid Wood.

Important note: Use high-quality manufactured Wood in your flooring project for the best results. 

Please do so to avoid having your whole floor damaged, costing you time and money.

  • Decking

You can use some of the manufactured wood products for decking. 

Note that only some can be used because untreated manufactured wood products should not be used to frame decks. 

Since they are more susceptible to rotting, it is always best to treat manufactured wood for decking and other outdoor applications. 

The outdoor environment has high moisture levels, which can damage your Wood easily. 

The water molecules can penetrate the Wood, thus breeding a rotting environment. 

This is why you should always treat the manufactured Wood before using it for decking.

Unlike solid Wood, which doesn’t have any warranty, engineered deck beams sometimes come with warranties, depending on the company. 

This is a plus, especially for a first-time user who may have doubts about its workability. 

Besides, they are usually readily available in all sizes and thicknesses, thus easing the installation process for your decking project.

  • Furniture Making

We mentioned earlier that manufactured Wood is valued for its flexibility. 

It makes chairs, desks, cupboards, beds, racks, sofas, drawers, and other outdoor furniture. 

You can use it for all furniture applications for day-to-day use.

Plywood and the Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) are the mainly used manufactured Wood in furniture making. 

They offer you an aesthetic look, a perfect and catch appearance for your furniture. 

These woods are easy to work with, as you can nail and screw them without much trouble. 

Their smooth surface will also enhance your painting experience. With these features, I doubt there is any other type of Wood best suited for furniture applications than manufactured Wood!

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most asked questions are:

Is manufactured Wood Toxic?

Sad to say that manufactured Wood is toxic. Particularly, some forms of vinyl and laminate-manufactured Wood are considered toxic. 

This is because some contain reprocessed plastic and other toxic chemicals such as cadmium, toxic phthalates, and lead. 

If these components are on your wooden floor, they emit toxic fumes, reducing the natural air quality through off-gassing. 

This would go on for months after installation. You can identify this in the smell of the air around an area with manufactured wood products. 

Generally, most manufactured Wood contains formaldehyde, a recognized carcinogen. 

These carcinogens are hazardous to human health as they increase the risk of cancer infection. 

Besides, manufactured Wood also contains notable amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are not environmentally friendly.

On the contrary, solid Wood is less toxic and more eco-friendly. 

A floor made from hardwood is free from chemical products and is considered Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).

Also, while you can always recycle solid Wood, you can never do this with manufactured goods. 

Why? They are already made from recycled Wood, making it quite impossible to recycle them.

What Is Solid Manufactured Wood?

Solid manufactured Wood does not exist. It is either solid Wood or manufactured Wood, with no in-betweens. 

Solid Wood is sawn from natural trees, whereas manufactured Wood is made from combining and compressing several wood pieces and their by-products.

What Is Manufactured Wood Furniture?

Manufactured wood furniture is one produced from sawdust, chips, and other pieces of Wood. 

These pieces are then heated and glued together. You’ll realize people mainly refer to it as MDF (Medium-Dense Fiberboard). 

Since this Wood is primarily made of recycled materials, you will find it at a remarkably lower price than solid Wood.

Is Manufactured Wood Durable?

Manufactured Wood is not long-lasting. Unlike solid Wood, which is more resistant to water and other damages, manufactured Wood is more susceptible to water and moisture. 

This is because manufactured Wood is made from recycled materials, which over time grow weak, leading to its damage. 

In turn, the water will cause the Wood to warp, buckle, and rot.

Final Thoughts

You will likely need to use Wood for your furniture and home-building applications. Therefore, you’ll need to choose either manufactured or solid Wood for your project. So…

What Is Manufactured Wood? 

Manufactured Wood is a type of synthetic timber made in a factory by combining several wood pieces and wood by-products, heating them, and binding them to a synthetic resin. 

It is different from solid Wood, which is milled from actual trees.

Manufactured Wood is suitable for your budget as it is cheaper than solid Wood.

 Next time you want to work on your woodwork projects, from decking, flooring, siding, and roofing, to furniture, you will know the type of manufactured Wood you would like to use.

Have you learned a new type of manufactured Wood? I hope you enjoy experimenting with them in your projects. 

Also, let me know in the comments the type of Wood you prefer, solid or manufactured, and why.

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.

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