Timber is the most sustainable building product available.
97% of what we purchase in the UK comes from Europe. By
taking this natural material and re-manufacturing we are able
to benefit from other properties such as: improved strength,
smooth surfaces, a new waterproof product, increase the
ease of use or cutting. There are various alternatives to
natural timber nowadays. There are a variety of different
timber boards, all with different uses, and advantages.
Although we are talking about wood or timber, we are
actually talking about a man made material, not a pure
Advantages of man made wood sheets;
Man made boards are sold in standard sheets of
2440 x 1220mm or to your old fashioned builder in ft that is
an 8x4 sheet. Natural timber does not come in such wide
sheets as it has to be the same maximum size as a piece of
sawn tree-trunk. The larger sizes of timber sheets means that they are useful to
make large panels such as doors and the sides of cupboards without joining.
Composite boards have no real grain pattern. That means that they are equally strong
in all directions. Natural timber can be weak along the grain, which for example
- is what makes bookshelves sag in the middle. Like I said by re manufacturing a
natural resource we have created a superbly strong timber board.
We know these days we are made more aware of the environment, well from that point
of view many boards can be made from waste that would have been discarded in past
times. For example MDF can be made from saw dust, chipboard obviously from wood chips.
In many cases these man made wood boards can be cheaper to buy than natural timber
They are usually not as attractive as natural timber as they have no grain. This
means that they have less character
and look altogether less natural. I would imagine if you are applying a paint finish
this is not such an issue.
Some types are believed to be dangerous if you inhale their particles - ie, wearing
a face mask is a good idea. The standard sizes are heavy, but on the other hand some
suppliers will cut for you at a cost.
Like any other timber product there are various factors to consider before purchasing.
The timber should have certification that it has come from a sustainable source.
Consider delivery, or check your own vehicle size. The correct type of board for
the job. Look at our other pages for more details on types of boards, and their uses.
Then there is the tools used for cutting. Normally you would use a circular saw bench
- with correct safety protection.
Follow our other pages for more info on the following products; Plywood, chipboard,
MDF, melamine boards, loft boards.