Perhaps it’s the association with cheap, flat-pack furniture, but when the word ‘veneer’ is mentioned many people instantly associate it with an inferior product – not as good as the ‘real thing’. This is a problem that engineered hardwood doors (which are a type of veneered product) face, but is this viewpoint justified?
The common perception is that the best option is ‘solid’ wood doors; that is to say one constructed from a single piece of real wood all the through. However, although unquestionably a quality option, this can cause problems of its own due to the unique nature of wood as a material.
If you have ever encountered a solid wood door that sticks in its frame or has small gaps between its panels it is likely because changes in humidity have caused it to swell or shrink after fitting. Solid wood doors are beautiful but they are also high maintenance – if water is allowed to get into them it can cause you no end of trouble, so they must be meticulously sealed and properly cared for.
Engineered doors (or composite wood doors) on the other hand, offer the same beautiful finish as a solid wood door but without these drawbacks. The different composite layers of an engineered door offer excellent resistance to swelling, shrinking or warping.
Rather than a fake wood effect, as you might see on furniture or on UPVC products, engineered doors make use of a real layer of wood (e.g. oak) so they look just as good as a door made entirely of hardwood. However, all engineered doors are not equal – poor quality doors might use a wood veneer only 0.5mm thick, resulting in a finish that isn’t particularly robust. At BD Joinery, our doors use a hardwood veneer five times as thick at 2.5mm (plus thicker rails to allow more to be taken off the top or bottom of the door when fitting whilst still retaining the required strength).
Engineered doors are also typically much stronger too – the natural grains of the internal layers of wood run in different directions and are held in place with powerful specially formulated adhesives. Wood can be split along the grain relatively easily – if you have ever chopped kindling you will know that a light tap with a hand axe is enough to split it – but it doesn’t split across the grain and requires more force to cut.
Green and Affordable
An important benefit of engineered or composite doors is that they usually cost less than an equivalent solid hardwood door; while the quality is as good or better, you save money. Using only the amount of hardwood required to make the door look great is also better for the environment – the wood that would go into one solid door can form the veneer for several engineered doors.
The use of composite construction also means that designers can be more flexible with their designs – a door that wouldn’t work well or have enough structural integrity if made from solid wood can be achieved using a layered construction. Engineered doors are available in all manner of shapes and sizes and with short lead times, compared to perhaps five or six weeks for a craftsman to create a solid wood door.
Unlike with most comparisons, where there are pros and cons for each thing under consideration, an engineered or LVL hardwood door doesn’t really have any drawbacks (at least not if you choose one of sufficient quality). As far as people who see the door will be concerned, the door will look and feel as though it is solid wood, but with the added advantages that it is cheaper and more stable, making it an easy choice for most of us.
Please call today for engineered or solid wood doors on 01702 421199.