Engineered wood is uniquely vulnerable to water damage. Understanding the different types and how each is constructed is critical to drying success. As a general rule, the more the wood fiber has been processed and the smaller the wood fiber used, the more rapid and dramatic the effects of wetting are. Here are five primary types of engineered wood and their properties: Plywood – It has the least amount of engineering and uses the most natural fiber materials, making it less vulnerable to swelling and delamination. Comply – Consists of sheets of veneer on its surface and smaller fibers (not made of veneer) in its core. Artificial adhesive is used and very little of the wood fiber is naturally bonded resulting in greater potential for delamination. Oriented Strand Board (OSB) – Large chips of wood are laminated to form a single sheet. A lot more adhesive is used resulting in a much greater likelihood of permanent damage. Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) – Strips of natural wood fiber are laminated to form a dimensional product, rather than a flat sheet. Similar to Oriented Strand Board, it has a likelihood of permanent damage. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) – Consists of the smallest natural fiber and is the least natural in state. MDF is the most vulnerable to water damage.
Understanding engineered wood products – how they're made and their relative vulnerability to water damage – can help you make informed decisions about the best way to approach water restoration challenges.