Engineered timber has unwittingly acquired a bad reputation for itself. There’s a common misunderstanding that products with an engineered core are inferior to solid equivalents, potentially down to the lower price as well as the implied quality difference between “solid” and “engineered”. While it’s true that a solid oak door set has a desirability factor to it, a like for like engineered system has significant performance benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. The doors might look the same, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
As the name suggests, a solid construction door is made of separate one-piece components jointed, dowelled or glued together. This is the traditional structure, and is still very stable compared to the cheaper hollow and foam core options.
Engineered cores are a more modern approach to door leaf construction. Multiple layers of timber are pressed and glued together in different directions to form the core material, with a veneer applied to the surface and lipping fixed to the edges.
As solid doors are made of whole intersecting pieces, there is an inherent strength that comes from the construction. They are, however, susceptible to environmental changes such as variations in humidity and temperature. Exposure to factors like these can cause a solid door to warp or bow, making it twist and gradually lose shape.
By having layers of timber running in different directions, an engineered core can evenly distribute any stress applied to it. This makes an engineered door far more stable than its solid counterpart. This modern construction technique also provides better thermal insulation than that offered by more traditional methods
Pros and cons
Solid internal doors and external doors, particular hardwoods like oak, will always have a premium allure to them. There’s an undeniable attraction to products with a solid hardwood construction, but they might not always be the best choice for your project. It’s highly likely that an engineered set will out-perform your solid option for less money, and, as building regulations call for better thermal insulation, your final decision could end up being a no brainer