Shuuseizai (集成材) – any of various engineered or structural composite lumber, such as LVL (laminated veneer lumber), OSB (oriented strand board), and even the commonly known plywood. Shuuseizai has several structural advantages over natural wood, including dimensional uniformity and stability, higher elastic modulus (higher stiffness properties), and cross sectional versatility due to non-dependence on tree cross section.

Shuuseizai House Boneframe

Here in Japan, almost all modern (wooden) stick-built homes utilize LVL columns and beams for their primary framework. For the reasons listed above, LVL allows for greater structural flexibility as well as availability in terms of large structural components. Downsides to shuuseizai when compared to natural wood include aesthetics and long-term durability of the bonding agents (glue) — particularly in harsh field conditions (high humidity or regular exposure to water etc).

Engineered Wood Dining Table

One thing to note is that engineered wood can vary greatly in structural properties depending on what wood is used to create it. For example, engineered wood created with hardwood will be more resistant to surface scratches and wear, while if is made with softwood, it will have higher resilience and ductility; the former being suited to flooring and furniture and the latter being suited to larger beams and columns.

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