We Indians love our furniture, don’t we? However, when we go furniture shopping, we are often caught off guard with questions about what type of material we are looking for. Is solid wood better than laminate? Is laminate better than veneer? What are the differences?
Laminate, veneer and solid wood have their pros and cons. However, there are many misconceptions about the differences between the three.
Today at RoofandFloor we walk you through the differences between the three types of wood and their practical applications:
Laminate Popularly known as solar mica, laminate furniture is not actually made of wood. It is made by pressing together several layers of plastic resins and flat paper. A printed process is used to give it a wood grain look. Often the top layer is printed with decorative designs or colors, and given a glossy finish, giving it a manufactured appearance.
It’s made to withstand heat and scratches, and it continues to look new and shiny even after long periods of heavy use. Therefore, when it comes to creating furniture for high traffic areas such as the kitchen, people often prefer laminate over other materials.
Advantages of laminate furniture
Affordable – It costs nearly a quarter of solid wood and veneer furniture. If your budget is tight, laminate is the best choice.
Easy cleaning – The shiny finish of the surface facilitates cleaning. You can wipe it with a damp cloth or use soapy water without worrying about damage.
Sustainable – Laminate is strong and durable and has a long lifespan.
Variety – Unlike solid wood which is more or less the same color and appearance, laminate comes in a wide variety of colors and appearances.
Maintenance free – No need to polish, re-varnish or color it regularly.
Disadvantages of laminate furniture
Relatively lower quality – Although laminated wood is durable, it is inferior in quality to solid wood and veneer. It supports scratches but does not absorb shocks.
Lack of natural feel – There is a synthetic feel attached to the laminate, and it lacks the natural feel and variation of synthetic wood.
Not recyclable – As the surface of the laminate is shiny, you cannot stain it. You might be able to paint it with a lot of effort, but the lack of finish limits the options in case you want to recycle the furniture. It ends up showing signs of wear.
Shorter lifespan – The top layer of the laminate is brittle and subject to wear. Therefore, these often have a shorter lifespan than solid wood furniture.
VeneerVeneer is the intermediary between laminate and solid wood. Its construction is similar to that of laminate, the main difference being that the outer layer of veneer is real solid wood. The inside of the veneer is made of synthetic materials such as low-grade wood base, flat paper, MDF or particle board. Thus, it looks like solid wood while being light. Most veneer layers are less than 1/8 inch thick. Compared to laminate, veneer is softer and therefore somewhat less durable.
Advantages of veneer furniture
Moderate price – It costs more than laminate but much less than solid wood. It’s a good choice for those looking for a wooden feel without spending a lot.
Premium look – Laminate furniture is easy to tell apart, but veneer furniture looks like wood. This gives the piece of furniture an authentic look and makes it look high-end.
Uniform appearance – Unlike laminate, veneer furniture has a more uniform look and is easier to match other furniture already in the home.
Lightweight – The furniture core is made of lightweight materials like MDF and particle board, and its strength relies on the glue. This construction makes veneer furniture extremely lightweight and portable.
Finishing is easy – Unlike laminate, it is extremely easy to refinish veneer furniture. You can paint or stain the plating pieces according to your choice.
Disadvantages of veneer furniture
Difficult to repair– If there is damage in veneer furniture, it is difficult to repair compared to laminate or solid wood. It is almost impossible to return furniture to its original condition without showing signs of damage.
Reliability – You cannot know what materials are used to make the core of veneer furniture. Unless you bought the equipment or furniture from someone you trust, you could be in for a nasty surprise.
Scratches easily – Veneer scratches easily compared to laminate and solid wood. This means you need to be more careful when using veneer furniture and avoid keeping it in areas where it will be prone to scratches or dents.
Cause damage — The plating is normally durable. However, due to its particleboard core, it is more susceptible to absorbing moisture. The veneer layer may begin to peel off, which can be very difficult to repair.
Solid woodAs the name suggests, solid wood furniture is made entirely of solid wood parts. Of course, the quality can vary depending on the type of wood, which ranges from softwood to hardwood. Each variety has its own characteristics and characteristics, and you can select one that suits your style and budget.
Solid wood furniture bears all the characteristics and quality of the original wood.
Advantages of solid wood furniture
Classic aesthetic. Solid wood is a classic furniture option. It works well with any decor and offers an appealing natural beauty for people with a wide range of styles.Uniqueness: Solid wood furniture is made from real wood parts. Therefore, no wooden furniture is alike. Each piece of furniture is unique with its own character.
Durability – Solid wood furniture is very durable. They can last up to several decades without any wear and tear. This makes them ideal for everyday use.
Easy restoration – Solid wood furniture is easy to restore and refinish. Scratches and other minor damage can be restored using sandpaper. You can stain or paint solid furniture as many times as you want. This makes it easy to give existing furniture a new look.
High resale value – While the value of laminate and veneer furniture declines over time, solid wood furniture not only retains but increases in value over the years.
Natural and elegant – There is nothing synthetic in solid wood furniture. There is a natural elegance and grace that comes with this type of furniture.
Solidity and longevity – Has a natural resistance, which makes it ideal for intensive use. It can withstand nails and hammers better than any other material and can last for generations to come.
Disadvantages of solid wood furniture
Cost: Solid wood furniture is more expensive than laminate or veneer. Sure, you get quality, but that doesn’t work if you have a tight budget to follow.
Heavy weights: While the solid construction keeps the furniture durable and long-lasting, it also makes the pieces quite heavy. They are difficult to rearrange or not recommended if your job requires you to move frequently.
Quality variations: Few people are aware of the different grades of wood available and sometimes end up falling prey to poor quality wood or soft wood. These will lack the natural beauty, quality and durability of natural wood.
Damage in extreme conditions: Moisture or extreme heat and cold can often cause warping, swelling or other changes in solid wood. Wooden furniture has great durability, but only when kept at a constant temperature away from moisture.
The bottom line
So which of laminate, veneer or solid wood is better? Well, the answer is that it depends on your needs. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons, and you can select one after careful consideration of your needs.
This article is contributed by Roof and floor, which is part of KSL Digital Ventures Pvt. Ltd., of the Hindu group