Wooden furniture has always been a popular choice for China homes. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find high-quality solid wood furniture at a nominal price. So most of us opt for less expensive alternatives with decorative finishes that simulate the look and feel of wood.
Laminates (commonly called Sun Mica in china) and veneers are the most commonly used finishing materials for furniture made from MDF, particle board plywood or solid wood. Both of these materials have their own merits. While design and aesthetics are an important concern, durability and cost should not be left far behind.
Let’s take a look at these two materials and how they differ from each other on all these aspects.
Laminate vs Veneer #1: Composition
Laminate: An artificial material, laminate is made by pressing together thin layers of flat paper and plastic resins. The upper layer is printed with a decorative pattern or color.
Veneer: Veneer is technically a thin layer of hardwood which is bonded or glued with adhesive, to a surface that is hidden below.
Laminate vs Veneer #2: Variety
Laminate: Available in a variety of colors and shades, laminates can be broadly classified into textured, high gloss, soft and matte. Textured laminates replicate the feel of materials like wood or stone. High gloss and matte laminates can be used according to one’s personal style.
Veneer: There are few types of veneers, each serving a particular purpose. Veneers are classified into raw, paper backed, phenolic backed, laid up, reconstituted veneer and wood on wood. Since it is a natural material, veneer is available in a limited number of shades.
Laminate vs Veneer #3: Maintenance
Laminate: Laminates are definitely easier to maintain. They are scratch-resistant, waterproof and usually retain their look for years.
Veneer: In comparison to laminates, veneers require more maintenance. They need to be polished from time to time to maintain their beauty.
Laminate vs Veneer #4: Aesthetics
Laminate: While laminates are available in a variety of colors and designs, they lack uniqueness in appearance, since they are mass produced.
Veneer: Since veneers are made from wood, they maintain the elegance and grace of their parent material. Unlike laminates, each veneer is distinctive adding a unique and rich feel to furniture.
Laminate vs Veneer #5: Durability
Laminate: Laminates are known for their durability and reliability. Since it is a printed surface, made to look like wood, and bonded to a composite base, it is extremely durable and resists scratches and stains.
Veneer: Veneers are usually not as durable as laminates and require maintenance and care since they are prone to scratches.
Laminate vs Veneer #6: Cost
Laminate: Laminates are usually pocket-friendly and more affordable as compared to veneers. The price of laminates depends on the quality and the brand.
Veneer: High-quality veneers are much costlier than laminates since the veneer value depends on the type of wood.
Laminate vs Veneer #7: Where to use them
Laminate: Given their durability, laminates are the better choice for kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, and other frequently used furniture.
Veneer: However, for furniture that you intend to use as statement pieces or as focal points, veneers are preferable since they add aesthetic value and a distinctive look.
We hope these tips guide you, the next time you are deciding between laminates and veneers for your home!
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