While wood veneers and laminates are both decorative panels used to provide finishes to furniture, there are key differences between the two. But first, what are each of these products?
A wood veneer is essentially a thin layer of genuine wood that is applied to or affixed on to a base of plywood, whereas a laminate is a realistic reproduction of the look and feel of wood that is usually achieved using synthetic materials such as plastic and paper resins that are put through a process similar to that of printing.
Here are the key areas where they differ.
Aesthetics and Variety: Every wood veneer is different from any other in colour, grain, and texture. To own a wood veneer is to own something natural, unique, and exclusive - unlike anything else in existence, so to say!
The rich look that the parent wood lends to the wood veneer is also missing from laminates, although laminates are available in a number of colours and designs.
Durability and Replacement: While wood veneers can - quite simply - last you a lifetime if required, laminates tend to be less durable as they tend to develop cracks etc. However, laminates are easier to remove and replace as compared to wood veneers.
Wear & Tear/Care: Laminates are easier to maintain and care for than wood veneers, as they are made to be scratch- and heat-resistant. Wood veneers, on the other hand, are softer and therefore more vulnerable to dents and scratches when compared to laminates.
It is recommended that, if using a wood veneer product such as a table, you protect the surface using mats and coasters.
Cost: Laminates are easier to produce between the two and decidedly more effort is spent on crafting a wood veneer. This results in price differences, with laminates being the more economical option between the two.
Given the quality of the finish that wood veneers offer including the rich look of exquisite woods such as teak and mahogany, combined with their durability and exclusivity, we believe they make for a highly cost-effective buy and are also eco-friendly to boot. Thus, for the cost conscious homeowner, wood veneers offer the combined possibility of the opulence of the look and feel of genuine wood while also being an option that is easy on the pocket. While laminates also offer some advantages, we believe the degree of difference in aesthetics and exclusivity outweighs the advantages, making wood veneers the more desirable choice.