Should you choose Laminate or Veneer for your finishes?

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

What are the pros and cons of choosing laminate vs veneer?


What are the pros and cons of choosing laminate vs veneer?

Photo Courtesy of Circular Connection


“For you to understand which finishes to choose between laminate and veneer, we are going to look at their differences in terms of their appearance, durability, and affordability.”

Appearance


Laminate:

There are a lot of design and colour options to choose from laminates; varying from glossy to even rough textures. Laminates can duplicate almost all surfaces like marble, wood, stone, leather, etc. However, the laminates’ patterns are hardly natural as they are machine-made. Laminates cannot be stained, textured, and sanded as required due to their plastic protective sheet on top of their printed design layer.


Veneer:

Since veneer is taken directly from actual timber, it possesses natural patterns that are more organic and exclusive. Every veneer sheet differs from another. A veneer is a better option to choose from if you insist on wanting a solid wood look with cheaper cost and maintenance. A veneer can be stained, textured, and sanded as required. It can be painted according to the colour and hue that the designer wants.

 

Durability


Laminate:

It is easier to maintain as its surface is not scratchable. It can also stand against heat, blemish, and moisture better than a veneer. So, they are suitable for usage in high traffic and humid areas such as the kitchen and tabletops. However, it tends to chip at the edges. As the treatment for laminate’s edges remains open and sharp, poor workmanship installations might cause the laminate to break/clip. When that happens, the laminate sheet can only be replaced by a new one.


Veneer:

It is more laborious to maintain veneer. There tends to be a lot of wear-and-tear issues with veneer than that of laminate; since wood is vulnerable to scratching and stains. Hence, veneer requires more regular maintenance and cleaning with wood oils and protective layers. The good thing is that veneer can be repurposed and refurnished, unlike a spoiled laminate sheet that needs to be replaced with a new one instead. Besides that, we do not need to be worried about the chipped edges of veneer as the corners and seams of veneer are sealed by polishing material.


 

Affordability


Laminate:

Laminates are machine-produced and widely available. Hence, they are more cost-effective and budget-friendly as compared to veneers. If you are on a tight budget, definitely laminate is a cheaper option than a veneer. You can also look into the different types of laminates to even decrease your cost further. The least expensive options between laminates will be thermofused laminate than high-pressure laminate.


Veneer:

A veneer is more expensive than laminates as the cost of production for veneer is higher than that of laminate. Cutting a thin sheet of veneer from timber and its installation on any surface requires extra effort and good craftsmanship. Besides that, when it comes to wood as a natural resource, its availability is more rare than laminate.


 

Conclusion


After comparing them in terms of appearance, durability, and affordability, it is preferable to choose laminate finishes for furniture and areas that require high traffic and usage as laminate is cheaper and more durable than a veneer. However, when you want to emphasise a focal point in your design, you would want to choose veneer finishes to make your statement pieces as veneer offers a high-end look that is similar to that of solid wood but with a lesser cost and maintenance than solid wood.



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References:

Houzz (website)

Office Interiors (website)